Q: I am an African-American with short relaxed/coarse hair. I enjoy swimming and tropical climates during the summer. I would
like to know if there is a product that I could use to help maintain my style in hot climates and after getting out of the swimming
pool. My ideal product would allow my hair to have a curl without using a curling iron or any form of heat. I really hate it when I get
in the pool and get out, only to find my hair limp and without style or definition. My boyfriend hates it when I have to spend two hours reconstructing a style.
A: Well, presuming that you don’t want to go with a twist or braid style during the summer and vacationing months, a lot of the work
will need to fall to the styling products you choose to use.
Since your hair has been relaxed (presumably using a hydroxide formula) perming the hair to achieve
a “permanent wave pattern” is not possible. This means that any curl will be a physical change to the hair and would be subject to the
effects of heat and moisture. If you don’t get your hair actually wet (never submerge your head) you may find success in using a
wax-based styling product when you create your initial style. This would provide stronger hold, and increased moisture resistance,
but would not withstand submerging your head in water.
Your best bet, however, is to find a style that doesn’t require product or chemical treatment for
its primary integrity. This could mean going natural with your hair and ultimately losing the chemically treated portions of the hair,
or it could mean getting the hair braided or twisted into small locks to give you movement and bounce without a lot of extra styling
efforts during the summer. You could even opt for extensions, though these can present their own care problems.
Some women actually opt for wigs and hairpieces in the summer and when vacationing. They simply
wrap their hair in a swim cap or scarf when in the pool and wear their chosen wig style when they want to go out in the evening.