You’ve probably said it at least a few times: “I’m having a bad hair day!” Your hair goes flat, or it frizzes, cowlicks won’t stay down, your waves aren’t waving, and your curls aren’t bouncing. You look like you have hat head, or bed head – all day long. You spray, tease, smooth or pin but nothing works. Bad hair days happen to men and women, young and old, rich and poor. And let’s face it — a bad hair day can ruin a perfectly good mood and sap your confidence. In fact, the term “bad hair day” is now a popular idiom for when nothing is going right.
So who or what’s to blame if your luscious locks aren’t looking the way they’re supposed to? While there are a host of reasons your hair is misbehaving (diet, hormones, too much copper in your water, thyroid issues, smoking, etc.), the culprit, most often, is the weather.
Bad weather hair days are so universal there is even an app for your smartphone that tells you if the weather in your region is going to affect your style, and gives each day a numeric rating based on the weather’s influence on whether you’ll have a good hair day or not.
Here are the top weather offenders and the reasons they are a menace to your mane:
Humidity & Rainy Weather
Humidity is the ultimate wrecker of the hairdo, often making it a hair don’t. For those with thick, curly hair, a day of soaking rains and/or high humidity is surely going to ruin your coif by turning it into a tangled, fuzzy mess, no matter how much frizz-fighting and smoothing products you use. Humidity is just no match for them.
Each strand of hair has an outer layer, called the cuticle, which protects it like bark on a tree. When the cuticle is in good shape, strands lie flat, giving hair a smooth, healthy appearance. When hair is dry or damaged, the cuticle is frayed, allowing moisture to penetrate, “fluffing” it up, and giving hair a frizzy appearance. Chemically treated hair is especially vulnerable.
Conversely, those with straight, smooth hair find that the moist air on humid days causes hair to go flat. The moisture actually sits on top of each hair strand, weighing it down.
Cold & Dry Winter Weather
Winter weather is a lot of fun for skiing, sledding and sipping hot cocoa, but when it comes to your hair, it poses a big challenge. In addition to the yanking on and off of hats and scarves every time you step out for an appointment, which messes with the tresses, cold, dry air can cause the nightmare of them all: static hair. Static is bad enough when it makes your clothes cling, or gives you a shock when you touch a doorknob, but if your hair is flying every which way, those holiday photos are officially ruined.
The minute the temperature dips and the air becomes drier, negatively-charged electrons fly off your hair, leaving your strands with positive charges that resist each other. So those with fine, limp hair will have it sticking to their cheeks, and sticking straight up like something from Weird Science. It becomes unruly. And you’re pretty much forced to endure this until spring.
Winter dry air usually provides curly-haired people with a bit of a respite from bad hair days, although hair can get starved for moisture, causing a new set of styling issues.
So What Can You Do?
We consulted with some styling experts to learn ways to can combat those weather-related bad hair days:
- Keep locks trimmed of split ends. Consider maintenance cuts every 6-8 weeks.
- Keep hair properly (but not over) conditioned. Use a lighter conditioner in the summer if your hair is thin, and consider a moisturizing hair masque once a month if your hair is coarse.
- Rinsing with cool water, rather than hot, can smooth down hair cuticles.
- Don’t overuse product! Whether your hair is curly or straight, too much product can work against you, no matter what the weather. Follow the directions on the bottle.
- For straight, thin hair, consider adding some texture: cut in layers, and use a sea salt spray to add volume.
- For winter static hair, rub a small amount of hand lotion in your hands and run your fingers through your hair to keep strands tame. Dryer sheets also work – just rub on brushes or combs and run along hair.
- Use a humidifier at home in the winter to keep moisture in the air on dry, winter days.
- Leave-in conditioners are great for curly hair on dry days.
Try this cuticle-smoothing vinegar rinse:
Mix 1/4 cup to 1 cup of apple cider vinegar with 16 ounces of water (dry hair likes less vinegar and oily hair likes more). After shampooing, apply the solution to hair and scalp, and let sit for a minute. You can leave it in or rinse. Once your hair is dry, the vinegar smell will go away. Use once or twice a month.
And of course, if all else fails and you just want to cut it all off, be sure you consult with the Farmers’ Almanac Best Days calendar to be sure you schedule an appointment on the right day! View the Best Days to cut hair here.
Do you have a special way to combat bad hair days? Let us know in the comments below!