Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We're in the HEAT in Texas - What Can You Do To Help Your Hair?

by Melissa White
Licensed Hair Stylist

We've been in triple-digit temperatures here in Texas for most of the summer, and there's no end in sight as we enter September! When we get stuck in a high-heat pattern it certainly has the ability to affect your hair.

Even styling it the exact same way will not work. Your hair is reacting to humidity (even if we don't feel the humidity as oppressive) or lack of it. There are a many changes that occur in your hair strands on a daily basis. Hair is hygroscopic, meaning it is able to absorb or attract water molecules from the air. Dry air will pull water molecules from your hair into the environment, while humid air causes hair to absorb the moisture from the air. When hair absorbs moisture, it causes swelling of the hair. Some estimate that the thickness of your hair can increase as much as 16 percent in high humidity. It's no wonder that in temperature extremes we have so many more control issues with our hair!

Humidity Affects All Hair Types

Humidity is certainly an evil enemy for those with frizzy hair. When we have high humidity even people who normally do not suffer from frizz might battle dry or unmanageable hair, or be flailing with fluffy, dry ends. Heavy, oppressing, moisture-laden air  that comes with humidity can (and usually always will) create bad hair days. This usually results in frizzy or limp locks, depending upon the type of hair you have (curly, wavy, thick or fine). 

What does humidity mean to you? Once your hair begins absorbing the moisture from the air, your hair responds with change. While each hair type responds differently to moisture vapor’s effects, even various strands on the same head can react, and sometimes they react very unpredictably. Proteins in hair aren’t uniform and they can and will react differently to water molecules. This can cause your hair strands to twist or bend, which can take the curl out of fine hair, or can cause frizz or excessive curl for others, depending on your hair type.

Curly Hair Benefits from Use of Products

Naturally curly hair will often curl excessively or be prone to frizziness, even if you've carefully styled it beforehand. This can be extremely frustrating. Curly hair has rougher cuticles so brushing or touching hair should be avoided or minimized when it’s humid. The friction that comes from brushing will leave you with a head full of frizz. In extremely humid conditions, I often advise letting hair dry naturally, use a sculpting spray for curls, wear a braided style, scoop hair into a bun, or tuck under a cap. I love the beach waves for those who have curly or wavy hair because it lets the hair look great without a lot of fuss. In dry conditions, those with curly hair don't have as many issues, and these are usually the best hair days! Keeping your hair in good health, and use products during heat will help eliminate the bad hair days.

Dry Hair Has A Mind of Its Own

Dry hair can be especially problematic. All hair retains water, even if it feels dry. Healthy hair can have 15 to 30 percent moisture in it. Less than that and the dryness can create distressing frizz and fluff. It becomes difficult to style, and tends to break more easily. Damaged and dry hair can be even worse, retaining up to 55 percent of moisture from the atmosphere! You need help in restoring your hair to health before you'll be able to control either the humidity or dry air. Seek help from a professional hair stylist who can help with conditioning treatments and at-home products.

Fine Hair Goes Limp so Keep it Light

Fine hair seems to just flatten out when exposed to hot humid conditions no matter what you do. I know from personal experience on this one, as I have very fine hair. The key here is to go as light as possible with your products. Volumizing shampoo and conditioner are okay, but you need to be especially careful using styling products and don't overdo! Play around with styles and use accessories if volume is needed. There are a few good products which can add volume such as the use of a dry shampoo, root boost, "sugar", or similar products. The use of clips, headbands, and forms can also help achieve volume. Wearing braids can also keep hair from looking too limp, and can be a good alternative to just wearing it down. Braids are hot right now, so take advantage of some of the very unique and creative styles that can be done with braids!

Weather Affects Hair Extensions Too!

Remember that weather and environmental conditions will affect your hair extensions as well. If you have 100% natural human hair extensions, the hair will react according to the type of hair it is, whether curly, wavy, straight or fine! Since an experienced hair extension artist will take care to match the extension hair she chooses to your own hair type, you should be able to treat the hair extensions as you would your own natural hair. However, if you've been given synthetic extensions, or if your stylist has not matched your hair well, you may end up with two or more different hair care needs. I would recommend a consultation with an experienced hair extension artist to get an evaluation to see what can be done to help.

Steps To Take:

Both humid days and dry days have their own set of problems that can try your nerves. The best advice:
  • Get your hair in as healthy condition as possible to keep your hair more manageable 
  • Maintenance is the key - use a quality conditioner once a week.
  • Keep your hair trimmed to remove split ends.
  • Keep your hair at a manageable length.
  • Use a silicone smoothing product to damp hair if you have thick or curly hair 
  • Use a quality root booster product for fine hair and avoid smoothers that contain silicone
  • Avoid the sun - UV rays are as damaging to your hair as they are on your skin! 
Lastly, consult with your hair care specialist! He/she can help recommend appropriate products and care for your type of hair. They know your hair better than anyone else and should know how they will behave when used on your hair!

Melissa White is an experienced, licensed hair extension artist and stylist whose passion is to bring out the natural beauty in everyone by enhancing their own individual features with the use of exquisite hair extensions. Melissa has over 10 years of extensive training with the industries top hair extension companies in the newest techniques. Originally from Boston, Melissa has been in San Antonio for the past 8 years. She believes that everyone should be able to access and afford the hair of their dreams . . . thus the creation of Extensions of Yourself, San Antonio's first salon which specializes exclusively in quality hair extensions.