How Humidity Can Actually Help Your Curls

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April showers bring May flowers. It’s a saying that most of us are pretty familiar with, right? Well, here’s something that actually may surprise you. Actually, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information, April is actually the fifth wettest month of the year with June being the one that tends to drench us the most (the more you know”>. But what is certain is, whether it’s the middle of spring or some other time of the year, when there is moisture in the air, that means humidity isn’t too far away.

That’s because humidity is literally the amount of water vapor that’s in the air. And while it can be great for keeping viruses at bay, reducing snoring and keeping your skin moisturized, when it comes to your hair, humidity comes with some ups and downs, for sure.

For instance, although extra moisture can do wonders when it comes to defining your curls, too much of it can lead to frizz (which is why on rainy days, it probably seems like your hair doesn’t want to cooperate very much”>.

So, what is a woman with a head full of curls to do? The key word is “balance”. It’s all about finding ways to make humidity work in your favor and over the course of the next few minutes, I’m going to show you how to do just that.

Humectants vs. Anti-Humectants

When it comes to making sure that you have more good hair days than not, the main thing to keep in mind is you’re going to have times when you’ll need to use a humectant and then there are going to be days when you’ll need to go with an anti-humectant.

OK, so what exactly is the difference? Let’s go with what humectants can do for you first.

What is a humectant?

At the end of the day, a humectant helps to draw moisture from the air while also maintaining moisture in your hair. Because it’s more difficult for natural sebum to flow all the way down curly hair textures, oftentimes curly hair is drier which usually means that it needs more help with retaining moisture. Humectants can help to make that happen. While there are lots of products that are marketed as being humectants (check out “These Are the Common Humectants Found in Your Hair Products””>, there are also all-natural things that serve as humectants too. Some of those include honey, vegetable glycerin, aloe vera gel, elastin and collagen.

What is an anti-humectant?

Anti-humectants are, well, just the opposite; they help to block moisture from getting into your hair which can also reduce frizz. So, how do you know when you need to go this route instead? Well, if you’ve already applied a moisture-rich product into your hair (like a leave-in conditioner, for instance”> and it’s already humid outside, the last thing you need is more moisture. That’s where an anti-humectant can come in really handy because if your locks have too much water in them, that can cause your strands to swell which could eventually lead to some level of hair damage. Whenever this happens, luckily, there are anti-humectant products that are readily available (check out “20 Anti Humectant Products for Spring””>. As far as natural anti-humectants go, some of those include shea butter, virgin olive oil and coconut oil.

Bottom line here is if your hair needs more moisture or you want to pull moisture from the air into your strands, go with a humectant. On the other hand, if your hair has its fill of moisture, then an anti-humectant is best. The “balance” is what will keep frizz away so that your curls can be at their best.

5 Tips for “Handling” Humidity

Now that you’ve hopefully got a bit more clarity on what humidity is and how you can find the kind of products that will help you to deal with humidity (or the lack of it”> well, here are a few more tips that can help you to bear with it a bit easier.

1. Work WITH humidity; not against it

If there’s one thing that you’re never going to be able to control, it’s the weather. That’s why, if you know that a humid day (or season”> is headed your way, it’s best to go with hairstyles that will complement it. Wash ‘n gos are one example. Putting your hair into braids, twists or Bantu knots are good ideas too. What’s cool about all of these options is they come in a variety of styles, so that you’ll never feel like humidity is “holding your hair hostage”.

2. Pamper your scalp

As far as pampering your scalp goes, there are a couple of different approaches to take. For starters, make it a point to massage your scalp a couple of times a week when humidity is at its peak. Believe it or not, the extra moisture can help to nourish your scalp and hair follicles as your fingers help to increase blood flow to that area (so that your hair can receive more nutrients”>. Another tip is to clarify your scalp more often, especially when it’s hot outdoors. Between the heat, humidity and product build-up, you need to apply a scalp scrub, so that your hair follicles don’t get clogged up and your scalp doesn’t become irritated. For some leads on scalp scrubs that you can buy, check out our article, “10 Masks & Scrubs that Make Your Scalp Feel Amazing”.

3. Invest in a humidifier

If you’ve got dry skin. If you snore a lot. If you’re battling a cold or even COVID. These are just some of the reasons why it’s a good idea to invest in a humidifier. When it comes to your hair, getting one can be a really good idea if you’re trying to restore some moisture into your hair if you happen to live in a climate that’s actually super dry or you want to maintain moisture in your hair overnight.

4. Get a good hair dryer and microfiber towel too

Again, in order for your curls to look their best, your hair needs to have a good balance of moisture in it. Whether you’re using a blow dryer to straighten your natural hair out or you opt to put a diffuser attachment on it so that your curls can dry quicker, you definitely need to invest in a quality blow dryer — one that will give you the results that you are looking for without zapping every bit of moisture that you need in the process. Speaking of drying your hair, something else that’s a wise purchase is a microfiber towel. It helps to dry your hair faster without damaging it in the process. It also tends to leave enough moisture in your hair that your tresses will end up with far less frizz on days when you’d prefer to let your locks air dry. If you’re looking for a good hair dryer, check out our article, “Top 10 Hair Dryers for Curly Hair”. For tips on how to use one on curly hair, also check out “7 Rules When Using a Blow Dryer on Curly Hair”.

5. Use the products that work best for you

Even with all that you just read, some of this is going to be more like a test run. For instance, if you have low porosity hair, that means it’s more difficult for your hair to retain moisture, so you’ll need to use more humectants. On the other hand, if you have high porosity hair, it means that there are usually “gaps” in your hair cuticle that can make it easy for your tresses to absorb moisture but can also cause you to apply too much water to your hair, if you’re not careful. In this case, you may need to go with anti-humectants more often. Bottom line here is don’t be afraid to do a little experimenting. Once you find what leads to more curls than frizz, you’ll know you’ve found what is great for your hair texture — something that can help you and your locks to handle whatever humidity (or lack of humidity”> that comes your way.

Shellie Reneé

Shellie Reneé

Shellie Reneé has been writing full-time for two decades with bylines in everything from Honey, King and Sister 2 Sister (remember those?) to XONecole, Upscale, Little Things, Your Tango and Love, Live Health — just to name a few. Although most of her writing is relationships-related, she also enjoys writing on self-help, health and wellness and providing tips for women to celebrate the way they were born — both inside and out.

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