If you have curly hair you have probably heard about dew points at one time or another, if you are completely confused by it, this post is for you. If you have straight hair that has a frizz problem, this post will help you. If you have that gray hair frizz you never had with dyed hair, keep reading.
Weather changes everything. Right?! Temperature. Humidity. Dew points. Not just outside but inside too. We adjust our thermostats, how many blankets we have on the bed, change into our favorite slippers for summer or winter.
Table of Contents:
- Do you change your haircare when the weather changes?
- How do you know when to shift your haircare for the season?
- Following Dew Points for Great Hair Days:
- Dew Point Chart for Haircare
- Dew point helps us predict how comfortable we will feel when outside:
- What does dew point mean for hair though?
- Glycerin the what, how, why, when, who, and where of it:
- When Porosity Matters:
- Different Types of Frizz:
- Seasonal Haircare Tips
- Combat Frizz with Your Weather App!
- Frizz and Hello SEEN:
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But do you change your haircare when the weather changes?
I do. When winter comes, running heaters in the house makes my hair thirsty and needy of extra hydration. I live in the extreme environment of the high desert of New Mexico; this means the winters can be dry (especially indoors), windy, and cold. Spring is extremely windy and dry. Summer can be very hot and swing from bone-dry 9% humidity to a muggy 60% humidity in just an afternoon. A few days later, it can be 95° with very low humidity.
Seasonal shifts will change your straight or curly hair, no matter where you live: from the swampy coastal humidity and heat, to the extremes of the northern hemisphere’s cold, or the desert extremes from winter to summer in one day. You may not have realized it was the weather changes but our hair needs different treatment depending on some of these variables.
How do you know when to shift your haircare for the season?
- Is your hair suddenly not cooperating?
- Is your hair frizzy or fluffy?
- Does it feel dry?
- Has your curl drooped?
These are your hair’s indicators that something has changed.
Following Dew Points for Great Hair Days:
Dew point can make all the difference in your product line up in summer vs winter. Following the dew points could be all you need to achieve better hair days every day.
The dew point is the temperature that air needs to be cooled to in order to create precipitation (condensation, dew, fog, rain).
The higher the dew point the higher the amount of moisture in the air. When the degrees of dew point and the air temperature meet, the air cannot hold the water vapor anymore and the vapor turns to liquid.
Warm air holds more water than cold air so in the heat of the summer when the dew point is high the muggier it feels outside. In the cold of winter, the dew point generally stays below 55°, which means there isn’t that much moisture in the air, and the dryer it feels.
Are you confused yet? So was I, so I made this little chart:
Each cylinder represents AIR, the larger cylinder is warm air, and the smallest cylinder is representing cold air. While they all contain 50% humidity, because warm air can hold more moisture, at 50% it is a much higher dew point.
Think of the cold air as a shot glass and the hot air as a gallon bucket. If they both contain 50% water, they still don’t hold the same amount of water. The shot glass contains only ¾ of an ounce of water and the bucket contains ½ a gallon of water. With that in mind, you can see why 50% humidity can feel vastly different depending on the temperature.
This is why dew point is more important to how your hair behaves than humidity alone.
Dew point helps us predict how comfortable we will feel when outside:
High dew point means higher moisture, low dew point means lower moisture.
- Dew point below 45° will feel dry to your skin and hair
- Dew point between 45° to 60° should feel dry and comfortable to your skin and hair
- Dew point over 65° your skin will feel damp and sticky
- Dew point over 70° the dew point is considered stifling
What does dew point mean for hair though?
The hair is made up of around 65% to 95% keratin. Keratin is very thirsty; it can absorb 40% of its weight in water. If you don’t help mitigate this search for water in dry weather or seal the hair from excess moisture in high dew points you’re looking at bad hair days and frizz.
When the dew point is low, you need moisture.
When the dew point is moderate, you need a balance between moisture and hold.
When the dew point is high, you need hold.
Glycerin the what, how, why, when, who, and where of it:
Glycerin gets a bad rap in the curly community, and for good reason, I myself have glycerin sensitive hair. However, glycerin isn’t a bad thing; it can be really good for your hair.
What is glycerin?
It is a powerful humectant; a humectant provides moisture balance for your hair. Glycerin is widely used in haircare for this reason.
How do you know if it is in your products?
The ingredients will include vegetable glycerin or glycerin.
Why does glycerin get a bad rap?
It is very reactive to the environment, glycerin is like an antenna for moisture, and it searches for it in the air. The trouble comes when it doesn’t find it in the air; it looks for it in your hair.
Note: all humectants can be problematic in extreme dew points, you can see them in this ingredient list.
When is glycerin good or bad?
- Below ~45° dew points, glycerin can steal moisture from your hair, creating dry frizz.
