With summer quickly approaching, natural ladies who rely on twist outs or roller sets for bouncy curls may be cringing. The warm weather may be ideal for sun kissed skin and back yard barbeques, but it may not be so ideal for certain natural hair styles.
You spend all night washing, twisting, braiding, and rolling your hair, only to wake up and walk out of the door and into raging humidity. All efforts to keep your tresses looking fabulous seem to be in vain and you just accept whatever your hair inevitably does. This, at least for me, means that my hair will turn into a big bushy mess in 30 minutes or less. Certainly NOT the look anyone wants to showcase in public. I think just about every natural diva has been in this situation. You probably decided right then, that there was nothing you could have done differently. Or perhaps there is? There just may be some tricks that you haven’t yet mastered.
As a natural, who loves a twist out, I’ve learned a thing or two about keeping my curls in place during the summer months. Below, I’ll share some of the tips I’ve learned that can help minimize the effects of humidity on your hair. I also have Founder and CEO of KurleeBelle, Terrinique Pennerman, weighing in on how to keep curls, twist outs and braid outs from turning into frizzy, bushy disasters.
The Smaller the Better
I learned early in my natural hair journey that if you want a defined curl, then you should twist, braid or roll your hair in small sections. This method creates a better hold and distinct curls. Also, if humidity does try to take over your hair, it will be less noticeable than if you twisted or rolled your hair in larger sections.
Wet Vs. Dry Hair
This is probably more of a personal preference, but Pennerman suggests twisting your hair while it is wet or damp.
“The hair is more flexible when wet, so your results will be more defined,” she said. Pennerman also suggested twisting your hair while wet on day one and then re-twisting on dry hair a few days later to prevent shrinkage. Lightly spritzing each section of hair with water will also help to hold the curl pattern. She recommends the same technique for roller sets and braid outs.
I like to twist my hair on slightly damp or completely dry stretched hair in the summer. My hair tends to absorb moisture like no tomorrow. So twisting on really wet hair will only cause my hair to swell and frizz on humid days. However, I do know several naturals who rely on wet twist outs. It really depends on how your hair responds.
Taking Down Your Hair
This is probably the most important part of the process. I’m always very careful not to separate my hair too much when taking down my twists. Separating the hair too much will usually cause your hair to look undefined and frizzy — exactly what you’re trying to avoid. Pennerman unravels her twists naturally. Meaning, she only separates the twists or curls where there is noticeable separation. This technique reduces frizz and keeps individual curls intact. I like to separate my twists or curls no more than four times.
During cooler months, I can go almost 4 days without re-twisting or rolling my hair. I can’t say the same during warmer months. My preference is to re-twist my hair every other day, if not every day. I make sure to spritz (not drench) each section I’m going to twist with water so that my curl really sets. I also have to make sure the twists are small. I can’t get a good curl by doing larger twists as it will come out fluffy and undefined.
I know these gems might seem like the solution to every natural hair crisis, but shea butter and coconut oil truly keep your curls during the summer. They are anti-humectants, which means that the product blocks moisture (humidity) from your hair, but still provides plenty of moisture for your hair if used properly. Not only are they great for moisture, but they also are excellent stylers. Some even use them alone. I like to apply shea butter and coconut oil to my hair before I apply anything else. Because shea butter is a heavy butter, it’s perfect for combating humidity. Simply apply the shea butter first, because it’s a moisturizer, then seal in the moisture by apply the coconut oil next.
Castor oil is another anti-humectant and is also heavy. It combats humidity while keeping moisture locked into your strands. I like to spritz my hair with a mixture of castor oil and water if I need to retwist throughout the week.
KurleeBelle’s Kurl Defining Cream packs a mean punch. Although it’s light weight, it is ideal for defined, bouncy curls. Pennerman suggest only using a little of the product on twist outs and flexi rod sets. The defining cream also helps combat humidity. Fashion and Lifestyler Blogger, Melissa Chanel, stated in her review that her hair held up during a very humid day in NYC. Go to melissachanel.com to read her review! Below is a picture of KurleeBelle Found/CEO, Terrinique Pennerman, wearing a bantu knot out after using the Kurl Defining Cream.
Melissa Chanel is wearing a roller set.
Before you cringe, hear me out. I’ve found that if I don’t apply some kind of gel to my twists, then my hair will only hold a curl for 1 hour in humidity. For some reason the gel really helps keep the effects of humidity on my hair to a minimum. I don’t use gels with alcohol or harmful ingredients. My favorite gels for twist outs are Olive Oil Eco Styler gel, Argan Oil Eco Styler gel, flax seed gel and aloe vera gel. Below is a picture of a twist out on my freshy washed hair after using a combination of shea butter, coconut oil and Argan Oil Eco Styler Gel. My curls appear tight, but will stretch each time I re-twist my hair throughout the week.
This pomade was created specifically to keep hair frizz free during humid weather. It’s heavy pomade and a little goes a long way. You MUST use this product on DRY hair. If you use it on wet hair, your hair will turn into the frizzy, bushy mess that you’re trying to avoid.
I began using this product when I was trying to discover what worked best for my natural hair while in college. I saw YouTube reviews and thought I’d give it a whirl. You can use Sabino Moisture Block on wet or dry hair. This product truly seals your hair so that moisture won’t stand a chance. I finished the bottle a few years ago and didn’t bother to purchase another. Not because I didn’t like the product, but because I was experimenting and found other ways to combat humidity. A dab of moisture block on each twist is all you need to see great results.
Of course these tips and products will not prevent humidity from affecting your hair completely. Sometimes, you’ll get some swelling and the occasional bushy fro (sigh). Those are the times when there really is nothing you can do. However, if you decide to manipulate your curls, these tips and products might give you hope for more luxurious curls and less frizz this summer!
How do you maintain your hair styles during the humid summer?
Portia is a wife and mother who enjoys making things and people look pretty! As a graduate of Rowan University, Portia has an insatiable craving for natural hair, beauty, and fashion, but she also enjoys traveling and home decor. If you’d like to know more about her, visit her blog at huneybflyy.com