Hi wavy friend! It’s July, which around me means a hot & humid time of year. Heat and humidity are not exactly ideal for wavy hair. In fact, if you felt like your hair was just starting to get great results, you may have found yourself with a poofy, frizzy mess. I’ve been there too! But this wavy hair routine for heat and humidity should help you learn the techniques for YOUR hair. I will also point out the products I’m using. This routine is also my “gel routine for wavy hair.” Most of the year I DO NOT use gel, but it can be necessary in the hottest months of the year. I’ll go into several ways this wavy hair routine for high humidity differs from other times of the year. All products mentioned are sulfate & silicone free and were purchased by me. If you ever want a review on a particular product, or have a question. please comment it below or fill out this form. Now keep reading if you want defined waves even in the hottest summer months! This post will be long, but that’s because I want to give you as much helpful information as possible. If you’re new around here, welcome! This post is super long, but the routine itself is pretty darn fast! For context: I have shoulder length thick coarse 2a/2b wavy hair. I wash my hair at night (don’t worry I have info if you like to wash in the morning).
note: this post contains affiliate links, which cost you nothing but keep this website running. I’m SO grateful for each click! You can read full affiliate/ad info here …. each product was purchased by me. This post is not sponsored.
Yes to Naturals created a winner with the tea tree & sage oil line. I find both the shampoo and conditioner to be versatile all year round, but in different uses. For example, I would actually use this shampoo to clarify my wavy hair in the winter. Don’t know about clarifying? Read this FAQ about clarifying after! Now into how I use the Yes to Tea Tree * Sage Oil shampoo in my wavy hair during the hot and humid weather
How I Use: Basically, I use the Yes to Naturals Tea Tree & Sage Oil Shampoo as a “normal” shampoo. This shampoo is pretty easy to use and is sulfate free. I just squirt about a quarter size it into my hands, and lather it into my roots. For context, my hair is currently shoulder length, very thick, coarse, 2a/2b wavy. I massage the shampoo into my roots for about 30 seconds, then rinse. Do not put shampoo into the lengths of your hair because that will strip away the natural oils and cause your hair to be dry (and that usually leads to frizz!) As your rinse the shampoo out, the ends get very gently cleansed. The scalp is where build up actually occurs, so that’s where to focus.This shampoo does foam and lather even though it’s sulfate free, so if you are new to this whole naturally wavy hair thing, it can be a nice transition shampoo. If you use water soluble silicones you’ll have no trouble rinsing those out. I wash my hair twice most times to be sure all product is out. Be sure to fully rinse after each wash.
How this is different than other times of year: The reason I like to use this as my “normal” shampoo (technically a low-poo, because this is sulfate free) in the summer is because it removes more build up than a lot of low-poos. I get additional build up in the summer mostly from the gel (we’ll get to that!) but also is a result of sweating from the heat and humidity. Plus, the tea tree leaves a nice light tingly sensation that feels great. I don’t have a sensitive scalp so I can’t comment on that effectiveness, and it’s important to note that if you have lingering scalp sensitivity that you may want to address this with your doctor. Overall, it’s a great shampoo to have for all year round, but I use it the most often in the hottest months!
ANOTHER distinction is that I have to wash my hair/do this whole routine more often in the summer. Between the heat, using gel, and jumping into water often (hello lakes and pools!), and outside workouts, I wash my hair about every 3-4 days. Other times of the year I wash every 4-5 days.
The Maui Moisture Smooth & Repair Vanilla Bean Conditioner is wildly underrated. It’s also pretty hard to find in-stores, even though Maui Moisture is in most major retailers. I first tried this back when the brand launched in 2016. For “frizzy, unruly hair,” …? Sounds like my wavy hair! So I tried the whole line. The shampoo was fine, and I did a full review for the deep conditioning mask here. But this conditioner is the star of the line. It’s quite smoothing and thick, decent slip (which means you can run your fingers through), and moisturizing. One thing to note is that aloe vera is the top ingredient. Some wavy friends find that aloe vera can cause frizz (because it’s a humectant, which means it draws in moisture), but I don’t have that problem and know many others who feel the same. Wavy hair is so individual that I encourage you to try ingredients for yourself before you decide!
