Humidity is every curly girl’s worst enemy. As soon as the humidity rises, those perfect spirals start to droop and frizz takes over. But don’t despair! In this article, you’ll learn pro tips for keeping your curls smooth and defined even when the air itself seems out to get you.
How Humidity Affects Curly Hair
First, let’s talk about why humidity wreaks so much havoc on our curls. The science is this: Humidity makes the hydrogen bonds in curly hair follicles absorb more water, causing them to swell and loosen the curl pattern. The result? Frizz city. Not cute.
There are a few levels of humidity to contend with:
On days with low humidity (generally below 40%), your curls will likely behave beautifully with minimal effort. Rejoice in smooth, bouncy spirals!
Humidity between 40-60% calls for a little extra attention when styling, but doesn’t usually present too much of a frizz risk. You’ll probably need to touch up your hair throughout the day. Plan with some curl creams or gels.
Anything above 60% humidity spells trouble, as moisture saturates the air, penetrating strands and forcing curls to expand. This leads to dreaded puffiness and frizz. You’ll need to break out the big guns in your arsenal for sleek, defined locks.
Tips for Low to Moderate Humidity Days
On days when humidity is less oppressive, you typically don’t have to go overboard fighting frizz.
Use the Right Products
Gels and mousses are your best friends when humidity is moderate. Focus on the hold factor over moisture. Aim for formulas that promise crunch-free definition with a strong grip on unruly frizz and flyaways. Scrunch in a pea-sized amount on soaking wet curls right out of the shower, then diffuse for best results.
Oils and creams can also help seal in moisture to keep hair from getting too thirsty for the water floating around in humid air but don’t overdo it. A tiny bit rubbed between your palms and scrunched lightly over curls should do the trick.
If air drying, humidity can swell strands before they fully set into coils. But don’t blast locks on full power with your dryer either. Keep the temperature low to medium and hover about 6 inches away, moving the dryer constantly so you don’t create frizz.
Refresh Your Curls as Needed
Carry a miniature leave-in conditioner or curl cream when you’re out and about. Choose lightweight water or aloe-based formulas to rehydrate without weighing down spirals.
Surviving High Humidity
When humidity skyrockets about 60%, ruining your curl pattern by midday is almost inevitable. Apart from the usual tips mentioned above make sure to adopt the following measures to protect your hair and curls better:
Strengthen Your Product Arsenal
Use extra holding stylers as a first line of defense.
Straight oils should be avoided, however, as they attract moisture from the air.
Instead, layer on humidity-resistant gels or mousses focused on coil formation over moisture. Apply to dripping wet hair in smaller sections before diffusing. The stronger the hold, the less swelling and frizz you’ll contend with.
Change Styling Techniques
Certain curl types have an especially tough time when humidity strikes. Really tight spirals can unravel quickly. Extremely porous coils absorb moisture like sponges. And achieving definition in looser wave patterns feels next to impossible.
When the weather report looks grim, it’s smart to switch up your styling a bit:
- Finger coil extra tight springs to encourage uniformity.
- Twist, braid, or bantu knot wavy hair overnight for a prolonged bounce.
- Weave small braids or plaits throughout puffy sections prone to frizzing for a textured definition that lasts.
Sometimes You Have No Choice But To Embrace the Frizz
Let’s be real – sometimes humidity wreaks absolute havoc on curl patterns no matter what products or techniques you’ve used. Instead of driving yourself crazy with endless touch-ups, embrace the texture humidity brings!
Work lightweight frizz-fighting creams or serums through your hands, then gently smooth over the hair’s surface when frizz strikes, avoiding direct contact with the coil. This helps tame flyaways and halos for a perfectly imperfect tousled texture. Spritzing sea salt or texturizing sprays also helps achieve that trendy lived-in look.
Additional Tips to Deal with Humidity Outdoors
Beyond products and styling, some other useful ways to keep humidity from destroying your hair:
- Block humidity by covering locks with a silk or scarf hat when outside. This protects the cuticle surface from moisture penetration. As an added plus, it prevents painful frizz-induced headaches too.
- Carry a travel-size curl revitalizing spray or foam in your bag. When frizz rears its ugly head midday, dip into the nearest restroom to smooth the formula through parched strands. Your spirals will perk right up!
- Skip the blowout in extreme humidity. Using hot tools when moisture saturates the air only amplifies frizz and destroys your coveted definition that much faster. Embrace those natural coils or straighten tresses on less humid days for longer-lasting sleekness.
Dealing with humidity is often an exercise in frustration for curlies. But have hope! With the right cocktail of humidity-fighting products, smart styling techniques, and a frizz-embracing attitude, you can make your spirals survive (and even thrive) through the stickiest, muggiest days of summer. Stand tall through the frizz, my curly friends – you’ve got this!