Maintaining Natural Hair Styles in Humidity and Dry Heat

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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.

Humidity

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!

Dry Heat

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?

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Geniece

Geniece

Island girl raised in the most royal of NYC's boroughs. Proud nerd, social scientist, educator and recovering awkward black girl. When not listening to NPR, trying to grow spiritually, or detangling my fro, I'm searching for the best shrimp and grits in the Queen City.

 
  • http://members.fotki.com/galacticdust/about/ herlucidsky

    If you prefer loose styles vs braids and or twist then a thick heavy gels like Eco styler may to do the trick for hot humid days. It greatly minimizes frizz and stray hairs which are known to cause knots and such. I normally go for the wash n go look since it can last me for more than a week with minimal maintenance and wash day is ridiculously easy because once the gel is re-activated with water, its so slimy and slippery that I can finger detangle without conditioner!! I can also loosely pull it back into a messy bun and or pony tail while still maintaining the wash n go look. Occasionally I will do the two-strand twist style with conditioner and gel, sometimes shea butter. Of course not all gels work for everyone, just experiment and see what works.

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    • 101Corkscrews

      Eco Styler Gel has glycerine. In high dew points (high humidity) glycerine causes the hair to swell up and become frizzy and dry and dull. There is a gel at CVS that acts as Eco but has no glycerine. I think its called Super Wet w/Aloe Vera. Its like $2.99 for 33 oz.

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  • http://www.haircaretoday.co/ Haircare Today

    Certainly a fantastic piece of work … It has relevant information. Thanks for posting this. Your blog is so interesting and very informative.Thanks sharing. Definitely a great piece of work Thanks for your work.

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  • kat

    Was wondering why my usual winter products weren’t working
    I have 4c 12 inch hair ( when stretched)
    Shea and aloe seem to make my hair shed Excessively am
    ounts
    Glycerin and hair milks seem to make my hair very dry and knot up at the ends
    My hair doesnt like coconut oil either
    It does like evoo boiled and cooled water in a spray black caster oi

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    • Tiff

      I try to research and look at videos/blogs of other 4c people because you can definitely find at least one or two helpful tips that will apply to your own hair. I also have 4c hair and I found that my winter routine did NOT work once the humidity set in. I live in St. Louis so we get ALL the seasons. The issue for my hair? GLYCERIN. It’s great in dry air during the winter but when it’s humid out, it pulls in more moisture than the hair needs resulting in FRIZZ. Switched to a lighter, glycerin-free moisturizer and my braid outs were saved :-)

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  • kat

    Sorry that should have read distilled water in a spray bottle, black castor oil, coconut milk / Greek yoghurt as a deep condition and follow up with a diluted Aussie moist conditioner leave in
    Does anyone have similar hair to mine that can recommend a mid week moisturizing cream that works
    (preferably withour humectants)

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    • Tiff

      I like shea moisture hair milk. Glycerin free and not too heavy. I spritz with water & aloe vera juice, moisturize with hair milk, seal with my own oil mix :-)

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  • AnonSince87

    I’ve got 4c hair which just touches the collar bone (non-stretched). I had a defined braid out in the morning, and something else come the end of the day lol. It expands like a sponge and just loses all definition. Wondering if it’s just the nature of my hair, or if anyone can recommend some products/ideas? ‘Ive tried Eco styler and aloe vera gel, with the same results :-/

    By the way, nothing wrong with a non ‘defined’ look, just that sometimes, I actually WANT it defined lol. If it’s not possible, I’ll happily deal with the non defined stuff lol.

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    • deb

      maybe try ouidad products?

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      • AnonSince87

        Thanks, I’ll consider that!

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    • Tiff

      Check if the product you’re using has glycerin. In humidity it frizzes hair out. I use Shea Moisture hair milk then seal with a homemade oil mix. I also make sure my hair is COMPLETELY dry before take down. Sometimes I just spritz with water & aloe vera juice, put in a little bit of leave in conditioner, seal with my oil mix then braid it up. Just make sure your product doesn’t have any humectants like glycerin. Good in dry air, not in humid air.

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    • 101Corkscrews

      Your products may have glycerine in them which is a recipe for non-defined, dry, dull hair in high humuidity.

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      • AnonSince87

        Thanks guys!

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  • Dabney

    I live in the San Gabriel Valley. or as I like to call it Satan’s dried out nostril! it is an unforgiving dry heat. Not as drastic as Arizona but still very bad! It has gotten to about 110 degrees on a good day. To keep my hair moisturized I constantly spray my hair with an 8oz mixture of water, lavender essential oil, panthenol, rose water and glycerin and a little hair conditioner! It does the trick in addition to the L.O.C. method.

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  • lalala

    I live in atlanta I just do protective styles this time of year it’s crazy humid and not worth the time to try to style

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  • http://annnsow.tumblr.com annnsow

    thanks so much, great pieces of advice because I am going to move in a very humid country in 2 years and I was wondering how to deal with it knowing that I live in a very dry country lol…

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  • http://beauttyhair.blogspot.com Redd Ravyn

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    While many women with naturally curly hair complain of the issues too much volume can cause, those with fine hair have the exact opposite problem. Fine hair is a real challenge to care for,……Read more at http://beauttyhair.blogspot.com/2013/11/how-to-maintain-and-grow-fine-hair_21.html

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