Well, it’s been another summer of record setting heat from sunny California to the concrete jungles of Northeast. With all this heat our hair is bound to be impacted. It goes without saying that during the summer the weather will be warmer but depending on the day or the region you may be more likely to encounter dry heat or humidity. If you know the kind of heat you’re dealing with you can avoid a summer setback that hinders your hair goals. Both have their drawbacks and advantages if you know how your curly hair responds to climate changes.
I grew up in the Northeast where the summers were often humid. The reason humid weather leaves your skin damp and why many find it uncomfortable is because the moisture in the hair hinders the air from evaporating the sweat your body produces. How does this work for your hair? The moisture in the air settles on your hair making it moist, maybe even damp. This can spell disaster for a straight style or even a textured style that will likely shrink significantly. Because of this I try not to wear loose hair styles when the weather is very humid. The ends of my hair curl and become knotted throughout the day. I prefer simple up dos or my summer favorite, mini twists, which allows my hair to take advantage of the moisture in the air without the tangles that can lead knots and, ultimately, a necessary trim.
I also recommend not using heavy, greasy products when the weather is humid. Because of the moisture already in the air, a light oil or moisturizer may be all you need to maintain your hair’s moisture. Products that coat the hair may hinder it from absorbing the natural moisture in the atmosphere. It’s like wearing a suit into a sauna. You want your hair to benefit from the environment, not shield it. Remember water is great for your hair!
One of the best things about dry heat is that, in my opinion, it is friendlier to hairstyles. Granted, you can “sweat out” a style if it’s excessively hot but in dry heat you don’t have to contend with moisture in the air ruining your hair game. What’s the down side? Well, unlike humid weather, you can’t expect your hair to receive moisture after a walk around the block. Neglecting the moisture of your hair can leave it dry, brittle and prone to breakage. For the most part you need to continue to moisturize your hair the same way you would in colder weather. However, the heavy creams that worked in the winter may be too thick in warmer weather, especially since sweating may cause the product to run down your neck. No fun! I recommend investing in a good moisturizer or boosting your existing moisturizers and using a light oil (i.e. jojoba, almond) to seal your hair. I like to add a bit of aloe vera juice to a moisturizer or simply apply directly to my hair before applying my moisturizer. It doesn’t weigh the hair down and it helps my hair to maintain moisture.
One last word about the heat: The sun. Our hair may not be affected by the sun the way our skin is but excessive exposure the sun can dry out your hair. If you’re going to be out in the summer sun all day take advantage of a wide brimmed hat. You can protect your hair and look like a diva all at the same time.
How do you cope with humidity and dry heat?