Humidity - the bane of the good hair day, the ruin of silky tresses, the external force of ambient moisture intent on fluffing up a perfectly flat cuticle into a bloated strand of Velcro.
The fight against humidity and its effect on our hair is really a fight against porosity. Humidity is a force of nature, beyond our control. Humidity is going nowhere. Porosity, on the other hand, thats something we can take to task and do at least a half good job of it too.
Porosity describes our hair’s ability to take up moisture, and humidity is just moisture after all. Hair is a natural fibre, different but also similar to other natural fibres like linen and cotton and silk.
When it comes to hair, porosity varies for each hair type. Straight hair types for example have a densely packed cuticle that forms a strong shield against humidity – it almost always looks silky and healthy. Curly and wavy hair don’t fare as well in humid weather because the cuticle for these hair types tends to be slightly raised and less densely formed.
Porosity really cranks up when hair is coloured or treated to repeated sessions with a heated tool like a blow-dryer or curling tong. We’re essentially talking about damage. Chemicals and heat blow holes in the hair’s cuticle, the more holes there are – the greater the effects of humidity, like a kitchen sponge sucking up a spilt glass of chardonnay.
Treating porosity is the first step in the battle against humidity. Offset damage caused by heat styling and colour treatments with repairing hair products.
Step two – fill in the holes. Use leave-in hair treatments to target damaged areas, restructure the broken hair fibre, and fortify the cuticle.
Prevent further damage with a good heat protector, they are not some kind of snake oil, heat protectors really work.
And finally, layer on a humidity blocker. The function of a humidity blocker is to seal off the cuticle with an ultra-fine layer of resistance, repelling moisture from the hair in the same way scotch guard works for your expensive off-white sectional lounge suite.