The Real Reason Your Hair Hates Humidity

Turns out it has a love-hate relationship with water.

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There are many great things about summer, but frizzy hair is not one of them. But what exactly is it about those steamy, humid days that gets your locks in a tizzy?

As you can guess, the water in the air is to blame for kicking off the reaction that makes straight hair wavy, wavy hair curly, and curly hair kinkier. Here’s what happens:

Each strand of your hair is made up of long keratin proteins, reports Smithsonian Magazine. Those proteins are attracted to hydrogen in water molecules and form hydrogen bonds. These bonds are weak and temporary and are broken and reformed every time your hair gets wet—that’s one of the reasons you have to restyle your hair after every wash.

As amazing as your hair may be, it can’t tell the difference between water from your faucet and water in the atmosphere. On a humid day, when there’s a lot of water in the air, those keratin proteins form these same hydrogen bonds; sometimes two keratin proteins go after the same water molecule which causes them to bond together. Sounds like trouble for you tresses? It is. When many of these hydrogen bonds are formed, strands of hair can fold back on themselves, resulting in…frizz.

Luckily, there are ways you can prevent frizz, starting with hair products that seal its cuticle so water can’t get in. These include serums and oils that you apply to damp hair like Oribe Curl Gloss, which does wonders for naturally wavy and curly hair. “It seals the cuticle so you get shiny, frizz-free natural waves that feel soft and look polished,” explains Adam Livermore, Oribe educator.

Another option is to spritz on an anti-humidity spray to dry locks before heading outdoors. Oribe Imperméable Anti-Humidity Spray contains copolymers to create a physical bond between adjacent strands. When you spray this on your hair, the droplets hold strands in place and provide protection from physical disruption (here’s looking at you wind, sun, and rain) that might add frizz to your mane.

For on-the-go frizz protection, try Nunzio Saviano Anti-Frizz Sheets. Nunzio Saviano, owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in the Upper East Side, explains that when hair is exposed to the sun it becomes dehydrated. When hair is dehydrated it becomes more prone to breakage and frizz. The key is to keep your hair healthy and moisturized, which is why these sheets contain coconut oil and UV protection. Gently swipe these sheets from roots to end and watch frizz disappear—they work equally well for taming winter flyaways and static. Plus, they’re individually packaged so they won’t dry out or seep into your purse.

Want more help? Read on for the secret weapons you need to fight summer frizz.

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