- Dew points between ~45° to 60°, it will behave well with the balance of moisture in the air and the hair.
- Dew points over ~65°, it will seek moisture from the air and pull too much into your hair making the hair shaft swell with water resulting in poufy frizz.
Who has trouble with glycerin?
That’s a little harder to answer, it may have to do with your porosity (discussed in the next section), it might have to do with where you live, or the texture of your hair.
For instance, I have fine and low porosity hair, I live in the desert, and that glycerin just gets a little hyperactive in my hair.
If you live in a very hot and humid place like Florida, you might want to avoid glycerin completely.
There is no magic answer here, except if you have frizz ALL. THE. TIME. no matter the dew point, it might be glycerin in your products.
Where is glycerin in the products?
The most beneficial way I have found to deal with glycerin is not to avoid it entirely; instead, I pay attention to where it is in the ingredients list and where it goes on my hair in my product routine.
- If the glycerin is in your shampoo or conditioner, no worries, as you will rinse it out.
- If the glycerin is in the top six ingredients of any leave-in product this might cause issue if your hair is sensitive to it.
- If the glycerin is past the 6th ingredient in your leave-in product you are likely not going to notice it at all.
- If you live in one of the low dew point zones or the high dew point zones, do not allow glycerin in your hold products. It will usually be okay layered under the hold product because the hold product seals in the moisture in your hair and seals out the moisture in the air.
When Porosity Matters:
Your hair likes moisture and weather can be a huge influence depending your hair porosity level.
If you have higher porosity hair, you tend to lose moisture rapidly because the outer layer of the cuticle is not as tight as hair with a lower porosity. Humidity and heat will give high porosity hair frizz if you don’t seal in the moisture your hair wants and seal out the moisture it doesn’t want.
While low porosity hair also frizzes in humidity it can be for very different reasons: it can be improper hold, too lightweight of products, too heavy on the glycerin, or any combination of these.
If you would like to learn more about hair porosity, this Ultimate Guide on Porosity will fill you in, I also provide printable haircare guides depending on your porosity.
Different Types of Frizz:
It is said, frizz is a curl waiting to happen. I don’t think this is true. While curly hair is certainly more prone to frizz, if you have straight silver hair, you know frizz happens regardless. You may have noticed just ditching the dye caused you to experience the silver frizz even on straight hair.
This is what some people call functional frizz; it is a normal amount of frizz that helps create volume in wavy and curly hair. I don’t see this as needing to be fixed or changed.
Frizz caused by improperly balanced hair and benefits from more moisturizing products. When properly moisturized and protected it may turn to waves or curls. This can also be caused by the wrong products in your hair like glycerin or proteins.
This is likely the frizz you will be fighting in high dew points. Think Monica in Barbados.
This frizz looks a little bit like a halo around the top of your head; usually it is baby hair. Many silver sisters experience this at the start of transition. Halo frizz can be new growth from ditching the dye, or like my fine wavy hair, that is just the way it is. If it bothers you, halo frizz can be managed with a styling crème or a small amount of a pure oil just lightly smoothed over the canopy (the outer layer of the hair).
This frizz happens when your hair is wet. Also known as flash drying, which is usually a rapid (flash) drying of your hair possibly while you are still in the shower and you have just applied a product to wet hair. It is usually a reaction to a combination of ingredients or products in curly hair. I get this frizz when using high protein and high glycerin, (as seen in the photo) my hair is damp but the frizz is drying faster and separately.
Seasonal Haircare Tips:
In any season, cutting back on washing will always help. Washing strips the hair of moisture with the surfactants (soap) and you use friction to cleanse, which can create frizz all on its own.
Wash Tip: shampoo only your scalp, scrub your scalp with fingertips or a shampoo brush, let the bubbles fall down the hair shaft, but don’t “scrub” the ends of your hair. The ends are more susceptible to frizz because it is older dryer hair. Let it retain the moisture. Only shampoo all of your hair when you are clarifying. If you need to wash your hair daily, use a sulfate free shampoo.
Moisturize and protect correctly for the season:
Dry Dew Points Below 45°:
- You want to protect your hair from dehydration.
- You will want to moisturize with a good emollient (oils and butters) rich conditioner.
- Use a leave-in conditioner.
- Maybe use less hold; you might even get away with no hold products.
- Deep condition regularly.
Moderate Dew Points Between 45° to 60°:
- Your hair is probably happy here, because the air and your hair have similar levels of moisture.
- Your product usage should be balanced.
- Use a light leave-in if needed.
- You want balanced products that aren’t too much of any one good thing.
- Glycerin is generally friendly here.
- Moderate hold to keep the moisture balance is ideal.
- Good hair days are easy to come by.
