Frizz And Humidity- If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

You know that meme with the super fuzzy rabbit making fun of the electrifying effects of humidity on hair?  You know- Is it humid today?

Well, I hate to be that girl, but it’s a real thing, and you really haven’t experienced humidity until you’ve lived in the MidWest.  Or at least somewhere other than Southern California.  I’ve described California dry heat as ‘blistering’.  And make no mistake- it is.  But I would describe Illinois humid heat as oppressive.  It is a different animal, and it wants to lick you in the face.

You see the grey, cloudy sky outside in August and it fools you.  Boy, does it fool you.  The temperature reads something like 78 but you then look at the “feels like”- more around 90.  You step outside and you feel like a warm, wet dog has jumped on your back.  Or like you’ve just walked into a mouth.  You feel the urge to take a really, really long nap and your sentences suddenly go incoherent.  Someone described walking outside in Midwestern humidity as “like trying to walk between the slices of your peanut butter sandwich”.  Might be true.

But the hair.  Oh, the hair.  And irony of ironies, that I would choose this year to commit to bangs.  Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve met a single soul out here that also has bangs.  Except for maybe the five year old boy with the bowl-cut-of-no-choice or the little girl with bangs that make her look like Matilda.  It’s just me and the kindergarteners, because no grown woman would dare make the witless decision to cut bangs in weather that at times feels like trying to backstroke through butter.  Bangs in humidity, when you’ve initially straightened or blown them out, seem to devolve within two minutes into one giant, self-inflicted cowlick that look like some awkward bird’s wing sticking out of your forehead.

But there are ways, believe it or not, of gaining back a sense of power and control over one’s hair in humidity.  It’s not a set of fancy tricks, it doesn’t mean cutting all your hair off (though that is a solution), and it’s actually more of a practice in paradox than anything.

The secret to gaining control over hair in humidity is letting go.

Let. It. Go.

And I’d cue Elsa, but her climate is entirely inappropriate for our topic of discussion, so ignore the frosty connotations.

I woke up this morning knowing that it was a hair wash day for me (about every three days).  However, I knew I’d have no time to dry it, and what on Earth would become of it once I stepped out into God’s Armpit?!?  I had no time, but the wash had to happen.  I actually packed my hair dryer and my straightener with me to bring to work, thinking I’d fix things once I got there or at least blow out my bangs (ha!).  Again, no time.  Got to work, got started with work right away.  The only precaution I took were a few spritzes of Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Infusion on my wet hair before leaving.  I also had neither the time or attention span to think of touching my hair once I got to work either.  I just kept flipping it from side to side, without touching it or my bangs, hoping for the best.

And you know what?  Here’s what I got:

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Not too bad, eh?  A deep, messy side part along with haphazard bangs also tossed to the side didn’t turn out half as poorly as I’d expected.  Now, some of you are probably rolling your eyes saying, “Oh, my hair would never dry that way”.  Well, keep in mind that this is where humidity actually helps.  Humidity helps bring out wave and curl.  And adding a product with some oils in it like the Surf Infusion will add definition to that wave or curl, and will also help to control some of the frizzies (though obviously not all).  But, if you’re in dry heat, I can’t say your hair will dry this way because there probably won’t be enough moisture in the air to bring out good wave/curl.

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This oil-infused Surf Infusion is also better for my hair because typical salt sprays tend to really dry mine out, and it’s dry to begin with.  This spray feels extra hydrating without sacrificing the beachy effects.

So again, if you have hair that’s prone to frizz, I think one of the easiest ways to get frustrated with it in humid weather is by fighting that frizz.  It’s honestly better to just roll with it.  And don’t fight volume, either!  Go ahead and flip your hair upside down and shake it out for the most volume you can get (so long as it’s already dry- avoid touching it at all while it’s still wet).  Anytime I’ve tried to keep my hair remotely straight or smooth out here in the summer, it’s turned into a battle where I’m constantly touching it and constantly wanting to reapply something like Alterna Caviar’s CC Cream to keep things at bay.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So all this to say, just stop fighting it.  Besides, who doesn’t look okay with big hair?  I mean seriously!  Big, voluminous, crazy hair has always been fun, has always been je ne sais quois, and has always been associated with Beyonce.  Or Diana Ross.  Or someone else awesome that seems to be having a good time in life.  Just go with it.  xo, MR

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Tools For Keeping Your Hair In Control When You Aren’t

Coming to both understand and know how to properly work with one’s own hair is a lifelong journey.  We pour through blogs (no irony there), scour through magazines, ask all our friends, experiment with myriads of product, and stare into the mirror for probably what amounts to weeks of time on Earth just trying to get a grip on what it takes to make our hair look consistently great.  There are the rare awesome hair days that we manage to pull off without help of a stylist, but for the most part, our hair is just kind of … there.

