Curly girls are no strangers to weather-related challenges. From harsh winter conditions to scorching hot summer temperatures, our curls go through a lot all year round. But there’s one particularly anxiety-inducing weather report that makes every curly girl cringe: humidity.
Ultra-humid weather can make frizz seem inevitable, definition seem improbable, and long-lasting curls seem, well, straight-up impossible. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Below, we explain what humidity is, what it does to your hair, and most importantly, what you can do to maintain your curly hair in high humidity.
What is Humidity?
Let’s start with the basics: what is humidity, anyway? (Other than your curls’ arch nemesis.) Simply put, humidity is moisture in the air. The more humid it is outside, the more microscopic water droplets there will be in the air around you. We know what you’re thinking: but curls looove moisture, don’t they? So why do they freak out in humid climates?
Why Does Humidity Make Curly Hair Frizzy?
For some, humid weather turns curls into a hot, frizzy mess, while others swear that their curly hair thrives in humidity. So what does science say? Well, it all comes down to the condition of your strands.
While it may not be visible to the naked eye, on a microscopic level, each and every strand of hair is actually made up of many thin layers. The outermost layer, called the cuticle, is made up of many overlapping cells that resemble shingles on a roof. This cuticle layer is important because it serves as a protective barrier for your hair—sort of like a shield of armor. When your curls are strong, healthy and hydrated, your cuticle will open up to let in moisture (from your hair products, for instance), and once it’s soaked up all the moisture it needs, it will close—or flatten—and lock that moisture in so it can’t escape.
When your curls are in less-than-ideal shape (read: when they’re dry and damaged), the cuticle stays open, or lifted, allowing moisture to escape. This is why you may notice your hydrating hair products don’t actually do much when your hair is super-dry or damaged. And since your curls aren’t getting the adequate moisture they need from products, they’ll absorb moisture from wherever they can get it, including from the air (aka humidity). This causes the hair shaft to swell and individual strands to break apart from their clumps, leading to the unwanted excess frizz we dread.
So if someone says that they love the look and feel of their curly hair in humidity, it probably means their curls are properly hydrated and healthy, since their cuticle layer is able to remain sleek, smooth and closed. And while we all have to deal with unwanted frizziness from time to time, if you feel like you’re experiencing chronic, unmanageable frizz, it could be a cry for help (and hydration) from your curls. This is especially true if your curls are high in porosity, since the cuticle naturally lets in a lot of moisture, but loses it just as easily, leaving the hair feeling dry and straw-like.
How to Care For Your Curls in Humidity
If your curls are indeed feeling dry and in need of some extra TLC, here are some ways to help fight frizz and care for your curly hair in humidity, all summer long.
ADD MORE MOISTURE
Frizz is a sign that your curls are dehydrated, so one of the easiest ways to combat frizzy hair is to hydrate your curls. This will help keep your cuticle layer closed and ready to take on extreme humidity. After using your LUS (Love Ur Self) shampoo and conditioner (which are both formulated with moringa oil and shea butter to provide optimal hydration without weighing down your curls), follow up with our Deep Condition & Repair. It features ingredients like aloe vera and avocado oil that can penetrate your hair shaft and moisturize your strands from the inside out.
DRY YOUR HAIR PROPERLY
On humid days it's best to allow your curls to completely dry before going outside. This way you’ll know your hair shaft is closed and won’t immediately take on excess moisture from the air the second you step outside. You can either do this by air-drying your hair (for however long it takes!) or, if you’re short on time, turning to the LUS (Love Ur Self) Dryer & Diffuser, which dries and sets curls in less time and with less heat than other dryers, reducing frizz and enhancing shine.
And if you’re still wrapping your hair post-shower with a terry cloth towel, it may be time to switch to cotton. Traditional towels are made from synthetic materials that soak up all of the moisture from your hair and frankly, are way too rough for the delicate layers of curly hair. So ditch the terry cloth towel and start plopping your curls with our T-Shirt Towel, which absorbs water without causing frizz.
LOCK IT IN
Once you’ve given your hair all of the moisture it needs, you need to lock it in. One of the best ways to do that is by lightly coating your curls with oil, since water can’t penetrate through oil. Enter: our Elixir Oil, a blend of 7 pure oils plus vitamin E that will not only lock much-needed moisture in and prevent it from escaping, but it’ll also lock excess moisture from the air out, which is exactly what you need to fight frizz on humid days.
Since the Elixir Oil formula is so light and velvety, it’s easily absorbed into the hair shaft so that your curls neither look nor feel oily (which would be the last thing you need on a hot summer day). While it does the work of locking moisture in and sealing humidity out, it also contains essential nutrients that help to nourish and repair your hair, so your curls will actually get healthier over time and with prolonged use.
If you’re looking for locked-in moisture and extra hold and definition, try applying our Irish Sea Moss Gel before you head out the door. Irish Sea Moss holds 50 times (!!!) its weight in water, so it drenches your curls in much-needed hydration. Plus, our gel’s proprietary blend of passionfruit, açai and rice bran oil acts as a natural silicone replacement, so you get the hydration-trapping, humidity- and frizz-fighting benefits, without any of the downsides of traditional silicones, like buildup.
LASTLY: DON’T SWEAT IT
While ensuring your hair is happy and healthy is key to preventing frizz from occurring in humidity, when all is said and done, it’s important to accept that some frizz is just a fact of life, especially in humid climates. Striving for perfect curls 24/7 is a 24/7 job, and who wants to stress over an out-of-place curl or two (or five or ten)? After all, loving yourself—and your curls—means loving a lil’ bit of frizz, too.