Hair hacks for heat and humidity | How to get soft, healthy hair
Banish frizz and restore silky locks
With heat and humidity right around the corner, I’ve been giving my hair some extra pampering lately to keep it healthy. I have thick, full hair that swells with just a drop of moisture in the air and after years of battling puffiness and frizz I’ve learned some tips to keep it soft and tame.
What’s helped me a lot is growing it long because it weighs it down somewhat so it lays flatter. It’s currently to my waist which is the longest my hair has ever been and I’ve noticed it’s sleeker and more manageable.
My current haircare routine:
Use a sulfate-free shampoo. I use the Giovanni 2Chic line which smells good and cleans my hair without making it feel dry. It's pretty easy to find in drugstores and supermarkets and reasonably priced too.
If your hair tends to swell in humidity, you want to look for moisturizing shampoos and conditioners. Avoid products that contain a lot of alcohol as they can dry out your hair. Also be leery of silicones. Although they are used to give a slip to your hair, they build up easily and can have the opposite effect over time.
Most days I stick with a light, daily conditioner like Aussie Moist. It contains jojoba oil and aloe vera which smooth and moisturize in lieu of silicone. Once a week I use Neutrogena Triple Moisture Mask and leave it on for 5-10 minutes. This is one of the best hair masks I've ever used and it's around $6. This has olive, sweet almond and meadowfoam seed oils that make your hair feel so luxurious and satiny. Just be sure not to use it too often or too much product because it can weigh hair down. It’s concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
It’s a misconception that leaving conditioners and masks in longer makes your hair healthier. In fact, if the product you’re using contains hair-strengthening protein (you’ll recognize it on ingredient lists as keratin – the building blocks of hair) it can actually dry and damage your hair if it sits on your strands too long. I used to leave masks on for hours and wonder why my hair still felt like straw. Turns out, there is too much of a good thing. So if you’re using anything with protein, make sure to use it sparingly.
I also change it up with Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore conditioner once every couple of weeks, partially because it is so expensive I savor it like it actually contains drops of gold but also because it has a lot of protein. It softens hair to perfection and makes it much more manageable when used occasionally.
Always rinse conditioner in cold water. At the very least give your hair a final cool rinse before you step out of the shower. It closes the cuticle and prevents the hair shaft from swelling when you step out into the humidity.
Find a good leave-in product. The best products for leave-in treatments I have found are plant and botanical-based. I love the Phyto line. I use Phytodefrisant which prevents hair from getting poofy in the humidity. It’s heat activated so use it on wet to damp hair before you blow dry for heat protection as well.
Step away from the blow dryer. The biggest thing that helped my hair grow long and strong and feel healthier is avoiding hot tools. Ninety percent of the time I let my hair air dry and throw it up in a messy bun till it dries to get loose waves. I save the blow dryers flat irons and hot rollers for special occasions. This has made such a difference in my hair.
The best part is the longer you do this, the better your hair will look when it air dries. It frees up so much time as well, since thick hair takes forever to style.
Try it on a day you’re just hanging around the house or running errands. Even forgoing hot tools just once in a while gives your hair a break and reduces split ends and frizz, which in turn will help it grow longer.
Use a preshampoo oil or go DIY and use olive oil. Only apply to the ends of your hair or you may have a greasy mess! Leave in for about 15-30 minutes and then shampoo as usual.
Eat a balanced diet. Diet plays more of a role in the health of our hair than most people think. I know some women have luck with supplements for hair growth and strength but I like to steer clear of those and just improve my diet. Make sure you’re eating enough good fats, like in avocados, salmon, olive oil, etc. Add extra Omega-3 to your diet by sprinkling flaxseeds on cereal, soups, chili or smoothies.
Choose the right haircut. Make sure your hairstyle is working with you, not against you. A few years back I foolishly cut layers into my hair, thinking it would break up the thickness. Unfortunately, all it did was puff up my hair more and give me an awkward growing out phrase chock full of cowlicks. If you have thick, full hair, tell your stylist to cut angles, not layers. I cut mine in a sharp V shape to taper the ends. The varying lengths help weigh down thick hair.
Conversely, all-one-length hair can also boost volume too much. It’s great for thin, fine hair types but can be too much if you’ve already got va va voom.
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