Maybe you’re one of those folks that insists on every day being a great hair day, and so you wake up earlier, or go to bed later, bust out the heat tools on a daily basis, take time to actually blow out your hair once it’s washed … but that’s not everyone.  If the aforementioned describes you, I sincerely admire you.  I mean it.  Not in that fake, condescending Well I just don’t have the time for that way (because I probably do have the time, if we’re honest)… I genuinely admire you.  And my side-eye is probably just me being jealous of you.

But for those of us whose biceps start whining at the very thought of blowing out our hair, for those of us who wake up and feel like your hair needs a complete do-over if you’re going to actually style it with intention, for those of us that lack the daily discipline, for those of us who can’t wait for the curling iron to heat up- I give you my list of the most helpful hair tools for when laziness strikes.  And all are meant for unwashed hair.

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A boar bristle brush

When my hair has become greasy and I have to go out before I get the chance to wash, I find it helpful to embrace the oils and brush my hair thoroughly with this sturdy brush.  It distributes the oils evenly through my hair and smooths things out.  This usually works best when my hair has gone flat at the roots and lost any wave or curl.  It also adds fluff to the body of my hair so that I can pull it back in a full ponytail or a voluminous bun.  You don’t want to brush with something wimpy on second or third-day hair; a plastic bristled brush or something less dense won’t control the oil as well.

A combo of sea salt spray and dry shampoo

In my case, I prefer Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Infusion spray that contains hydrating oils in it along with the salt mixture, because salt sprays can really dry out my hair.  The Surf Infusion brings texture, volume, and some curl or wave back into the lengths of my hair without making it feel like a sticky pile of hay with tacky glue all over it (as is the case with some texture products).  If I add a little Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo to my crown along with that, I’m usually in fighting shape for another day.

A black elastic headband and some bobby pins

These usually end up being the tools for my hair during the final day before a wash.  I also default to this style when I just want my bangs out of my face.  I pull my hair up in a high bun, try to “neaten” it by pinning down the pieces poking out with bobby pins, and pin any bits falling out as well as my bangs.  Adding the black headband can give it a sporty vibe or something a little more ballerina inspired if the band is maybe a satin ribbon, and if the bun is elegant enough.  Be sure to push the band forward enough and see that it’s not too thing; otherwise, you end up looking more like a high school soccer player.  I’ve been trying to see what I can add to make this look more intentional rather than haphazard; its very easy for a quick bun to look haphazard in my case.  If my bangs are in good shape, they can really take a bun to the next level, as bangs can give a bun that extra “fashion blogger” feel.

On some days, if the lengths of my hair are doing okay, I’ll just pin back my bangs with two bobby pins in an “X”.  A little dry shampoo in the roots and that pretty much settles things.

A shot of cold air with a blowdryer or a spritz of water

Sometimes, the best answers are the simple ones.  Running over your hair with a blowdryer can do different things on different days.  For me, sometimes it volumizes it, brings back texture, adds shine, etc.  Other days, it doesn’t really do anything.  I’m not one for claiming my advice is foolproof; things just don’t always work on everyone’s hair, everyday.  The same goes for water.  On occasion, just spraying my lengths with water has done amazing things.  It’s brought back wave or tamed frizz in certain areas when it’s dry out; other days, my hair dries and looks just as it did before.  My point is, sometimes you just give different solutions a shot and see what happens before resorting to pinning it up.

Any other ideas you have to offer?  I always hear about the braiding solution, but as I’ve mentioned before, that’s something I can rarely do without needing a third or fourth arm.  Anyhow, I’m an open book, so give me your tips!  xo, MR

How To: Seriously Beachin’ Waves

Loose, shine-free, textured waves are my favorite kind of hairstyle.  It’s fairly easy to replicate the look on myself because my hair has some natural wave to it, so the bias is obvious.  However, I do love the different which-ways you can make waves go, and I like their easy, laid-back feel.  My friends will tell you that one of the ways I express friendship is by “waving” your hair- I’m not kidding.  It’s the most relaxing process for me.  And just the word “wave” evokes peaceful memories of the ocean, and being a California girl, that’s never a bad thing.  Although, authentic “beach waves” with a bit too much salt going on can get a little crusty if we’re honest.  There’s a difference between looking like you spent a weekend at Laguna Beach or a year on an island with Tom Hanks in a loincloth.

