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Help Your Hair Cope with Humidity

Summer is almost here and before you know it the humid weather and humidity will be wreaking havoc on your hair. Humidity is the enemy of a good hair day. The frizz. The flyaways. The styles that fall flat in seconds. Humidity can turn your perfectly styled strands into a hot mess in an instant. And no hair type is spared when it comes to the effects of the dreaded moisture in the air. If it’s humid out, your hair will show it. But with our expert tips, best products and go-to hairstyles, you can humidity-proof your hair. We’ve got the anti-humidity tips, tricks and hair hacks to keep your hair frizz-free, no matter the temperature.

How does humidity affect hair?

To understand what humidity does to your hair, it's important to understand a little more about the makeup of a hair strand. A strand of hair is made of protein. Specifically lots and lots of tubes of keratin, all bundled together. Humidity in the air causes a change in the way these bundles of keratin in the hair bind together. These bundles are held together by two types of bonds:

  • Very strong disulfide bonds- these are only broken by permanent curling and straightening treatments
  • Weaker hydrogen bonds- these are broken easily by water

So anytime the hair gets wet, hydrogen bonds are broken. As the hair dries, bonds re-form in whatever new shape the hair is in, resulting in frizz. Humidity is moisture in the air. This moisture breaks the hydrogen bonds and poof — frizz! Additionally, any moisture in the air will weigh down your strands making it difficult for them to hold on to a style. So humidity not only causes your hair to go frizzy, but your hairstyles to fall flat.

Expert tips and product picks to humidity-proof your hair

These anti-humidity hair tips and hair care products will fill your hair full of hydration, tame frizz and flyaways, and keep your styles holding strong.

LOVE Hair smoother Davines frizzy hair

Start in the shower 

The battle against humidity starts in the shower. Cooler water temperatures are better for your hair in general, but especially for keeping frizz in check. Hot water strips your hair of its natural oils, making it dry. Dry hair is more susceptible to frizz. If you can stand it, use cool water with an anti-frizz shampoo and conditioner to hydrate your strands, closing the cuticles and eliminating frizz. Even if only at the very end of your shower, run a blast of cool water down your hair from roots to ends right before hopping out. Avoid shampoos with chemicals like sulfates, silicone and parabens when washing your hair. These can lead to damaged hair, which is you guessed it- more susceptible to frizz.

Towel dry your hair the right way

After you wash your hair, your natural reaction might be to vigorously rub your hair dry to get rid of moisture fast. This is especially the case with thick hair that can take longer to dry. But rubbing your hair physically raises the cuticle, causing frizz and split ends. Instead use a microfiber towel to dry your hair by squeezing the water out of it gently. Make sure to squeeze out all of the moisture from your strands. All hair types, especially curly hair, hold lots of water. 

Apply a protective layer to your strands

The trick to dealing with humidity is to get the cuticle of the hair to lay as flat as possible. Applying smoothing products like hair milk, heat protectant, leave-in conditioner, anti-humidity spray (and other humidity hair products) create a humidity shield between the hair and any moisture in the atmosphere. These hair products provide a protective layer over the hair shaft. Use them to keep your strands smooth through the most humid temperatures.

Use a bit of heat to smooth flyaways

First things’s first, heat styling can cause damage and frizz over time. Anytime you use heat, make sure you prep with a heat shield for hair. Once they’re protected, a quick run through with a flat iron can help get your strands as sleek as possible. Heat helps stop the hair’s natural tendency to break its shape. Once the heat cools and the hair shape is locked in, it’s much harder for it to revert back. Whether you’re blow-drying your hair, ironing it straight or curling it, work in small sections. Taking smaller sections at a time allows you to have more control over what you’re doing. Need a little help when it comes to perfecting a blowout? See our previous post How to Do a Perfect Blowout at Home for a step-by-step guide.

