Natural Hair in the Summer Air: Tips to Battle Humidity

9:01 AM

Lip Color: Colourpop, Back Up, Midi Ring/Bracelet: 14th & Union, Nordstrom Rack

Living in New York is pretty great - but living in New York during the summer is super amazing. With the free concerts, festivals, unlimited new places to meet up with friends...I love every second of it. The only slight downside can be how insanely humid it can get - and anyone with curly hair can attest to how frustrating the frizz can get. As a natural who chooses to use very little product on my hair, and enjoys that most stretched strands possible - humidity can be rough to work through. I have had to learn some tricks to keep my hair from totally rebelling against me during these super hot NYC nights. See my summer coils checklist below:

1. Be okay with a less than "perfect" hair day

We need to start with the mental, before getting to the physical. When I first transitioned, any day that was not the perfect twist out from my blogger fave was deemed a "bad hair day" in my mind. It took me a while to teach myself that any day that my hair is healthy and growing out of my head is a good hair day - this is a perfect thing to always remember, but especially when its 95 degrees outside and your normally controllable hair seems to have a mind of it's own. While watching the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic team competitions, I was reminded how Gabby Douglas was criticized for her hair in 2012. She was winning gold medals, and the internet was complaining about her ponytail. There is a long (and sometimes hurtful) history between public expectation and black hair, Melissa Harris Perry did an amazing job in explaining how black women's hair is often not only a personal choice, but also a political one in her piece for The choice to embrace your hair as it grows out of your head combats these expectations, and serves as a reminder that that unaltered version of you are something to be applauded. It may take some time to celebrate what hasn't always been publicly celebrated. Give yourself time, and recognize the growth (both internal and hair) that comes from loving yourself authentically.

2. Switch up your product routine

Okay, now on to the hair specifics. I usually switch the oil that I use depending on the season, and what I have learned about my hair tendencies in each. For winter, I like to use shea butter because it is heavy and makes my hair feel less dry in all of the wind and cold. For fall, I use coconut oil because it will harden when it's too cold, but feels perfect for the in between weather and gives my curls a great shine. Spring is pretty versatile - usually depends on if it is raining, typically grapeseed oil does the trick because it is light but helps my hair hold shape from twist outs. But for summer, I always go to olive oil. Olive oil is thicker and allows for some protection from humidity as it is a fatty oil, and acts as an emollient to pull moisture to the hair shaft and seal it. You can also try anti-frizz serums or styling creams, like Yes to Carrots Anti-Frizz Serum or Shea Moisture Frizz-Free Curl Mousse. I usually find these a bit too heavy and sticky for my hair, but they may work perfectly for you.

3. Give your hair longer to dry

If you do overnight styling like me (where I wet my hair, twist and let it dry overnight), you will want to give your hair extra time to dry when it's humid. Spraying and twisting at 11 and expecting it to be dry by 8 am just doesn't work during the summer months for me. If I know that I want my hair to be fully dry and curl defined the next day, I try to twist as soon as I get home - and allow some drying time before putting on my silk scarf for the night. If you use heat, you could also help along the process by holding your blow dryer on a low setting over your twist/bantu knots before going to bed. It will help with more definition so the humidity will just add volume instead of destroying your style.

4. Start using those bookmarked YouTube tutorials

This is the perfect time to try all of the up do, turban and protective style tutorials you have been saving from your YouTube natural hair faves. Turbans are my new summer staple, especially when I know my hair is still wet and could use an extra day to full soak in the moisture. Goddess braids, havana twists, faux locs, flat twists, the options are really endless - so head to YouTube and search for some great options. Getting a favorite style to combat humidity will help get through these summer days (and nights) without the tress stress.

"I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this" Psalm 139:14 GW

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