Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Hair Care || Battling the Humidity

Summer is officially here and so is the humidity in certain regions of the world.  What does this mean for those who are stretching, transitioning, or natural?  Well, it could mean reversion, shrinkage, and frizz.  However, you can mitigate each of these unwanted effects by following the tips below:

1. Protective Style.  In my relaxed, transitioning, and now natural days, protective styling has been the number one weapon against summer humidity.  My go-to protective styles were and still are twists or braids because reversion, shrinkage, and frizz are minimized.

2. Work with your texture. Some ladies enjoy wearing their hair out during the summer, especially if they've spent the rest of the year in protective styles.  However, wearing the hair out can be an invitation to the unwanted effects of humidity.  One way to minimize those effects is to "work with 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 fresh press) that are further from your actual texture.
-Tutorials on the strawset and cornrow-out
-Tips for maintaining twistouts

3. Embrace your texture.  Another way to combat humidity while wearing your hair loose 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).  However, 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.  If you do have medium to long, Type 4 hair and would like to experiment with, read my earlier post on the Curly Girl Method on Type 4s.

4. Run from humectant-containing moisturizers.  Humectants (e.g., glycerin, propylene glycol, sorbitol) draw moisture from the air.  When applied to the hair which is then exposed to humidity, humectants will facilitate the processes of reversion, shrinkage, and frizz.  However, if your hair absolutely needs these ingredients in a moisturizer, then do not change your routine.  It is better to put healthy hair care before an anti-humidity technique any day.
-List of more humectants

5. Use a shine/smoothing serum.  If your hair fairs fine with silicones, then using a serum containing dimethicone is another method for battling the summer humidity.  Apply the serum to a fresh set of twists or braids or onto your out style (e.g., twistout or braidout).  Dimethicone will not only aid in taming any frizzies, but it will create a slight barrier against humidity.  NOTE: Because this silicone does not dissolve in water, it can lead to buildup with continued use.  Be sure to wash your hair with a shampoo containing any of the following surfactants in order to prevent this buildup: SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, ALS, or ALES (Source).


6. Wear a scarf.  Hair scarves are very much the trend this summer, and they can be useful for disguising hair that has suffered the effects of humidity.  Opt for silk or polyester (i.e., satin) scarves, which are both gentler on the hair than cotton.

For previous posts on summer hair & skin care:
Type 4 Series: Curly Girl Method & Summer Hair


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