What happens when a venture capitalist and an MIT scientist meet? They decide to solve the world's biggest beauty challenges, of course. With VC backing, chemical engineer Robert Langer and his team set out to find a better option for treating frizz. Till now, products for taming frizzy hair have relied on silicone, a water-resistant ingredient that blocks moisture. Its drawback: If you apply too little, your hair still reacts to the humidity; apply too much and hair looks greasy. In 2006, when Langer's team tested a molecule that was used as a protective coating for medical devices, they discovered it resisted humidity and friction. Since it's smaller than silicone, it feels lighter on your hair. Almost two years later, the scientists had formulated the molecule (PolyfluoroEster) into a line of hair products, called Living Proof, that launched nationwide in February.
For the past couple of months I've been using No Frizz Straight Making Styling Cream for Medium to Thick Hair ($24 for four ounces; Sephora.com). I spread what feels like a ridiculously large amount (at least a heaping tablespoon) through my damp shoulder-length hair—the strands must be completely coated in order to effectively block frizz-causing moisture. In fact, the instructions say, "Be generous. The more you use, the better you'll look." I'm not sure about that (I do know that the more I use, the sooner I have to buy a new bottle), but I can say that even when I apply two tablespoons of the cream, my hair doesn't feel sticky. After I distribute the product, I either blow-dry my hair straight or scrunch it to encourage its natural wave and let it air-dry. Not only do I no longer get frizzy, but there's an added benefit: The nongreasy coating repels oil and dirt, so my hair stays cleaner longer. Which means that I can skip a day between washings and be frizz-free.