How humidity is not-so-secretly fucking with your hair happiness behind your back - and how to tell it to bite you.
I received an email from a client last week that was both desperate and wildly comical.
She had her new routine down when she was home in Tampa, but traveling to places with such different climates had her wondering why her curls would look perfect one day and wild the next. Here is an excerpt from her email about some of the issues she's been having with her curls being unpredicatble depending what city she is in. Have I mentioned how funny she is?
"Help. My hair is acting like it secretely hates me. It goes from Pro to Bro and slides into basic bitch without warning. Not sure what I did to it other than love it and care about it and want to see it happy. Was it all the years of the flat iron? It's so hot and then cold - nice and curly one day to my face and then it just acts like a shit talking bitch as soon as I turn around and frizzes for no reason. Is my hair secretly jealous that I'm happy and doing my own thing? Did it want to see me fail? Does it want to constantly remind me that I haven't been curly for most of my life and never let me live it down now that I've decided that I create my own hair happiness and I learned how to put it in line when it - in an oh-so-passive-agressive way, tries to remind me that I still have a few less than perfect spots? It must be. I don't know what else it could be. My hair is a jealous, bitter bitch who doesn't want me to feel like I'm as good as it is. It wants to fuck with me, lure me in. Bait me, if you will. I'm literally crying laughing at this point. The kind of laughing that makes your face hurt. It's like, "oh, ok, you're going to leave me curly? That's awesome, you do you girl!" Then, I wake up in the morning and in the mirror is a frizz balled green eyed monster just waiting for me to see what's it has created for me. I really think I saw that bitch smirk and I heard her whisper "You'll never be as good as I am, and I'm going to make sure I remind you of that on the mother fucking regular. You've managed to break the mold and find your hair zen in a way that is not only easier, but more rewarding. Do you think I care how hard you worked to make this shit happen? I don't." My hair took the time out of it's day (night, actually) to create this monstrosity just because when it started frizzing yesterday I returned its shitty attitude with some botanical boost to which it had no retort. Jen, my hair started it. MY HAIR was the asshole in this situation. Why is it acting like I'm the asshole for shutting it down? Doesn't my hair have better things to do with its time than concoct a giant pile of fuckery designed to be sitting there in all of it's smug glory to do nothing but insult me and make me feel like I'm the one, ME, who needs to curb check MY ATTITUDE????? I almost cried. It had to be intentional. I told it to fuck off and put it in a bun and went on with my day - because although I was totally shocked my hair could be such a hateful ball of misery and, while I am fully aware I do sound like a fucking crazy person, I also understand that the opinion of a hateful, jealous, miserable frizz troll is kind of like dingleberry. Full of shit, irrelevant, awkward as fuck, and easily cut off." This woman is my hero.
She knows how to make me plan my own funeral, because I was literally dead after reading that. She's the Babe Walker of Curl owning. A betch of the highest order. The Amy Schumer of refusing to frizz. I knew at that very moment that my response had to be no less than epic. She'd earned it.
First of all, I love you in a way I'm not sure even I can fully understand. Literally Dead. You need to start a hair bitch blog in all of your spare time. ;) I think the issues you are having are the changes in the humidity because you are in so many different climates. It's hot just about everywhere this time of year, but even though the temperature is more consistent everywhere than when you were traveling in the spring, the humidity (the dew point, actually) is the actual mean girl. Your hair doesn't hate you - the dew point does. The dew point is the asshole in this case. It shines down on your hair in all of its glory when it feels like it, and then, suddenly, when it feels insecure it tries to make you look and feel like shit. It doesn't care how hard you've worked to get where you are. It envies you. It doesn't think its fair that you're happy, content, AND that you don't have to bust your ass 24/7 to stay that way because you've worked smarter not harder. The dew point can be a shit stirring, dick eating, jealous bitch that's basically going to die alone. It won't go down without a fight. But, I applaud you for having the betch swag to put it in its place when it tried to put you down. It's funny how mad dew points get when you treat them the way they have been treating you. You just have to remember that - and rise above with the power of every "fuck you" pinterest quote applauding you along the way.
In the summer, all frizz factors are higher everywhere. It's not just because it's hot and humid. Well, it kind of is. Let me explain.
The humidity level is how much water vapor is actually in the air. The hotter the air is the more moisture it can contain.
