How to Humidity-Proof Your Hair, According to Hairstylists
We asked experts how to hack one of the most dreaded combinations: humidity and hair.
We all have our personal weather preferences (mine is 72 degrees, partly cloudy), but I don’t think there is a single person out there who actually enjoys any level of humidity. It's not only sticky and uncomfortable, but it can cause some major hair issues. Even the most carefully coiffed and blow-dried styles turn into a frizzy catastrophe when slammed with a particularly humid day. “Your hair reverts to its natural state when it comes in contact with moisture,” explains Joseph Maine, celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of Trademark Beauty. “Since humidity is high levels of moisture in the air, you will see any wave or texture begin to coil up. We often refer to it as frizz because the humidity will primarily affect those little fine hairs or shorter pieces that have less weight to combat the moisture.”
There's nothing wrong with a little seasonal frizz and volume, but if you want to sidestep the additional poof and ensure your styled tresses aren’t compromised between seasons, we compiled some ways—with some help from top hairstylists—to hack the humidity.
We can probably all agree that warm showers are more preferable, but both dermatologists and hairstylists agree that cooler temperatures are better for your hair and skin. You don’t have to go ice cold or anything, but resetting your shower temperature down to the coolest you can withstand will close your hair scales tighter, maximizing glossiness and manageability. Even if it’s at the very end, run the water down your hair from roots to end before hopping out to make post-shower styling easier.
According to Ebony Bomani, a licensed cosmetologist and hairstylist, it's best to ensure that hair is 100 percent dry before leaving the house. “Air drying is best because some blow dryers can emit harsh heat that causes the hair to be puffy, making it more susceptible to frizz when you go outside.” If you just don’t have the time (totally understandable) in the morning, there is another option. Ionic hair dryers produce millions of negatively charged ions, which break down positively charged water molecules without opening up the hair shafts, leaving hair smoother and sleeker. Moda One Smart Ionic Hair Dryer ($299; amazon.com) uniquely detects real-time hair moisture levels (vs. air temperature) and automatically adjusts damaging heat and optimizes airflow accordingly to prevent extreme damage to hair and scalp.
Anti-humidity sprays aren’t a marketing gimmick—there’s a reason they work. It might take an extra few minutes before leaving the house, but applying smoothing products, such as hair milks, leave-in conditioners, gels, and serums, create a barrier between the hair and moisture in the atmosphere. “They work by providing a protective layer over the hair shaft to prevent your locks from expanding and frizzing up when humidity strikes,” says Bomani. He recommends The Mane Choice Crystal Orchid Biotin Infused Styling Gel ($11; amazon.com), which is infused with biotin and vitamin D to define curls and smooth edges while delivering maximum hold.
Maine swears by Color Wow Hair Dream Coat Supernatural Spray ($28; amazon.com), a lightweight, water-based spray that you apply on wet hair and blow dry in: “It’s literally like a raincoat for your hair—it adds a ton of shine and completely locks out the humidity. You want to make sure every strand is coated, but even with coating all of your hair it never weighs it down. The demos are seriously unreal—water will actually bead up and roll off of your hair.”
According to Maine, dry hair is also more susceptible to humidity, so making sure it’s nourished and moisturized will make it less thirsty for the water in the air. In addition to using a hydration shampoo and conditioner duo, leave-in conditioners that you apply post-shower can help seal in hydration. “Remember to also include hair oils in your styling regimen,” adds Bomani. “Not only do they nourish the hair, they help tame frizz.” He recommends The Mane Choice Heavenly Halo Herbal Hair Tonic & Soy Milk Deep Hydration Serum ($15; target.com), a nourishing oil that leaves behind a glossy shine without feeling greasy. If you have fine hair (fine hair gets frizzy too!), I swear by OGX Replenishing Water Cream ($9; amazon.com), a hydrating treatment packed with hyaluronic acid and flower water.
If your hair tends to poof up as it dries down, Bomani says you should use a hot tool to smooth your hair as sleek as possible. Just make sure to apply a heat protectant first to prevent damage. “The additional heat will help pull out the natural tendency to curl,” says Bomani. “Once the heat cools and locks in your style, it will be much harder for it to revert back.” If you’re looking for a quick and easy fix, blow-dry brushes are perfect for styling your hair, drying it, and eliminating frizz at the same time. Try GHD’s newest volumizing hot hair brush ($189; ghdhair.com), which allows you to smooth down frizz while keeping the root lift needed for volume.
If you’re ironing your strands straight or curling it, the experts also say you should take finer sections, rather than thicker ones. Taking smaller sections allows you to have more control of molding your hair, which will play off later when humidity strikes.