How I Use: Essentially, I detangle my hair first, then condition it. First I will use about a quarter size dollop of this conditioner to detangle my hair with my fingers. I start at the bottom, rake the product through very gently about an inch at a time, then work my way up all the way to my roots. I continue to rake my fingers through until there aren’t tangles. This can take a few minutes depending on how tangly my hair is that day. Then I rinse completely. You must rinse this quickly and completely to avoid weighing your hair down and causing buildup. Then, I do the “real” conditioning. I use the “squish to condish” method, and I’m not sure exactly who to credit this technique to (if anyone knows please email me and I will edit posts to reflect this). But basically, you flip your head over and “squish”/scrunch your conditioner into your hair by scrunching it into soaking wet hair. I then flip back up to standing and let this conditioner sit on my hair while I do all the rest of my non-hair shower stuff.
Then, to rinse out, I switch the water to room temperature/cool, change the water setting to a less aggressive water pressure, flip my head over, and rinse out while detangling/scrunching until it’s fully removed.
How this is different than other times of year: The conditioner I use in the hottest months is moderately conditioning, and detangles well. I don’t want anything super heavy because I’m going to use heavier products to style. I also rinse the conditioner fully out (in the other months I leave a little in). Note that what I do is different if I’m swimming in a chlorine pool. You can read about how to prep/protect wavy hair for swimming here.
The Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic Curl stimulator IS magical. I’m convinced. If you read my spring routine from this year, you’ll know how much I raved about it. It’s still great! I just use a bit less.
How I Use: Once my hair is rinsed, I stay flipped over and lightly press this into my “clumps” of waves. At this point the hair is still dripping wet, and I’m still in the shower. This curl activator also has good slip, so if your hair is tangly, gently rake the product through (if your hair has a very light wave, rake very gently or you’ll pull out the waves!). Then I immediately get into the next step (still in the shower)
How this is different than other times of year: I use less of this product. In my last routine I had long hair and used around 3 pumps. At my current length I’d use 2 pumps in all other months, but in summer I keep it lighter to account for the gel. I also am more careful of how I handle my waves because I still have to touch the hair while it’s wet to add in the gel.
Aussie Instant Freeze is an amazing value for the product. At about $4 a bottle, the price is hard to beat. And it’s effective! Now, let’s quickly keep in mind that I usually wash my hair at night. If you wash in the morning, you will need to either 1. have the time to allow your hair to air dry (this takes m hair most of the day, yikes!) or diffuse your hair to get a gel cast. Don’t know what a gel cast is? read about it here. I typically don’t diffuse because I don’t want to spend the time on it…so I wash it at night. More on that below. Note: you can use a different gel, but in the summer months, I highly recommend avoiding styling products that contain glycerin. Glycerin REALLY tends to cause frizz in high humidity.
How I Use: Immediately after the curl enhancer, I put about a nickel size amount into my hands and rub them together to work the product up a bit. Then I coat each clump individually from about 3 inches away from my scalp all the way down to the ends. I try to coat each section evenly. My hair creates anywhere from 5-15 clumps depending on the day. (note: I’d like to get pictures to better describe this but I’m a solo person who hasn’t figured out how to photograph myself with completely wet hands upside-down). Sometimes, I need more than the first nickel amount, but I try not to overdo the gel because 1. it leads to build up on the scalp and 2. if you really over-do it, or have the wrong type of gel, the gel can get flaky. It kind of looks like semi-translucent dandruff and it’s no fun.
How this is different than other times of year: Most of the year, I don’t use gel at all! So why now? Because it offers strong hold, which helps fight frizz in humid times. So why not use gel all year? Because it causes build up that makes me wash my hair more often, which I don’t like. I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to hair (despite how long this post is, the hair routine itself fast!)
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Once I’ve got the gel in, I twist my hair into a microfiber turbie twist. I think this actually helps my waves form into more ringlets/waves. Then, I go to bed. Yep, I do my hair at night 9 times out of 10.
Don’t have a microfiber turbie twist? Not a huge deal, just plop your hair in a soft t-shirt (preferably cotton or a soft cotton blend) instead. I have a post on plopping to come!
if you must shower in the morning....