Think of 40 degree day as a typical sized prescription bottle of xanax and 75 degree day as a barrel of wine. Even if the xanax bottle is totally full of water, it's not even close to the amount of a barrel of wine that's even only 1/4 full.
The dew point is the temperature at which the water vapor in the air will start to condense and form mist in the air.
When people talk about it being very humid outside, which is common in warm summer weather, what they are actually feeling is the higher dew point, which makes the air feel sticky.
So, now we know…...
HUMIDITY = how much water is actually in the air. There can be days when the temperature is cold and the humidity rate can be high, but its relative. Cold hair won't contain as much moisture as hot air, and the dew point can't be higher than the temperature. So, if it's 40 degrees with a 85% humidity level, the dew point will likely be in the 30's or lower. You can basically look at the dew point to let you know how the air will feel on a scale from "super dry" to "FML, I'm sweating under my boobs." You might sweat under your boobs in 100 degree weather, but it won't feel FML level horrific if the dew point is in the 50's or lower. A higher dew point will cause your sweat to evaporate more slowly into the already saturated air. It's like how people talk about the southwest having a "dry heat", where the super high temperatures don't feel as oppressive as they would have imagined.
This was what you experienced in Vegas when you texted me and said your curls were "bowing down to the supreme bitch they know that you are."
Dew Point = in a nutshell, how much of a pain in the ass/how fucked your hair may be by the water hanging out in the air when the temperature is around 60 degrees and up.
How to spot a shit eating mean girl dew point IRREGARDLESS of temperature, by Gretchen Weiners.
Now that you understand what humidity and dew point actually are, you know that the dew point can never be higher than the temperature. It can be 70 degrees or 100 degrees with 60% humidity, but the only thing that matters when you check your frizz forecast is the dew point. Knowing this trick will elevate you to consistent Trap Queen level Curl Betch when checking forecasts and planning accordingly.
Dew Points of 50 and under feels pleasant. 55-65 is moist but tolerable. 65-70 is sticky. 70-75 is gross. 75 and over is oppressive enough to excuse a netflix binge in the comfort of a climate controlled lounge space of your choice - and often the danger zone for heat related medical issues.
Relative Humidity is referencing ratio of the current absolute humidity to the highest possible absolute humidity based on temperature. It is confusing when you're trying to use humidity levels as a way to forecast hair behavior. Relative humidity is best left for the digital thermometers purchased by weather buffs and douchebags, and is not important to a Curl Betch. Ignore it like a friend request from an ex.
Come on a pretend tour with me, and you'll see what I mean.
First stop, Ontario Canada. Home of my amazing curl friend K.L. I'm not talking about "drink around the world at Epcot Canada", although the maple syrup as hair gel text I got on your birthday was one I'll save forever.
Friday - typical summer day. Friday night - same humidity but with a lower temp and dew point means more cooperative curls. Saturday - hey frizz, heyyyyyyyy.
This is expected mean girl dew point behavior in the summer, even all the way up in Canada. Predictable basic bitch. Nice to your face one minute, and then, due to its own unresolved issues, trying to mess with your mojo.
Ok, so that's how the mean girl dew points of Canada will try to throw their shade. Let's go see what's going on somewhere else.
Take an Up-date Nikki Minaj style and jet back over to Washington. I have cupcakes ready. The humidity is on the medium low side, but the air is warm enough and those pesky dew points are waiting to hate on you. Most people notice dew point induced drama at around 60, and at 70 or above, some feel like the weather is completely losing its shit and acting like a hormonal teenager. Dew Points of 70 and above are like the Regina Georges of weather. Notice Friday vs. Saturday and Sunday - the changes in dew point, even though they seem slight, are enough to influence how your curls react. Also notice that on Friday that the dew point is 69 and make a lewd joke.
Are you getting the hang of this now? It's simple once you realize all you need to look at is the dew point when it comes to knowing how to forecast for your curls. The temperature and even the humidity are irrelevant if you can see the dew point. The relative humidity can seriously go fuck itself because it's bringing nothing to the table other than just popping in, being ambigious, and making you waste even a second of your day thinking about what it actually means.
A lovely message to the weather, from xoxoxox your curls 💋💋💋💋💋
** The Frizz Forecast is courtesy of NaturallyCurly.com's frizz forecast tool. You just enter you curl type and zip code and see what's in store for your curls in the upcoming days and nights!