by stylist Mark Garrison
The weather forecast: Hot, humid, chance of rain...in other words, catastrophic hair conditions. Be it curly or straight, thick or thin, humid weather has a stormy effect on all hair types.
Heat and humidity have a "truth serum" effect on hair which makes it hard to maintain a style in certain weather conditions. Whatever your hair's natural texture and tendencies, it will reveal itself in balmy weather. This is the result of the moisture in the air coming in contact with hair's hydrogen bonds -- the bonds which hold curly hair smooth when blown straight, and straight hair curly when set.
Hot Tips to Beat the Heat
When it comes to achieving good hair on bad days, my tactic is "Don't fight it." Going with hair's natural texture is the best strategy. By using styling aids that not only help manage unruly locks but also condition hair, a traditional "bad hair day" can be transformed into a luxurious spa treatment for the hair. Try:
* Use a clarifying shampoo or rinse (try diluted apple cider vinegar -- 4 oz. to one quart of water) to dissolve any buildup on hair and scalp which could repel moisture and block its nourishing effects.
* Apply to wet hair a mixture of leave-in conditioner and a gel (try a mixture of 3/4 part gel to 1 part conditioner). Test mixture first to be sure the conditioner and gel dissolve into each other and do not bead. Do a test strand to make sure it doesn't flake after drying. Either finger-set curls into place, or smooth hair back into a braid or bun.
* Dry hair can be saturated with a conditioning essential oil, for a super-spa hair day (try Philip B. Rejuvenating Oil). Oil should be applied to dry hair and combed through with a fine-tooth comb. Essential oils can be left in hair for as little as 20 minutes or as long as 24 hours for an intensive conditioning treatment. Once oil is applied to hair, pull hair back into a bun for a sleek look.
Weather Warriors: Styling Aids That Save the Day
Here's how the most widely used styling aids weather the elements:
Pomade -- Combats dry, frizzy, fluffy hair by providing weight. Apply to dry hair. Pomade is designed for all hair types. It's available in different consistencies; use a stiffer formula on fine hair, a creamier one for coarse hair.
Gel -- Repels moisture and is ideal for slicking hair back, braids, and for curly hair. Apply to wet hair. Do a test run to make sure the product you choose does not flake. Mix with a styling cream or pomade to soften the texture and avoid a hard hold.
Silicone Spray -- Like gel, it repels moisture. It also provides a shield and shine for all hair types. Apply to dry hair. Avoid applying to roots on thin, fine hair. Apply and comb through curly hair before natural styling, then reapply after hair is dry.
Mousse -- Mousse holds moisture for curly styles, and helps set straight hair. Apply it to wet hair.
Cream -- It holds in moisture and is ideal for creating a textured look of separated pieces. Cream typically doubles as a styling product and leave-in conditioner. Use sparingly. Start on the ends of hair then work up the hair shaft, unless hair is very dry and thick.
For more information on Mark Garrison and his New York City salon, go to Markgarrisonsalon.com.