All Weather News

Humidity– Why Does it Ruin Your Hair?

28 Jul 2017, 7:59 am

Bad hair day? Blame it on the weather.

At least that’s what I do.
You see, there is a direct correlation between moisture in the air and the behavior of your hair.

Humidity

Humidity is the moisture in the air. Simply put, the higher the humidity the higher the water content in the air.

If you’re dying to learn more, check out this article on humidity.

It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get to the goods!

Hair

To properly explain this, we are going to have to get nerdy for a minute. Hair is a wonderfully complex part of the human body, made up mostly of keratin proteins the stuff keeps us both warm and looking good. Neat little covalent bonds hold your hair together and give it the strength you can’t fix with the right shampoo. But it’s the other bond, a hydrogen bond, that is the bane of my scalp-topping glory; and on humid days– yours too.

Hydrogen bonds, simply put, are weak! Let me explain.

Without getting too sciency, these little guys are responsible for your hair sticking a certain way after you get it wet and let it dry.
But if you wet your hair again and let it dry in a different shape, it holds the new shape instead– thus these weaker bonds are also temporary.
It’s like this, the little hydrogen bonds form between the strong keratin bonds giving them just the right amount of attraction. The middle-school relationship of hair bonds, if you will– A little wash of the dirt and the whole thing falls apart.

When we add humidity, that’s when things really get interesting…

Hair + Humidity

If humidity is simply the presence of little polar water molecules floating in the air, then it only makes sense that they will have an effect on hydrogen bonds.
Lost?
Water molecules are made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. The two to one ratio keeps the molecule lopsided, and naturally the presence of more hydrogen in the air has an affect on the hydrogen bonds in your hair.

More hydrogen in the air means more hydrogen bonds are able to form in your hair!
More bonds hold the keratin proteins closer together. And closer keratin proteins means the strands of hair to hold a stronger curl. And not necessarily one you want.

Still doesn’t make sense?
Try this– the presence of water in the atmosphere means your hair never really gets to dry. So it never really settles. Therefore you find yourself in an ever-lasting state of damp-do. And because it never really stops settling, it just keeps moving and holding allowing those hydrogen bonds to scrunch the keratin proteins together until your hair reaches the point of maximum frizz.

Pro Tips

The areas on this map in the cooler colors typically have less moisture in the atmosphere. If you move there, you will have fewer days of humidity and therefore better hair!

All jokes aside there are a few things you can do to beat the water-logged days of summer.

  1. Use the right product.
    For this, you’ll want to hit google. I might know a lot about chemistry and weather, but when it comes to hair product I’m no expert– just ask my stylist!
  2. Add oil.
    While water is a polar molecule, oil is not. This means that they do not like each other– think of dumping oil into water. So coating your hair in the *appropriate oil will do wonders when it comes to battling humidity. Once again, you’ll want to google this so you’re not just hitting the pantry.
  3. Dry it right!
    Remember those hydrogen bonds? Well, to help them bond in a straighter line try squeezing your hair dry instead of rubbing the towel through your hair. Trust me, it’ll make a huge difference.
  4. Use the right brush.
    It’s all about those hydrogen bonds. By using a bristle brush, you can align the bonds in a straighter line. Remember, any little bit helps!
  5. Put it up.
    Don’t have the time? Just toss the hair up! The look is always in, and nothing solves a problem like getting rid of it all together!

For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

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