Sunday, March 15, 2009

Where, Oh Where, Have My Curls Gone?

If you are like me, this winter has been hell on your curly hair. The dew points in Florida have been much lower than usual over the past several months, leaving me mourning the loss of my bouncy, shiny curls. For weeks, I've been getting panic calls and emails from clients, saying, "Tiffany! Ack! My hair was wonderful and now, all of a sudden, it's a mess! What happened?"

While most of us pay attention to humidity as the barometer for our curls, it is actually the dew point that is more critical. There are several good discussions already on about dew point, and it is something I definitely want to elaborate on myself in the future.

In a nutshell, the lower the dew point, the less moisture there is in the atmosphere for our curls to use. Moisture is what forms and shapes our curls, and keeps frizz at bay, so it is no wonder many curl patterns turn looser and frizzier when the dew point dips. My usual quarter-sized amount of leave-in conditioner often turns to a palmful on low dew point days.

If you are suffering from the winter curly hair blues, your first step is to make sure you are putting enough moisture into your hair to supplement what Mother Nature has taken away. If you have fine hair, be judicious as too many emollients can weigh you down and dry you out, but a small bump in your normal amount could be just what you need.

You also need to take care with products that contain glycerin which, although a humectant, can actually dehydrate your hair drastically in weather with very low dew points. Glycerin has what are called hygroscopic properties, meaning it absorbs water from the air, but if there is no moisture in the air to absorb, it will take the next best thing and go after the moisture already present in your hair.

So, pump up the volume and throw your curls an assist to get moisture back into those curly locks. Spring is just around the corner and the dry winter blues will be behind us before we know it.

In other news, I recently did an interview with Sage Vivant, author of the curly blog No-poo Jillipoo, and answered her great questions about protein, porosity, color glazes and other cool curl stuff. And as of this week, I'll be contributing weekly to CurlyNikki, a site dedicated to the helping the curly-haired women whom Nikki calls "naturally glamorous"... as indeed we all are :) If you have not yet checked out the sites of these two fabulous women, you need to do so pronto!

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