High Dew Points Over 65°:
- Your hair may get puffy and frizzy and can feel unmanageable.
- You will want less moisture in your haircare, and more hold.
- You may not need a leave-in at all, but find a styling cream is helpful.
- Glycerin-free hard hold gel will provide control and help protect the style longer.
- Heavier emollients (butters) may feel better for higher porosity or high-density hair. They will help seal your hair and add some weight to prevent the poufy hair.
Very High Dew Points Over 70°:
- You should stay inside in air conditioning with your hair up (LOL), but seriously…
- Use a good glycerin-free hard hold gel to help seal your strands.
- Heavier emollients (butters) may feel better for higher porosity or high-density hair. They will help seal your hair and add some weight to prevent the poufy hair.
Easy way to remember:
- High dew point = high hold…less conditioner and leave-in.
- Low dew point = low hold…more conditioner and leave-in.
Use a microfiber towel (the Perfect Haircare towel has no loops and is smooth like silk) to decrease your dry time, whether you choose heat drying or air-drying.
Do not rub your hair with the towel, this friction can actually damage the cuticle, raise your porosity, and cause breakage and frizz.
Turban-wrap or plop your hair as long as you can before drying. This will help absorb the majority of the water in your hair so your dying method doesn’t take as long. Prolonged wet time, can also cause breakage because the hair is stretched to the max while wet.
Keep in mind, blow drying damages hair in several ways, the heat, the friction, and the brushing if you blow it out.
- Always use some form of heat protection.
- Keep the heat moving.
- Use the lowest setting possible to avoid heat damage.
If your hair takes a long time to dry, winter can double that time, so make sure your hair isn’t staying wet for excessive amounts of time. Try low heat diffusing, sitting in front of a fireplace (not too close), or even the heater in your car.
Air-drying doesn’t necessarily come free from damage; one study showed that it could cause damage BELOW the cuticle. The reason was unclear but I would imagine it is somewhat like wood getting a sweat ring from a glass, once the wood is damaged from the excess water, there is little to be done about the ring. This information prompted me to start drying my hair in the winter, to help it from being wet for an excessively long time. In the summer, I don’t need to heat dry it unless the dew point is high.
Silk Pillowcases and Frizz:
Silk Pillowcases prevent frizz because the silk thread has no hooks or loops in it, as cotton does, so it doesn’t catch the hair or cause friction. Silk does not absorb moisture the same way cotton does, cotton holds moisture and silk wicks it away creating a moisture balance in your skin and hair. Which is great for your skin and your hair in all seasons. It has also been proven to help prevent tangles, split ends, and hair loss. Silk stays cool in summer and warm in winter, satin tends to get hot and stay hot no matter what time of year.
You can also look for hair products with silk proteins in the formula to prevent frizz and add strength to your hair.
A humidifier is a great tool in dryer climates, or winter when you are running a heater indoors. Placing a humidifier close to the head of your bed will expose your hair to much needed moisture for that 7-9 hours you are sleeping.
Drinking water will also help hydrate your hair follicle from the inside out. Make sure you stay hydrated.
Combat Frizz with Your Weather App!
You can use most weather apps to look up your dew point. I have now made this a habit on washday, and I can say without a doubt it has improved my silver curls and made for more consistent good hair days.
If you suddenly start having problems with your products, check your dew points. It might be time to shift a little. If you hate a product in one season, save it for the next season and try it again.
You might want to mark the products your hair loves per season, so you don’t forget what works when.
Frizz and Hello SEEN:
Finally a note about Hello SEEN haircare products…they are clinically proven to reduce frizz with regular use, “SEEN is proven to reduce frizz by 74% when used as a regimen—and a 65% reduction in frizz is still visible eight hours later.” I highly encourage you to give them a one or two month trial run. I personally, know they helped with my frizz issues especially in the winter months; check out my full honest review of the products to see what SEEN did for me and my husband.
I hope you found this post educational and helpful.
Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share.
As always it is about so much more than the hair.
- US Department of Commerce, NOAA. “Dew Point vs Humidity.” National Weather Service, NOAA’s National Weather Service, 26 Jan. 2021, https://www.weather.gov/arx/why_dewpoint_vs_humidity.
- Velasco, Maria Valéria Robles, et al. “Hair Fiber Characteristics and Methods to Evaluate Hair Physical and Mechanical Properties.” Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universidade De São Paulo, Faculdade De Ciências Farmacêuticas, 1 Mar. 2009, https://www.scielo.br/j/bjps/a/XZrwDJrKKXh4Q3JwswHJ4vq/.
- Taylor, Tiffany Anderson. “Chapter 2: Weather.” Live Curly, Live Free: Unlocking the Secrets behind the World of Beautiful Curly Hair, United States, 2015.
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