How Does Humidity Affect Hair? Show Your Hair Who’s Boss

Managing one’s hair in climates with higher levels of humidity can seem like a never-ending battle. Let’s learn more about hair and humidity. How does humidity affect hair?

Humidity affects hair by accelerating the graying and thinning process. Humidity also promotes sun damage to hair in higher temperatures and causes scalp acne. Frizzy hair is one of the most annoying aspects associated with high humidity and can be controlled with the right hair products.

How Does Humidity Affect Hair?
Ever have one of those days?

Chances are you’ve experienced at least once the annoying effects that humidity has on hair. And if you live in an area with high humidity, you have more experience with humidity than I’m sure you’d care to admit.

How Does Humidity Affect Hair?

If you live in a humid place, then your hair will be damp most of the time when not inside of a humidity-regulated indoor environment.

Hair problems caused by humidity are easy to prevent if you’re aware of what causes them. Here are ways that humidity can affect your hair.

Graying and Thinning

Humidity can contribute to gray hair and hair thinning. Humidity affects protein production in the body by removing water that’s necessary for protein synthesis.

Protein molecules consist of amino acids that contain nitrogen that helps activate melanin during cell division.

So when you lack water, your body cannot synthesize as much protein as needed.

Lack of protein slows down melanin transfer from mother cells to daughter cells within melanocyte cells. This causes less pigment production in those cells.

Excessive exposure to chlorine will also cause graying by affecting the same mechanism since chlorine is a powerful oxidant containing nitrogen.

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Damage from Sun and Heat

Humidity can increase damage done by UV rays, which contain both UVA and UVB light. Sunlight damages skin cells by generating free radicals that destroy cellular membranes, proteins, and DNA.

As moisture evaporates from humid air, it absorbs solar radiation, creating more heat in the environment.

Heat makes humidity worse because it speeds up the evaporation rates of water from your hair.

This increases the potential energy for water molecules to absorb UV rays from sunlight, causing more harm to your hair follicles over time.

Dehydrated hair will be weak because it has lost all its water content to evaporation, so when it comes in contact with UV light, the hair will be prone to damage.

Cause Scalp Acne

Scalp acne is a form of folliculitis caused by bacteria living on the skin. The bacteria invade hair follicles and feed on sebum produced by oil glands.

The excess sebum provides food for the bacteria that live in hair follicles called P. acnes.

When you have inflamed or infected pores, whiteheads may form that are filled with pus.

Dandruff, another type of scalp acne, occurs when P. acnes infects epidermal cells of your scalp, where they feed on dead skin cells, leading to flaky white or gray patches on your forehead nose, scalp, and neck.

Sebum is produced by sebaceous glands connected to your hair follicles; if these glands produce excess sebum because of humidity, they will secrete more oil onto the skin where P. acnes feed on it.

This causes inflammation of the follicle due to bacterial infection.

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Breakage and Frizzing

The most common effect of humidity is curly hair. When there is too much humidity in the atmosphere, your hair strands are filled with water, weakening the already damaged cuticle and making your hair frizzy.

And when you brush through this wet, tangled mess, more hairs break off.

Is a Humid Climate Good for Hair?

In a humid climate, your skin tends to sweat more, and sometimes this leads to oily skin and an overproduction of sebum.

A humid climate is not good for your hair. High humidity can contribute to clogged hair follicles, as well as a better chance of mold, fungi, and bacteria growth that thrive in moist, humid environments. Ringworm of the scalp, also known as tinea capitis, is more common in areas of high humidity.

Since the air is already moist, it’s hard for you to sweat enough for your body to regulate temperature.

This causes your hair follicles to get clogged by dirt and oil and swell up with too much moisture (sweat).

As a result of the moisture in the hair follicles, mold spores and bacteria tend to feed on this moist environment.

This can lead to fungal or bacterial infections such as scalp ringworm, also known as tinea capitis.

When the pH level of the scalp changes (it becomes too acidic), then problems such as dandruff and acne can occur.

Although some people like humid climates because humidity makes them feel relaxed and comfortable, humidity is not good for your hair or scalp.

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6 Ways to Keep Hair Healthy in Humid Weather

During the spring and summer months, you might enjoy spending time outdoors. However, if you have naturally curly or wavy hair, humid weather can introduce frizz into your life. Break out of your comfort zone with these tips to manage hair in humid weather. 

6 Ways to Keep Hair Healthy in Humid Weather:

1. Swap Your Heavy Creams With Light Serums

When the weather gets steamy outside, swap heavy cream-based products for lightweight serums.

