This Is How To Handle Humidity When It Comes To Your Hair This Summer
Beauty & Fashion

This Is How To Handle Humidity When It Comes To Your Hair This Summer

If you’ve ever wondered why it’s more humid during this time of the year, the answer is pretty simple: the hotter the weather is, the easier it is for moisture to be trapped in it. As a result, it can feel hotter than it actually is outdoors, and it can be easier to sweat and our hair? Chile, our hair.

Even though our hair texture can benefit from humidity (because it’s naturally drier than other ethnicities), if our strands swell up from the moisture too much, that can result in strands that are full of frizz. Why? Because moisture makes our cuticles open up, and frizz is what they oftentimes look like whenever they do.

Does this mean that you have to surrender to an entire season of styling frustration? Absolutely not. Now that you know what can sometimes cause more than a few so-called bad hair days during the summertime, here are 15 ways to either cause humidity to work in your favor or to combat it in ways that are stress-free yet super effective.

1. Remember, Moisture Reduces Breakage

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If you’re someone who struggles with your hair plateauing (which basically means it seems to stop at a certain point as are as retaining length is concerned), a big part of that is probably because your ends are breaking off about as fast as your hair is growing out of your scalp — and that could be due to a lack of moisture.

So, why is it that our hair finds a way to feel like straw faster than any other ethnicity? It’s because our texture tends to be much curlier, and so, even though natural oils from our scalp come down our hair strands too, oftentimes they don’t get coated from root to tip due to our coils. As a result, we have to add extra moisture via hair products.

Again, the good news is that humidity can help to add some hydration to our stands as well. This is why, while super humid days can cause “other folks” to have really frizzy hair (because it’s already well-moisturized), oftentimes our curly texture is thriving; it’s been wanting to receive some of the water that the air has to offer. The key is to follow through on some of these other tips so that the curls don’t get out of control (via frizz).

2. Don’t Be Afraid of Humectants

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Since I have mostly 4a-type hair and it’s high porosity, I have to be hypervigilant about keeping moisture in my hair. For instance, if I know that I’m going to keep it in, say, cornrows for a while, I’ll add a humectant, whether it’s glycerin or a DIY spray that has some honey in it. Why? Because they’re both humectants which basically means they are ingredients that are able to pull moisture out of the air and into our hair (and skin).

Some other healthy humectants that are pretty effective include aloe vera gel, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, lactic acid, and oats. According to some hair experts, even cucumbers can hydrate your hair. Like, if you apply a homemade cucumber hair mask as a final step on wash day, it can be great for your hair until it’s time to shampoo and condition it again.

Just mix the puree of one cucumber with an egg and your favorite carrier oil (olive or Jamaican black castor oil are both awesome), and then apply it to damp, clean hair. Let it sit for 20 minutes, and then rinse out thoroughly with warm and then cool water. You will instantly feel (and notice) a difference.

3. Make Grapeseed Oil Your Friend

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A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled “7 Essential Oils All Naturalistas Need For Their Hair.” If you want to get the most out of those, it’s a good idea to add them to a carrier oil like olive, sweet almond, avocado, jojoba, or grapeseed oil.

As far as grapeseed specifically goes, it’s loaded with antioxidants and vitamin E that work to reduce oxidative stress, fight off free radicals, improve blood circulation to your scalp, and moisturize your hair without it feeling greasy.

Something else that’s in grapeseed oil is linoleic acid. It’s wonderful for your tresses because it has a way of smoothing down hair cuticles, adding hydration, and nourishing your hair follicles — and you know what all of this boils down to, right? A lot more curls and a lot less frizz.

So, whether you add a dab into your palm and rub it across your hair or you use it to break a cast of a braid-out or twist-out (more on those in a bit), grapeseed oil will have your hair looking and feeling quite wonderful all summer long.

4. Use Shea Butter on Your Ends

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Between the antioxidants, vitamins A and E, properties that protect from UV damage, and its ability to soothe and, to a certain extent, even heal dandruff — it makes all of the sense in the world to use shea butter on your hair. Although I personally apply it more on my face and lips, I’ve been getting more settled into applying it to my ends, whether it comes to sealing them or just making sure to give them some added moisture.