When I create my own waves, I go by a couple tried-and-true tips so they don’t look too neat, but I do want to make sure they have plenty of body.  If you have curly hair, the general method is to blow your hair out straight first and then create the waves, but that’s a lot of heat and effort so I understand if you bypass this how-to with an annoyed eyeroll.  I’d encourage you to still give it a shot though, when you’ve got extra time just for fun!  If you have stick-straight hair, this may still work but you will probably want to crank the heat on your curling rod and a good dose of hairspray won’t hurt, either.  Regardless, see if this works for you too.  I love straightening my hair when I have time, though it’s a different kind of vibe with bangs.  Making my hair extra curly is the hardest for me, but it’s been really fun the few times I’ve executed it well.  Waves are just the easiest for my hair type, and here’s what I do to get them.

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Step 1:  Freshly washed hair works best, because you can rough dry it and give it serious volume.  I’ll wash and condition my hair, comb it through with a wide-tooth comb and a few sprays of Unite’s 7-Second Conditioner, and give it some time to air dry.  This allows at least a little natural texture to come through, which is good.  If I’m doing my makeup, I try to take this time to apply moisturizer and get my face makeup on while my bangs are still pulled back.  Once my bangs are dry and styled, it’s hard to do my makeup without messing up my bangs.

Step 2:  After my hair has had a little time to dry (think like, 60% dry), I’ll use a blowdryer to rough dry it the rest of the way.  No brush required (except for the bangs, just a little bit)!  I’ll flip my head upside down and all that, and just kind of go at it until it’s dry.  You don’t want to lay a heat tool to it while it’s still damp at all, or you’ll basically boil your hair.  After it’s dry, I spray some more heat protectant on it and let that settle for a minute.

Step 3:  I wave my hair in three sections- bottom, middle, and top.  I’ll use a clip to keep the upper sections of my hair out of the way as I go.  Using the Hot Tools 1.25′ curling iron, I’ll take small chunks of hair (probably 1-inch sections) and wrap them around the iron.  The key is to not use the clamp; just wrap the hair around the iron and hold it there for a couple seconds.  When you wrap the hair, don’t wind it tightly around the iron; think more of a languid, ribbon-around-the-Maypole kind of wrap as opposed to tightly winding thread around a little spool.  You want these waves to be loose and lazy.  Also, I try to not wrap hair in the same direction every time.  I try alternate between wrapping forwards and backwards, although if you wrap in all one direction I actually don’t think it turns out that bad.  Another thing- I leave the ends out!  That’s a big part of the beachy feel; don’t wrap about the last inch of hair around the iron.

Now, I suppose you could just use a curling rod for this whole process, but the results with a rod are almost a bit too precious from my experience.  The best rod I know of is the Sarah Potempa BeachWaver, but Hot Tools costs a fraction of the price and they yield the same results in my opinion.

Step 4:  Time to apply texture product!  As you curl each section from bottom to top (and by curl, I really mean wave), liberally mist a dry texture spray all over the waves you’ve created.  I like Bumble and Bumble’s Thickening Dryspun Finish and Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray.  Spray it into the roots and, as you go through each section, flip your head upside down and shake out your waves with your hands.  Additionally, take another texturizing product that isn’t dry, like Living Proof’s Instant Texture Mist, and apply it to the ends.  I spray some of this into my hands (because it can be sticky) and scrunch it into the midlengths and ends.  I love the effect of this particular product; it gives a piecey-ness to the look.  You can also try a wet sea spray like Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Infusion like I did this time; it has moisturizing oils in it so it not only gives that beach effect to my ends but it also moisturizes them, which is nice after all the heat styling.  And it has just enough sea salt in it to not be too drying.

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A lot of people also like to add a mousse or some other volumizing product before they begin rough drying, but my personal experience has been that applying stylers after drying my hair is the most effective.  I get plenty of volume with a dry texture spray, but if you have success with a product applied to wet hair, by all means go for it.

The nice thing about this style is that it tends to hold up pretty well the next day.  You can always go back over sections with the curling iron again, too.  And dry texture spray also functions as a dry shampoo; that stuff is seriously the gift that keeps on giving and is by far my favorite hair innovation of the past five years.

Let me know if you try this or these products, and tag me in your pictures if you do!  xo, MR