Leave your hair in the turbie twist for at least 20 minutes. This is a great time to do your skincare routine (click here for my skincare faves!) and/or makeup. Or try to wrangle your two toddlers and huge Australian shepherd (or is that just me?!). Then, get your hair to 80% dry. You might leave your hair in the turbie twist longer, or scrunch it with a regular microfiber towel (or tshirt), or diffuse. Personally, I don’t like to spend the time diffusing – remember those toddlers? – but if that’s your thing go for it! I love the Xtava Black Orchid because it is HUGE. Check out this set that includes a dryer and the black orchid. Just don’t move onto the next step until your hair is *at least* 80% dry, but NOT fully, 100% dry. You want a little give and for there to be good chunks of waves to use a product with hold, and you want to do this before the frizz starts.
Yes, this is still my holy grail. The Herbal Essences Totally Twisted is my favorite mousse. It offers a good hold but without getting crunchy. p.s. If you DO notice crunch, wait until the hair is 100% dry then scrunch your hair while it’s dry!
How I use: I take my hair out of the turbie twist. For me if I sleep overnight, my hair is about 80% dry. That’s where I want it: dry enough to soak in the product, but damp enough to distribute it before it frizzes. If my hair is any drier /I will lightly scrunch in a bit of water from the sink. Nothing too detailed, I just want some moisture there. I then scrunch mousse until my hair feels coated. This is typically 2 golf ball sizes out mousse for my medium thickness, coarse, shoulder length hair. Really, you can look at the pictures in my 2 minute refresh post and the technique is quite similar. I do not put mousse directly at my roots. That causes buildup/grease. I apply it up to about 4 inches from the roots. I find if I go any higher that my hair gets too much build up on days 2-4.
How this is different than other times of year: The only slight difference is that I use a little less mousse on day 1 because of the hold from the gel. Everything else is the same!
You might be wondering about root clipping/volume. TBH, most days I flip my hair “against” my part until it’s dry, then once it is dry, flip it to the “normal” side. That’s my simplest method (and yes, I will have a post on that too eventually!) Also, using mousse means your hair isn’t as heavy as it would be with gels/creams. But also….I don’t worry too much about root volume. In the scheme of things, I’d rather not worry. My commute used to allow for 20 minutes of clipping, so I did do my triceratops root clipping method if you need an in-between. But if you want my “normal” routine….this is it. I’m done! If you are interested in diffusing, I love the Xtava Black Orchid because it’s HUGE, which means you can get your hair done relatively fast.
There are other parts of my hair routine that I consider my routine but aren’t done with each wash. If you want a detailed blog post on any of these, please comment below. I love to share what YOU want, wavy friend!
How I use: Basically whenever I notice my hair is really dry, I’ll use this in place of a regular conditioner and let it sit longer in the hair (at least 5 minutes). In the summer, it’s not very often unless I’ve been swimming in a chlorinated pool.
How I use: I very gently work the brush through, starting from only an inch or two own from my hair. I go up a couple of inches with each stroke until I’m at my roots. I lose SO much less hair than detangling in the shower. Plus it’s easier to deal with, and the drains don’t clog (really though. We’re friends here, it’s fine.)
In the summer, I dry detangle LESS often because of the gel/product build up. I find it can pull a lot more than when it’s just mousse.
NOTE: This product contains sulfates. I do not use sulfates often or recommend using sulfates often.
In the summer, I use this sulfate shampoo after being in the pool, or if build up gets reaaaaaally bad. I might use this 2-3 times per summer. I use in place of the shampoo mentioned at the top of this post, the follow with either the conditioner above or with GVPCB.
If my scalp is disgusting but I also want to have freshly washed hair within the next two days (i.e. on a Thursday before a saturday event or something) I’ll co-wash. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a Wavy Hair 101 post on co-washing!
I wrote a whole post about apple cider vinegar! I do this….whenever I think about it. Usually that means every 6 weeks or so. If you want info on ACV rinses be sure to check
Yikes! That covers pretty much everything! I hope this helps you whether you’re new to your natural wavy hair journey, or just wanted some help with your wavy hair in the high humidity summer months! Be sure to comment below if you try this routine, or love anything mentioned. Comments, questions, critiques, and suggestions asked respectfully are always welcome! 🙂
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