By Chinwe of Hair and Health
Summer officially arrived over a month ago and so did the humidity in various parts of the world. What does this mean for those who are transitioning or natural? Well, it could mean unwanted reversion, shrinkage, and frizz. You can, however, reduce these effects by following the tips below:
1. Use a smoothing or glossing serum.
Dimethicone and dimethiconol are among a group of silicones that are not soluble in water. These substances coat the hair strand creating a barrier against humidity. If your hair fairs fine with silicones, then use a serum containing dimethicone or dimethiconol in order to reduce reversion, shrinkage, and frizz. Apply the serum to a fresh set of twists or braids or onto your loose style (e.g., twistout or braidout). Do you want a product recommendation? Some women swear by FX Silk Drops Hair Serum for battling humidity.
NOTE: Because these particular silicones do not dissolve in water, they can lead to buildup with continued use over time. Be sure to wash your hair with a shampoo containing any of the following surfactants in order to prevent this buildup: ALS, ALES, SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, or cocobetaine. Follow up with a good deep conditioner to restore the moisture to your hair.
2. Run from styling products that contain humectants.
Humectants (e.g., glycerin, propylene glycol, and sorbitol) draw moisture from the surrounding environment. When applied to the hair, which is then exposed to humidity, these substances can lead to reversion, shrinkage, and frizz. In order to reduce these effects, avoid moisturizers, gels, and leave-in conditioners that contain humectants. However, if your hair will suffer from lack of these products, then do not change your routine. It is better to put healthy hair care before an anti-humidity technique any day.
3. Protective style.
In my transitioning, and now natural days, protective styling was and still is my number one weapon against summer humidity (in addition to the use of a smoothing serum). My go-to styles are twists or braids because reversion becomes a non-issue. Additionally, shrinkage and frizz are minimized and easier to embrace in such styles. Other protective options include buns, updos, cornrows, flat twists, and braid extensions.
4. Work close to your texture.
Some ladies enjoy wearing their hair out during the summer, especially if they have spent the rest of the year in protective styles. However, this can be an invitation to the unwanted effects of humidity. One way to minimize these effects is to “work close to your texture” via braidouts, twistouts, straw sets, or rod sets. These styles are less likely to be ruined by the humidity than straighter styles (e.g., a blown-out fro) that are further from your actual texture.
5. Embrace your texture.
Another way to manage your hair in humid weather is to simply “embrace your texture”. What does this mean? It means wearing your hair in its natural state (e.g., a wash-n-go). Reversion and shrinkage are no longer problematic but fully accepted when you wear your natural coils, kinks, or curls. Humidity is no longer feared but welcomed in this state.
Those with medium to long hair, especially those with kinks or tighter coils, should proceed with caution. Wash-n-gos can create an environment conducive to tangles and knots. If you do have medium to long, kinky hair and would like to experiment with wash-n-gos, there are a few ladies worth watching on Youtube who are successfully wearing these styles on similar hair texture and length.
6. Wear a scarf or headband.
Scarves and headbands are very much the trend this summer, and they can be useful for disguising hair that has suffered the effects of humidity. Opt for those made from silk or polyester (more specifically, the satin weave), which are both gentler on the hair than cotton. Also choose soft, wide headbands, which can disguise the hair better than thin, hard ones.
How do you manage your hair in humid weather? Share your tips!