There are certain people graced by the hair gods who will never have to deal with the horror that is spending an hour perfecting your locks only to walk outside and instantly turn into a giant frizzball. If you're one of those lucky people, click away. The rest of you, read on.
After battling the Florida heat for years, Sheenon Olson, celebrity hair stylist and founder of Atma Beauty salon in Miami Beach, has humidity wrapped around his little finger. It all has to do with the hair cuticle, aka the outermost part of a strand of hair. The cuticle is kind of like a roof: Cells arranged like shingles protect the rest of the hair shaft from the elements. If there's too much of a gap between the shingles, the hair is less protected.
"Those people who never have a problem with humidity probably have a really tight cuticle. It doesn't affect them quite the same," Olson says. "But curly-haired people, on the other hand, are going to have a much more difficult time because the cuticle is always open a little bit. So if you have curly hair, you have everything going against you."
No matter what type of hair you're rocking, try these tips to combat the sticky weather this summer.
1. Lower your hair's pH level.
Cue in the science! If you really want to beat frizz, you have to pay attention to your hair's pH balance. A 2014 review of studies confirmed that a higher pH causes more friction and damages the hair cuticle, which leads to more frizz.
"Use something that closes the cuticle down. The more damaged your hair is, the more humidity is actually going to affect your hair," Olson says. "Using something like Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 ($23, amazon.com) to strengthen your hair lowers the pH level. It closes the cuticle down and makes it harder for moisture to come in and out of the hair follicle, which is what's going to cause it to frizz."
2. Use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner.
It might sound weird, but the key to beating frizz isn't taking out the moisture — it's putting it back in.
"Use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner when you wash your hair. This is going to help you get less frizz," he says. "The drier the hair or the more processed your hair is, the more frizz will occur."
Olson recommends using a shampoo and conditioner with a low pH, so look for something that's phosphate- and paraben-free.
3. Invest in a nice water filter for your shower.
Need an excuse to get a fancy schmancy shower head? Here it is!
"If the water is too alkaline [high pH level], you're causing the cuticle to expand and open, making it easier for your hair to frizz when it sucks in moisture," Olson says. "Even if you're using Olaplex but you're washing with really alkaline water, it's kind of counteracting itself."
4. Style your hair correctly.
One of Olson's favorite products is Oribe's Soft Lacquer Heat Styling Spray ($34, amazon.com), which also just so happens to be a must-have of pretty much everyone in Hollywood.
"If you don't use it right, it's a nightmare and can turn your hair into a sticky, gummy mess. But if you use it properly, it works really well for dealing with humidity — more so than anti-humidity sprays and hairsprays," he says.
In our opinion, it's a risk worth taking. And we promise it's not as scary as it sounds. Here's how to use it properly:
If you have more time:
"If you're styling your hair, spray it on one section then use a blowdryer, flat iron, or curling iron to heat it up. When you spray it on, it's going to feel very tacky, but the heat polishes it and makes it smooth and shiny," Olson says.
If you're in a rush:
"It's not quite as effective as the first method, but it works really well. Spray it on a boar bristle brush, then brush through your hair with it," he says. "You're coating your hair a little bit, but you don't need to add heat after doing it. It's my little trick, especially for people trying to tame their bangs."
Frizz doesn't stand a chance.