Friday, July 19, 2013

High Humidity Hair


'Tis the season of hair complaints.  Wavy hair turns curly, curly hair curls tighter, and straight hair does strange things.  Many women hate their hair about now and rate it as a major curse of summer, along with sweat stains, shiny noses and sleepless nights.

Some hide their hair under scarves tied with fancy knots, though that must make them terribly hot, since it prevents body heat from escaping through the scalp.

Others slather on anti-frizz gels and conditioners, which work only as long as the wearer stays in an air-conditioned environment.

My hair is highly responsive to humidity, and I used to think that its unruliness was as good an indication of the level of water vapor in the air as the hygrometer that hangs on our kitchen wall, and which, as I write, reads 48% humidity (and 82F).

It turns out that human hair can function as a hygrometer, and you can learn why this is so and how to make a hygrometer of your very own here:  http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4678953_hair-hygrometer-work.html

In my attempts to deal with summer hair, I have gone the products route, which works for me only if I apply so much that my hair looks as if it has been weighted down with lard.  I haven't tried the headscarf solution because the very thought of it makes me break into (an even worse) sweat.

My proposed solution is to declare a moratorium on summer hair.  After all, who says that frizzy hair is bad?  Why should all women, regardless of their genetic endowment, go around with Asian-straight hair in all weathers?  Frizzy, rebellious hair looks exuberant, energetic and alive, like the tendrils of the bittersweet vine.  It's time to let go of media-induced prejudices and wear our wayward waves and out-of-control curls with pride.

Our crazy summer hair is physical evidence of our inescapable link to Nature. The plant world glories in humidity,  absorbs it, expands, and luxuriates in it.  That's what our hair wants to do, too, and I think we should let it.



13 comments :

  1. hmmmm. as one with hair that frizzes even in the dryest of climates, i have to say that high humidity makes me look more like a poodle, or possibly berber carpeting, than it does tendrils of anything. i go the ponytail route; that is, try to make it as inconspicuous as possible.

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  2. Berber carpeting, lol! From what I see in your pictures, you have terrific hair, Laurie. Not to trivialize her beautiful poetry, but have you seen Marie Howe's hair? http://www.onbeing.org/program/the-poetry-of-ordinary-time-with-marie-howe/5301

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    1. she has a LOT of hair. and sometimes it's curly and sometimes not. i could never spend the amount of time it would require to get my hair not curly.

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    2. Maybe that's why she's a poet instead of a novelist.

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  3. My hair frizzes all the time but the only thing that has worked is argan oil thank goodness. I use the pro naturals brand and braid my hair with some in.

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  4. I have short, straight hair and the only thing I have a problem with, is that my scalp sweats and makes my hair limp. I have to wash it often in order to look fresh. I think having curly tendrils would be super feminine, but I have never had the chance to experience it.

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  5. As my then 10 year old daughter responded when we tried to explain what a philosophy professor teaches, "let's talk about hair" :-)

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  6. My haircut last Wednesday was such a blessing, I can't tell you. It's still frizzy, but there's so much less to friz!

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  7. In contrast to those who dislike what the humidity does to their hair, I actually LIKE the effect of humidity on my short, fine, mostly straight hair. It gives me a nice wave and extra body, with no extra work on my part! :-) In fact, Lali, based on your photo, I'm guessing that if you cut your hair a little shorter and let it "do its thing" in the humidity, you would be surprised in a good way! (And if not, well . . . it will grow back ;-) )

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  8. That's the great thing about hair--unlike other things in life, it recovers from the damage we inflict on it.

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  9. did you want advice? here's some (like a magazine): try putting coconut oil in your hair before you shower, and then wash it out with shampoo. It acts like conditioner.

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  10. Wow--do you do this? I have some coconut oil...

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