Humidity and Curly Hair

Did you ever see that episode of Friends where the gang goes to the Bahamas for Ross’ paleontology conference?  And each time she appears Monica’s hair gets bigger, and bigger and bigger?  I can so relate.  It’s amazing the effects that humidity can have on hair.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have a significant amount of moisture in the air.  It rains a lot as in the quantity of days, but rarely rains in large quantity of raindrops.  It’s nothing like the rain I’ve seen in the South or in Florida.  You’d be hard pressed to find a true Seattleite who owns an umbrella, or at least one who actually bothers to carry it around with them.  We all have hoods on our jackets.  And we just wait in the car for the ‘hard’ rain to stop, which doesn’t take long.  In a couple of minutes the rain will turn back to drizzle, and drizzle for this curly haired girl is not a bad thing.  I just squeeze the moisture into my curls and it seems to revive them for the day.  Nice!

In Seattle the average afternoon relative humidity ranges between 55-65%, but because Seattle’s marine air keeps the temperatures mild, the humidity is rarely oppressive.  It’s just, well, wet.

At home we have a digital weather reader with a little guy we call “The Dutch Boy.”  He looks like the boy in the legend that stuck his finger in the leaking dyke.  As the temperature changes, so do his clothes.  When the weather is cold, he dons a hat and mittens with his full-body covering.  When it’s warm out, a t-shirt and shorts.  And when it’s really hot outside, he wears just sunglasses and a Speedo.  Isn’t he cute?

I don’t know how perfectly accurate the Dutch Boy’s readings are, but I do know that when the relative humidity reading dips below 40%, I’m in trouble.  It usually signifies either a cold snap, with or without snow, or a dry summer day.  My hair gets frizzy and flat, and there’s no chance that my curls will comply with any of my demands.  It’s easier for me to blow dry my hair straight and play preppy until the rain returns, which is never too far away.

On the opposite spectrum, my curls get crazy in hot and humid climates like New Orleans, Orlando, or parts of Mexico.  Just like Monica, on each successive day that goes by my hair gets bigger.  And Bigger.  And BIGGER.  The curls get tighter and the volume increases.  I look a lot like Rosanne Roseannadanna.  And there’s not much I can do about it short of screaming “I give up, you win!” at the mirror.

But I know that all curls are not alike.  Mine are on the loose side of the curly hair spectrum.  Humidity is not my enemy – it just makes my hair shorter, wider and wild(er).  Girls with tighter curls than mine may not feel the same way.

So where do you live?  Is the humidity a help or a hindrance to your hair?  Would you ever consider moving for better hair?  I’m just sayin’….

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9 Responses to Humidity and Curly Hair

  1. Robin says:

    I’ve never found any rhyme or reason for my curls and the weather. I do get the Monica Geller hair in super hot, humid weather (I love that someone else besides me uses that as her point of reference to explaining it to others), but it used to be that mild humidity was good for my hair. Now it could be, it could not be.

    My curls seem to love winter, which is odd. They hate the changes of seasons and my worst hair is in early spring and early fall, but it doesn’t last throughout the whole season.

    They have a mind of their own and they are getting crankier with age.

  2. Tracy says:

    Our humid summers are torture on my hair. It’s pure frizz.

  3. Oh, humidity is not my friend. Aside from the wonderful beads of sweat that run down my brow and back, my hair becomes kinkier (not in a fun way) and frizzier. On days when I attempt to straighten my hair, I just have to walk outside and the curls return. I have often dreamed up living in a climate that is humidity free. Do you know where that might be???

  4. Lizzie says:

    Beth, my hair doesn’t really straighten if there’s any kind of moisture in the air either. Is there really a difference in straight frizz vs. curly frizz? Not really. :-)

  5. David says:

    I’ve started using Ouidad products (available at Sephora) and my curls don’t get frizzy anymore. You might want to give them a try!

  6. Rena Graham says:

    Women like to style, color, or put their hair into all kinds of treatment even in a bad weather. well, just girls! I just wonder it could lead to hair damage?

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