So Fine: Floridian Field Research on Oils and Butter

There’s a lot of buzz in the blogosphere about the necessity of “sealing” hair by using silicones or oils which are natural water repellents. Sealers (aka “anti-humectants”) are like a ziploc bag for your hair: the moisture in your cuticles can’t get out and excess moisture in the air can’t get in.

This is your hair.

This is your hair with a sealer.

I know for a fact that many people out there use oils and butters religiously because to seal in moisture as well as combat over-hydration caused by high dew points and humid temperatures. The truth is that I never use a sealant. Ever. I find that many oils and butters are way too heavy for my fine, low porosity hair. Shea butter sits and leave hair boogers. Oils leave me greasy stranded and crunchy. I tried for a while to force the sealers, but after a couple of ruined pillows I decided to let them be.

Me: 0 Shea Butter: 1

Then it dawned on me, that perhaps I don’t need the anti-humectants not because they don’t work for my hair, but because they don’t work for my climate. For better or worse, San Francisco is temperate; there is no heat here, just a foggy, costal mediterranean climate that’s never too warm or cold all year round. It might sound nice (and it is), but when July is one of the coldest, grayest months of the year, it can really grind your gears.

 

When considering hair products and regimen, it is crucial to consider the climate in which you live to determine products with the best possible fit for your unique hair needs.  According to an article by the Curl Chemist on NaturallyCurly:

Curly hair seems to really thrive in moderate climactic conditions, and dew point ranges of approximately 35°F to 50°F seem to be optimal….When the dew point for your area is at 60°F or above, it might be a good idea to apply some product with anti-humectant properties.

Sounds about right. The average dew point in SF is about 48, which is right in the range of not needing an anti humectant. This weekend I’ll be traveling across the country to Florida to check out the Curly Nikki meet up and covering the Premiere Orlando show for NaturallyCurly.com! I’m very excited for the trip in general, but also to give anti humectants another chance and do some real-time So Fine field research in while I’m on the ground where it currently reads as having dew points in the upper 70′s! Stay tuned for the results to see if its me or the weather!

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3 Comments

  1. I am quite interested in seeing your results on this as well. Like you, I have fine hair. When I first lopped off my locs a few years ago, I became diligent about monitoring dew points and my use of humectants (and anti-h’s). In recent months, however, I’ve been a lot more lazy. This post serves as a great reminder for me to get back on track. Here in NC, the dew point is around 70-degrees, and of course it’s quite warm (mid-80s) and humid (around 65-percent). I actually misted and sealed my hair with shea butter, basically on a whim, and it gave me great results — softness and visible curls that didn’t explode the moment I stepped outside.

  2. hmmm…i’m in Los Angeles, which is not as moist as SF…i’m deducing i need a little bit of sealant, combined with the fact that my hair leans toward the dry side. the day shea butter leaves boogers on my hair, i’ll be a happy woman!

  3. This is great info! I live just across the Bay and never took this into consideration. I also have fine hair and since I’ve been natural that’s all the community talks about is seal, seal, seal…lock that moisture in but if there’s already moisture in the climate then it doesn’t make sense to seal. I’m going to try and see what happens.

    Thanks! Love your blog too :)

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