Matter of fact, there are scientific studies to support that shea butter is great at reducing breakage, especially in our hair. A big part of the reason is that it’s able to moisturize the oldest parts of our hair while also keeping our cuticles from getting totally out of control due to humidity.

Just make sure that you use the kind of shea butter that is in its best condition. Because it’s a product that is more commercialized than ever, when buying some, make sure that it has a strong nutty scent, that it ranges from off-white to yellow in hue, that it absorbs quickly into your skin, and that the merchant can confirm that it will last between 1-3 years. All of these are signs of a trustworthy shea butter product.

5. This Is When Braid-Outs and Twist-Outs Can Thrive

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I won’t lie — if you like having that bone-straight look (from flat ironing or silk pressing, if your hair happens to be natural), summer is not really the season to make that attempt. Although, I will say that Color Wow’s Dream Coat Anti-Humidity Hair Treatment can keep your locks smoother for longer, no matter what time of year it is. That said, in my opinion, if you want to wear your hair out, I recommend a braid-out or twist-out instead.

The key is to make sure that your hair is super detangled, that your braids or twists are hella defined, and that you go with something that is gel-based if you want to fight frizz as much as possible — although I will say that an influencer who has a YouTube channel called Only One Jess did put me onto one of the best hair creams that I have ever tried — mostly because I have experienced zero flaking with it. It’s called Taliah Waajid, and y’all…Y’ALL. If you want to try the cream, their curly cream (here) is gonna get and keep your hair super right — summertime included.

6. Shampoo in Cooler Water

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When it’s sizzling outside, probably nothing sounds better than a cool shower. And did you know that taking one does wonders for your hair? First up, it closes up the pores on your scalp, which helps to keep “gunk” (sweat, hair products, etc.) from clogging up your hair follicles. Since hot water can be dehydrating, cool water can also prevent dry scalp and dry hair. And, since it seals your hair’s cuticles, it’s another way to combat frizz — if indeed that is something that you’re trying to avoid. And when your cuticles are smooth, that means smoother and shinier hair.

By the way, while this topic is on my mind if you happen to live in a city that comes with hard water, that can do a number on your strands as well. One way to avoid it is to invest in a shower head that comes with a soft water filter. Amazon has a lot of different affordable options that you can choose from here.

7. Do an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

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The antimicrobial and antioxidant properties in apple cider vinegar make it something that you can rely on when it comes to a myriad of health-related needs. It helps to regulate your blood sugar, aids in weight loss, is used as a natural remedy for nail fungus, can relieve symptoms related to eczema, and may help to lower your cholesterol levels too.

As far as your hair’s health and well-being are concerned, the cool thing about apple cider vinegar is the properties in it can keep the pH balance in your hair and scalp where it should be, can remove product build-up from your hair, and can also help to smooth your cuticles — and that can give your hair lots of shine, no matter what the weather may be like.

8. Also, Do a Protein Treatment

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I hate how long it took me to take protein treatments seriously because once I did, I started to see a real change in the overall quality of my hair. Because your hair is made up of mostly protein (keratin), of course, it’s something that you need in order to maintain the health and elasticity of it. This is especially the case if your ends experience a lot of wear and tear due to heat styling tools.

So, what are some signs that you could use a protein treatment ASAP?

  • Your hair lacks flexibility
  • Your hair doesn’t seem to hold any style
  • Your hair sheds a lot
  • Your hair is color-treated
  • Your hair breaks easily

If any of this is happening, definitely add some protein to your hair. Personally, I use ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment every six weeks or so. Yet if you decide to go with it or something that is based in soy protein (it strengthens damaged hair), silk protein (it softens your tresses), rice protein (it’s great for a sensitive scalp), or any other protein option, just make sure to balance out your protein with your moisturizer. That way, you don’t make your hair too hard — because, even when it comes to protein, there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.”

9. Use a Leave-In Conditioner

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When you have low porosity hair, what that basically means is your cuticles are lying very flat, which makes it hard for moisture to get into your hair strands. On the other hand, if you’re like me and you have high porosity hair, your cuticles are open and oftentimes have holes in them. As a result, your hair takes in moisture very easily, yet, on the flip side, the moisture tends to leave just as fast as it comes.

