For many black women, weather reports are a vital part of our hair regimen. Whether you are relaxed or natural, the weather often dictates our hair styling choices and often can ruin our day if we are caught in an unexpected rainstorm. As a child, I was once sent to the principal’s office for refusing to go outside for recess. I was about 12 years of age and had just had my hair freshly pressed n’ curled that morning before school. My hair was completely virgin and I had a standing appointment for it to be straightened every two weeks. This particular December day, it began to snow lightly and I did not have a hat or plastic rain bonnet in my coat pocket. So when the physical education teacher declared that we would be going outside despite the light snow, I simply refused to go. I explained to this middle aged white man that MY hair would be ruined by going outside; I just had it done that morning and it would be two long weeks before I got it done again. Going outside in the snow was not an option for me! So…he sent me to the principal’s office. They called my mother and I explained the situation to her and of course, I got in trouble for being disobedient to a teacher, but honestly – I did not care. I listened to my mom scold me and promise further acts of discipline later and after hanging up, sat happily in the office until recess concluded. The office staff all looked at me with amusement (they were all white women with short, straight hair) and some confusion over what the big deal was. Again, I did not care! My hair remaining straight and shiny was too important to me and whatever consequences came with my decision, I would happily accept as long as my hair stayed cute!
Even after I received my first relaxer at age 14, I hated when it would rain the day of my appointment. How many of us have felt that it rains every single time you have a hair appointment?! I know I cannot be the only one! Even when we are wearing textured styles such as braid and twistouts a humid, rainy day can ruin it! Humidity causes our hair to expand and “poof” and we lose the wonderful wavy definition that we left the house with. And straight styles?! Forget it. Relaxed women end up looking like a drenched puppy and natural women more resemble a poodle because their hair reverts and shrinks. Although Black women are discovering more and more styles that do not require heat or a lot of time and effort, we still do not like having a style ruined particularly when our day is not over and we have to look presentable.
So here are five tips to help you avoid having your hair ruined by the weather:
- Purchase a clear, dome umbrella. These are available at retail stores such as Target and JCPenney, as well as novelty gift stores such as Harriet Carter. They have a longer edge that covers your face and completely protects your hair from the awful sideways rain and humidity in the air. They are clear so although the edge comes down below your chin, your vision is not impaired. Another bonus is that your makeup remains fresh and intact.
- Keep a rain bonnet in your purse. Yes, these are old fashioned and you may feel like your grandmother in it, but they really are very effective in protecting your hair. Another added bonus is that they are very inexpensive so purchase several and keep them in different locations – your car, your purse, and your coat pockets. These bonnets are small and light and are extremely convenient. At the first sign of rain, you will always be prepared to protect your style!
- Download a weather app on your smartphone. I cannot tell you the number of times I was simply unaware that it was predicted to rain and I took several hours straightening my hair. Had I known the weather called for rain, I would’ve simply opted for a different style! There really is no excuse to not know the weather if you have it available with a touch of your fingers.
- Keep hair tools in your purse. Whether it is a couple of clips, a ponytail holder, or some hair pins – have a few things at your disposal just in case your style is affected by the weather. Sometimes it isn’t rain that ruins our style, its humidity. Or a strong wind! I’ve gone out with loose curls and after walking a city block, my hairstyle was completely gone. Having some styling tools enables you to create a different look such as a bun or updo, but still look chic and well put together.
- Don’t panic! It is just rain. Even if you are caught unexpectedly in the middle of a monsoon without anything to protect your hair, your life isn’t ruined. You can redo your hair later, it is not a life threatening situation and sometimes just keeping it in perspective makes all the difference!