Monday 11 December 2017

Hot fuzz: how to cope with that 'humid hair'

Hair-raising: Deirdre Reynolds has been fighting the frizz
Hair-raising: Deirdre Reynolds has been fighting the frizz
Deirdre Reynolds

Deirdre Reynolds

Thankfully, curly tresses are back in fashion

It's hot, it's humid, and your hair is out of control. But fear not, because you are in fact ahead of the fashion curve.

According to fashion house Prada and style bible Vogue, the Afro is set to make a catwalk return next season, which is welcome news for the thousands of Irish women whose hair has gone berserk in the heat.

"Most Irish hair naturally has a bit of curl in there," says Richard Dromgoole, director of Zeba Hairdressing in Dublin and Maynooth. "It's only when the weather gets humid like this that it starts to come out.

Hair-raising: Deirdre Reynolds has been fighting the frizz
Hair-raising: Deirdre Reynolds has been fighting the frizz

"Basically it's down to hydrogen bonds in the hair," he explains of the electrostatic attraction that causes curly hair to go frizzy in the sun. "Then what happens is that people try to blow dry it straight, making it get even bigger."

Tell me about it.

As the custodian of a head of classically thick Celtic curls, I've spent decades - and more zeros than I care to even contemplate - fighting the fuzz.

Yet the minute the mercury rises my 'do becomes more of a don't.

So what's a Curly Sue to do as temperatures top 20 degrees again today?

"You've got two options," says the hairdresser. "You can either try to straighten it or you can work with the natural curl.

Dominican Montero
Dominican Montero

"If you're planning to wear it straight, it's important to start with a smoothing shampoo and conditioner, such as the Moroccan oil Smooth Collection, as well as loading on smoothing lotion afterwards.

"Once your hair is cleansed and moisturised, apply a heat protection product and blow dry it straight away to help lock in the moisture and keep it smooth throughout the day.

"For twirly girls, a leave-in conditioner like Kérastase Oléo-Curl Definition Cream is the key to looking less Sideshow Bob and more Solange as the sun sizzles," he continues.

"If you've got a nice curl in your hair, you shouldn't need to do too much with it.

"Just brush it with a Tangle Teezer [hairbrush] or wide tooth comb, work a decent amount of curl defining cream evenly through it with your fingers and leave it to dry naturally.

"Either way, my advice is to do the groundwork in the morning - you can always run a styling iron over it or add more curl-defining cream in the afternoon."

Swishing in the breeze or standing on end, one thing is for sure, whether at home or on hols, heavy hair is no fun in the sun.

If your cap runneth over like mine, indeed you may well be tempted to simply rock a ponytail until the heatwave passes.

On the upside, working your curls can help stop your scalp from sizzling this summer, according to Cork-based trichologist Anita Kirby.

"People forget that the scalp can get sunburnt just like the rest of the body," says the hair and scalp expert, "especially if you've got fine hair.

"If you're going out in the sun, even in Ireland, you should always put SPF on your scalp and use a heat protection product on your hair, or wear a hat.

"Not only will it stop your scalp from burning and your hair from drying out, but if you have colour in your hair, it will also prevent the sun from damaging it.

"No matter how much you straighten your hair, it's not going to stop humidity getting into it," she adds.

"People with curly hair would be better off using a styling product to help slow down the effects of humidity, rather than overusing the GHD trying to keep it poker straight."

The world-famous hair straighteners, a 12-week blow dry and the dreaded pinking shears are just some of the lengths I've gone to in a bid to tame my mane down through the years.

One recent survey by Premier Laser Clinic in the UK, which crowned perma-coiffed Kate Middleton 'owner of the world's most covetable hair', shows I'm not alone.

"The heat is definitely playing havoc with people's hair at the moment," reckons Paul Davey, director of Davey Davey Hair Salon in Dublin, "particularly if you blow dry your hair, as it gets frizzier a lot quicker."

"We've just launched a new smoothing treatment called Kebelo which is proving quite popular among clients. It takes about an hour and leaves the hair lovely and smooth for 100 days."

With supermodels-in-the-making Lineisy Montero and Karly Loyce making waves with their natural black hair at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year however, isn't it about time for Irish women to embrace their curls?

"Big, curly 80s-style hair is starting to creep in a bit more," he continues.

"I spent the whole of the 90s and early noughties straightening hair. All of a sudden, big, bouncy blow drys were in. Now it's all about less 'done', beachy waves.

"We've had straight hair for so long, I don't know if Irish women are quite ready to move to the next level of curlier, frizzier hair.

"But we're always encouraging clients to push the boundaries when it comes to hair trends, so you never know, the 'fro could be the next big thing!"

For in-demand Dominican Montero, in the meantime, it's a case of 'Big hair, don't care'. "I love it," reveals the 19-year-old, who's walked for Prada and Louis Vuitton among others. "I feel very comfortable."

Irish Independent

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