Wear your hair up

An easy way to avoid dealing with humidity altogether is to wear your hair up. A go-to updo is one of your best defenses against humid temps. Wearing your hair up keeps the frizz and flyaways in check. Styling your wet hair in a braid or bun is a forever chic way to beat the humidity when temperatures rise. See our full list of anti-humidity hairstyles below!

Stock up on hair oil and hair butter

If your hair is on the thick or coarse side, a moisturizing anti-frizz oil like Argan oil is your very best friend in the fight against humidity. Hair oils and butters help keep hair healthy, shiny, and frizz free. Use them straight out of the shower on damp hair and as needed to tame flyaways. If you have fine hair, limit the oil to your ends only, or use a weightless styling cream instead.

Embrace your natural texture

The best hair look to rock when it comes to humidity is to play up your natural texture. So if your hair is pin straight, don't choose beachy waves on a humid day. And if your hair is thick and curly don't straighten it. If you have wavy hair and you’re embracing those bends, see our expert tips for how to make curls stay

Beachy waves Davines OI

Moisturize your ends

Dry hair is more susceptible to humidity, so keeping it moisturized will make it less thirsty for the water in the air. In addition to using a hydrating shampoo and conditioner, use a leave-in conditioner post-shower to seal in moisture. Not only do they nourish split ends, they help tame future frizz.

Try a keratin treatment

Keratin is a protein found naturally in the hair. It acts as a protective shield against humidity. Over time, the hair loses keratin causing gaps to develop in the hair strand. This is one of the main reasons for frizzy hair. Keratin treatments fill in these gaps for humidity-resistant, frizz-free strands.

Humidity-proof hairstyles to beat the heat

Keep these hairstyles in mind to make styling a breeze on the days when humidity takes over.

  • Topknot: A topknot is the perfect hairstyle for dealing with frizz on a humid day. You can wear your knot half up or pulled completely off your face. Use a strong hold hairspray to keep flyaways in place.
  • Scarf updo: The easiest way to hide the effects of humidity on your hair is to hide them. Throw your hair into an updo of your choice and cover your strands with a scarf to hide any breakthrough frizz. 
  • Slicked back bun: Slick your hair back into a low bun to stop frizz before it starts in humid temperatures. Keep it sleek with an anti- humidity strong hold gel. For extra staying power finish with a light hold hairspray.
  • Messy ponytailEmbrace the messiness of frizzy hair on a humid day with a messy pony. Give your strands a slight tease and secure your ponytail with an elastic band. Finish with a flexible hold hairspray.
  • Half-up braid: A half-up braid hides any pieces along your face that would otherwise frizz up at the first sign of moisture. Give your braid a little extra hold with a dab of hair butter.
  • Braided headbandThis is the perfect hairstyle to disguise frizzy bangs in the humidity. Section your hair from ear to ear, pulling the back section away and securing with it a clip. Start from behind one ear and braid a three-strand braid towards the other. Add in hair as you go along to create a headband.
  • The wet lookIf it’s a super hot and humid day, go with it and rock the wet look. Run a hair serum through your hair and pull it back into a low braid, bun, or pony. 
  • French twistIt doesn't get much easier (or more chic) to hide frizz than rolling your hair into a french twist. Pull your strands back into a mid-height ponytail, twist and secure your twist with bobby pins.
  • Fishtail braidThis intentionally messy braid helps you hide frizz and takes you from work to a night out all at the same time. Here’s an easy tutorial on how to make a fishtail braid in a few easy steps.

Final thoughts on hair and humidity

Humidity makes hair frizzy, unmanageable and hard to style. It wreaks havoc on perfectly styled strands turning them against you in an instant. Arm yourself with our anti-humidity hair guide full of expert tips and product picks in time for summer. And keep a few humidity-proof hairstyles at your disposal for those days when you just don’t feel like dealing with it. You can stay frizz-free through the most humid of temps — use our guide and you’ll be living proof this summer!

by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor

Photos by @goldandglowco

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