The solution? Well, one of the best ones is to use a leave-in conditioner. It will definitely help moisture to last in your hair a lot longer than just conditioning after shampooing does. There are plenty of leave-ins to choose from (Lord knows), and I’ve tried more than I care to count or mention. The one that has worked for me most and best is Mielle Organics' Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner. It literally keeps my hair soft and moisturized for a week solid — and for my hair, that’s truly saying something.

10. Trim Those Ends

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While you’re out here thinking that you hate summer weather (as far as your hair goes) because it causes your hair to frizz up, make sure that you check those ends of yours first. If they are dry, split, or raggedy, that is going to be a bigger culprit to frizzing than humidity will ever be.

Yeah, this is a friendly reminder that it’s a good idea to start off the summer with a professional trim — or at least to do some dusting on your own with some sharp hair shears. Long story short, dusting is all about taking small sections of your hair and removing an inch or less (preferably) of bad ends from them. You can watch videos on dusting here, here, and here.

11. Enjoy Some Wash ‘N Gos

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So, what if you want to do something to your hair that requires as little effort as possible and is virtually fearless of how humid the weather may decide to be? If that is indeed the case, look no further than a wash ‘n go. It plays up on your hair’s natural texture and requires very little styling manipulation, the “cast” that the gel creates can help to protect your hair from extreme weather elements, and if you use something like the shingling method (here), you can get hella curl definition.

Click here, here, and here for tips on how to get the most out of your own DIY wash ‘n go look.

12. Accessorize the Entire Hell Outta Your Hair

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If you plan on spending a lot of time traveling, by some body of water, or simply in the great outdoors from dawn until dusk (or vice versa), who said that you need to worry about styling your hair all summer long? Indeed, another way to not fight the fear of humidity is to play up your hair’s look with the help of a few accessories.

Some of the ones that are trending this season include claw clips, small barrettes, beaded jewelry (like the gems that you see on braids and twists), large satin scarves, headwraps, and, believe it or not (whew, chile)…scrunchies.

13. Sleep with a Humidifier

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Personally, I’m a huge fan of humidifiers. So much, in fact, that I wrote an entire piece devoted to them a couple of years back (check out “10 Really Good Reasons To Get Yourself A Humidifier This Fall”). And why should you want one in your bedroom for your hair? Good question.

Just like a humidifier can bring moisture to your skin throughout the night, it can do the same thing for your tresses. So, if you happen to have an itchy and/or irritable scalp, your hair is high porosity, or your hair seems like it’s full of frizz due to dryness or hair damage from over-styling, the hydration from a humidifier can help to alleviate all of this.

14. If You MUST…Braids

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And what if you read all of this and you’re saying to yourself, “Yeah…I just don’t want to deal with my hair at all” — while I do think that this is the season when you can learn more about how to make your texture and humidity work in harmony, a styling alternative that is pretty much surefire is braids.

This season, some of the most popular looks include microbraids, goddess braids, cornrows, box braids that are in a bob, Fulani braids, Jayda Wayda braids, and peek-a-boo braids.

15. Never Treat Shrinkage As “Problematic”

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Whenever I read articles on the topic of shrinkage, it’s interesting how political some of them can get. While some have no problem using the word (I don’t), others think there is no such thing; some believe that wanting to stretch out strands means that there is some sort of subconscious shame surrounding our natural hair texture.

Maybe if other ethnicities didn’t go to great lengths to alter their own hair texture for the sake of variety when it comes to different hairstyles, I would see the point — yet since that isn’t even close to being the case, I don’t think that shrinkage is a bad word nor do I think that stretching out your curls is a bad thing. What makes Black hair so incomparable is the countless ways that we can manipulate it…and how good it looks with every method/approach that we take.

With all of that out of the way, I will say that if you want to go as low-maintenance as possible with your hair this summer and you don’t want to spend a lot of time overthinking what the weather is gonna do (or not do), please don’t factor shrinkage into the mix. There are too many products out here now that can bring the most out of your hair just the way it is, without any kind of stretching being done to it at all.

So, run some juices and berries, oils, creams, or gels, and then hit the door. It’s too beautiful outside to spend a ton of time on your hair or to be stressing out about humidity. Your hair is bomb regardless, so you got this. Happy Summer Styling Time, y'all!

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