This allows air to flow more freely through the hair shaft while still locking in necessary moisture.

Look for ingredients like glycerin or dimethicone to get similar benefits without weighing down your locks.

2. Try Using a Mild Shampoo

Use a gentle shampoo during the summer instead of a heavy conditioner. Some shampoos contain mild surfactants that allow moisture to absorb into the hair shaft, reducing frizz.

If you have hard water at your disposal, try adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to help restore pH balance.

3. Air-Dry Your Hair in a Sweater Cap

Hair absorbs heat from your scalp and surrounding air when it is wet, so air-drying could lead to frizzier hair if not done correctly.

To prevent this from happening, don’t towel dry your locks after washing. Tie them up in a sweater cap made from thin cotton fabric while they’re still damp.

This will help lock in moisture and allow your hair to dry naturally.

4. Apply a Protective Serum to the Ends

When humidity strikes, it’s crucial to shield the ends of your locks from frizz.

An easy way to do this is by applying a protective serum, which works on all hair types and contains ingredients that protect against heat damage and add shine to the strands when they’re exposed to ultraviolet light.

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5. Deep Condition if Necessary

Suppose you’ve found that you’re struggling with frizzy hair after air-drying, deep condition your mane once per week until better measures can be taken during future washings.

While a deep conditioning mask is still damp, cover your head with a plastic shower cap or cling wrap to lock in the moisture.

Allow it to sit for 10 – 30 minutes before rinsing out and shampooing as usual.

6. Wear Your Hair in a Protective Style

Gather hair into a low bun at night to keep it from frizzing during sleep. If you want an extra layer of protection from humidity, try wearing your hair in a protective style like braids or twists over the next few months.

This will help shield it from wet weather and prevent new strands from popping up overnight after being weighed down by heavy products.

You could also invest in a satin bonnet, which reduces friction between locks and your pillow.

4 Ways to Keep Your Hair from Frizzing in Humidity

Are you wondering how to prevent hair frizzing? I’m sure this has been Googled millions of times or more. How do you keep your hair from frizzing in humidity?

4 Ways to Keep Your Hair from Frizzing in Humidity:

1. Wear a Hat

Either get one with built-in protection like this airy hat or wrap your scarf around your head.

This will protect your hair from absorbing excess moisture from humidity which causes it to frizz up later.

2. Buy a Hair Product With Humidity Protection

If you are blessed with naturally manageable hair, then this is not for you.

But if your hair goes completely bonkers in humid conditions, then you must buy a product that eliminates the excess moisture in the air when it hits your locks.

Products like these come in either spray form or gel form. Find one that works for you!

3. Use a Leave-in Conditioner With Heat Protection

This goes along the lines of keeping heat away from your hair during humid days.

Some products like these contain ingredients like silk protein and sweet almond oil, which protect both the cuticle and the inside of the shaft of your hair from absorbing too much moisture.

4. Put Your Hair Up

No matter what length or texture your hair is, putting it up and away will always help reduce frizz.

It’s best to put your hair into a ponytail (not too tight, though), braid, bun, or any other hairstyle that will keep the hair off of your neck and cheeks during humid days.

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4 Ways to Keep Hair Straight in Humidity?

Most people find that their hair becomes frizzy and difficult to control in humid weather.

It is an inevitable part of life, so we should learn some tricks to keep our hair straight in humidity!

4 Ways to Keep Hair Straight in Humidity:

1. Condition Your Hair

Conditioning your hair is one of the most critical steps in combating humidity. When the temperature outside increases, it’s easy to strip your hair of moisture by washing or drying it.

Unfortunately, that also takes away some of the natural oils in your hair which can cause frizziness when there are high humidity levels in the air.

Conditioner helps replace these lost oils and reduces frizzy hair during humid weather.

2. Wear Your Hair Up

Another trick for keeping your curls straight and under control is wearing your locks up during humid days!

Otherwise, you can pull them into a tight bun or ponytail without anything getting tangled or matted into place.

Wearing them down will lead to knots throughout humid weather.

3. Spray Locks with Water Before Heating Them Up

When using heat tools such as blow dryers, curling irons, flat irons, etc., applying water first before styling your locks is essential.

The water will help your hair lock to keep straight and give off a sleek and smooth appearance.

4. Protect Your Hair from High Humidity

Finally, one of the best ways to ensure that you have straight locks in the humidity is by using hairspray or other products that contain anti-humectants.

These products combat frizz and protect your hair from any moisture that might be lurking in the air around you.


Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.