Curly Hair and Different Climates

Young woman with long wavy hair
Photo: Tanya Lovus/Shutterstock
Q: I have a question regarding maintaining curly hair in different climates. I live part time in Hawaii where it is more humid, and my wavy hair is fuller and curlier. When I am in dry California, I want to maintain some of the volume without creating buildup. My hair is very fine and wavy, but it gets limp and lifeless in the dry sun.
Any good products to use that won't make my hair flat and cause buildup if I use it daily. Also, I like to air dry my hair and keep it away from the blow dryer whenever possible so any suggestions on keeping it frizz free, too? I don't mind for paying for high-end products if it will make me look and feel beautiful and keep my hair healthy.

A: Barring the existence of any real problems with the condition of your hair, your best solution is to treat the symptoms you face in the different climates in which you live at the time. It sounds like you are happy with your hair's condition and behavior in the moister, humid climate of the islands, and that your real issues come when you hit the arid air of the California desert.
What you need is moisture, then. Look for a moisture-rich shampoo and conditioner formula. A conditioner with humectants will help to attract and seal in moisture to keep your hair supple and pliable in the dry climate. You may also want to look for shampoos containing ingredients like guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride which promotes smoothness and volume in the hair, as well as dimethicone, which helps to add manageability and softness.
If your hair still seems to be thirsting, then add a leave-in conditioner to your routine, as well as a smoothing serum, the conditioner will give more moisture, and the serum will help to coat the shaft of the hair and seal in the moisture to protect the hair.
As for specific products, I generally refrain from advocating one brand over another, as at the basic levels all the products out there are the same. Some do work better in specific circumstances, but tests conducted by Consumer Reports magazine revealed that the high-end salon brands generally performed no better than your supermarket brands.
So look for hair products as described above, and shop wherever you like for them. The good news is, that it will let you select a product to fit your budget and if you don't like one that you've chosen, you won't be out a lot of money.
See also:
Curly hair and hairstyles
How to maintain your hairstyle in humid weather
The effects of the weather on your hair
How to make your curly hair resist humidity