Our hair has a mind of its own when humidity is at an all-time high. Here's why: moisture from the hot, humid air bonds to the hair shaft, causing flyaways we're all too familiar with during the steamy summer months.
There's nothing wrong with a little seasonal frizz, but it's nice to know that for days when we don't want to deal with it, there are plenty of options available. We enlisted the help of top hairstylists to gather the best advice for fighting humidity. Whether your hair likes to pouf or kink, here are 10 tips and tricks that will help make your frizz-free dreams a reality—because hot days should be all about enjoying the warm weather by hitting the beach, not fixing your hair.
Keep scrolling to read the 10 best pieces of advice to humidity-proof your hair, straight from the professionals.
Apply an Anti-Frizz Product
Celebrity stylist Harry Josh says that an anti-frizz product is important to get ultimate smooth results. Josh loves the Marajó Anti-Frizz Smoothing Serum (currently sold out). We recommend this lightweight sealant from IGK to help keep strands smooth even through the most humid of temperatures.
Apply an anti-frizz serum or cream on soaking wet hair. This offers additional hydration, and it may allow the product to better penetrate the hair cuticle.
He also notes that if you're going to blow out your hair, then a flatiron will be your finishing touch. "After you dry it, the real magic comes from straightening irons, like my Harry Josh Pro Tools Ceramic Styling Iron (currently sold out). It has adjustable heat settings, and the built-in digital technology keeps each pass as hot as the last, which is key when using an iron." We recommend the Chi Original 1" Ceramic Hairstyling Iron ($80).
Wear Your Hair Up
Hairstylist Matthew Monzon recommends a relaxed style, especially if you're prone to extreme frizz. He notes that it will help manage the pouf while still embracing its texture. "Women with tight curls or wavy texture in their hair are, unfortunately, more frizz-prone, so choosing a more humidity-friendly style is your best bet. An adorable braided look or sexy neck-bearing topknot will be a solid bet to keep your hair contained and less prone to curling up. The trend in 'effortless hair' lends itself greatly to frizz-embracing looks to keep the flyaways in check," he says.
"Styling your hair wet with braid or bun is a great stylish way to look great and beat the humidity," says hairstylist Kelly Sayers. An effortless way to avoid dealing with humidity altogether is opting for a style that pulls your hair up. We love the Invisibobble spiral hair ties that are strong enough to hold your style in place without leaving creases in your hair.
Rely on Oils and Shea Butter
No two hair types are alike, and if your hair is on the thick or coarse side, oils and shea butter will be your best friend to keep kinks to a minimum and ensure hair remains healthy. Jamaican black castor oil helps soften the hair," says hairstylist Vernon Francois. "Because it's a thicker liquid, it is a great sealant for thick hair textures."
Hairstylist Marie Brown adds, "When it comes to keeping hair frizz at bay, I swear by coconut oil and whipped shea butter. Coconut oil is a light and natural oil that is suitable for all hair types. This universal oil keeps the puffiness down and keeps hair healthy and shiny. Whipped shea butter is excellent for frizz. It is great for hair that is chemically treated and bleached. It is very nourishing, and a little bit goes a long way."
For those with medium or wavy hair, Monzon says a light oil is a great treatment. "My favorite is Leonor Greyl Huile de Magnolia ($59), a blend of botanical oils rich in provitamins and combined with the delicate scent of magnolia blossom, which helps to tame hair and give it a delicious scent that you’ll carry with you all day."
Eliminate Frizz With the Right Shampoo
Hairstylist Aviva Perea knows from experience how badly humidity can wreak havoc on hair. Her solution is to eliminate frizz as much as possible in the shower and other ways so that humid air doesn't worsen the problem. "Use smoothing shampoo and conditioners and leave-in as well, and after the shower, use a microfiber hair towel," says Perea. "I am not a paid spokesperson for this product, but I recently tried it out and am obsessed. It's Sun Bum shampoo and conditioner, leave-in, and oil. Since I started using this line, my hair dries with its natural wave with zero frizz," she raves. "Which means I save time and avoid using heat, keeping my hair healthier. It smells so yummy and uses mostly plant-based ingredients."
Embrace Your Natural Texture
"Over the years, I've learned one major lesson when it comes to humidity, and that is your hairstyle should be an amped-up version of your natural hair texture," says Tresemmé stylist Tyler Laswell. "What I mean by that is if your hair is pin-straight, don't choose a wavy hairstyle on a humid day or vice versa; if your hair is thick and wavy, don't straighten your hair, because it will end up a poufy mess. No matter what your hair type, an awesome humidity-resistant hair spray like the Tresemmé Tres Two Climate Protection [will protect] your style from the elements."
Seal Your Strands With a Serum
Celebrity hairstylist Derek Yuen is also pro serum when it comes to humidity and hair. "The trick with dealing with humidity is to get the outermost layer of the hair, the cuticle, to lay as flat as possible," he says. "Most anti-humidity products use silicone, but that can deflate the volume. Living Proof Satin Hair Serum ($29) is made without silicone, so you don't have to trade off smoothness and shine for the volume." Cristina B., a stylist at Rita Hazan New York City, also recommends finishing a style with a serum. She opts for Deesse Elujuda Serum ($29). "It is a great way to seal ends and fend off humidity," she says.
Use the Right Towel
Sarah Rappolt, master stylist and education director at Davines flagship salon Ion Studio NYC, stresses how important drying hair is. "Make sure to get all the moisture out of your hair. Otherwise, it will get frizzy," she advises. "All hair types, especially coarse and curly hair, hold a lot of water. Towel-dry by squeezing the hair, not roughing it up."
Rubbing hair can result in frizz and split ends.
Keep Your Hair Moisturized
If there's any time we're constantly on top of washing our hair, it's summer. However, Roman K Salon stylist Dayna Goldstein says over-washing could be doing more harm than good. "By spreading out your shampoos, it will help your hair's natural oils to keep your hair moisturized," she says. "Washing too much can cause your hair to dry out, giving frizz more of an opportunity to come out."
Use Gel on Curly Hair
"I like to use Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel as a final product before air-drying. It helps wavy or curly hair dry a little smoother," says hairstylist Nikki Providence. "It also helps to put in bangs before drying them so they don't bounce up too much."
Lona Vigi, Nexxus New York salon care celebrity stylist, adds that a light hair spray can do wonders for hair in humid weather. "Use a lightweight hair spray like the Nexxus Frizz Defy Finishing Mist Hairspray (sold out), which works to hold flowy, natural-looking styles and a frizz-free finish, through any and all weather conditions."
Consider a Keratin Treatment
When it comes to a universal humidity-fighter for all hair types, celebrity hairstylist Christian Wood says a keratin treatment will not only help, but it's a time-saver. "The best thing I can recommend for fighting frizz and humidity is to have a keratin treatment or Brazilian blow-dry," he says. "It cuts styling in half and keeps the hair glossy. It can help all hair types as well as prolong styling. There's only so much products can help with."
How can I keep my hair moisturized when the humidity is high?
If you have dry hair and struggle to keep your hair from looking dull when it's humid out, you can try to "seal" in the moisture with a lightweight oil or silicone-based serum.
How can I style my hair when it's humid outside?
Braids, top buns, and sleek ponytails are all great ways to style your hair when it's humid outside.
What hair products work best for humidity?
Gels, oils, shea butter, and silicone-free hair serum are all good choices for fighting frizz.
Stromberg J. Why humidity makes your hair curl. Smithsonian Magazine. April 12, 2013.
American Academy of Dermatology Association. 10 hair-care habits that can damage your hair.