Fall is the best. But beyond the changing colors, sweaters, and candles……is fall wavy hair. Good news: your hair will probably behave a lot better in this season! Bad news: You may think you’ve “figured out” your naturally wavy hair…..but it *might* be a coincidence with the weather. OR, maybe your hair was “really wavy” this summer and is starting to fall flat. Ugh. Natural waves. They are confusing until you know how seasons affect your hair. So this fall post covers:
- How Your Wavy Hair May Change in Fall
- Why Hair Changes in Fall
- Ingredients/Products to Add In (Glycerin!!! We’ll talk about this one a bit!)
- Ingredients/Products to Avoid
- How to Get Your Best Fall Waves!
- Preparing for the *Next* Fall (what? yep! Don’t worry, it’s not hard)
This is going to be a series of what to expect each season. Then, you’ll know what to do when that weather comes! Subscribe to our emails so you get the entire series! To be clear, this is “fall” in the Northern Hemisphere, so Australian readers along with others in the Southern Hemisphere will need to wait for the Spring version (sorry! A few of these do still apply though!)
note: this post may include affiliate links, which cost you nothing but keep the website running. You can read our full website disclaimer here. I sincerely appreciate each click! -Rachel
How Wavy Hair (and Curly Hair) May Change in Fall / Autumn
First off, the changes in your wavy hair will depend on many factors including location, weather (specifically humidity & dew points), hormones, age, stress levels, and more. Some changes to watch out for are:
- Reduced frizz, often dramatically reduced. Yay!
- less definition in the wave/curl pattern
- Softer waves, sometimes “limp”
- How hair reacts to clarifying/how often to clarify
- Reduced need for high hold products
- Less volume when air drying waves
Why Hair Changes in the Fall
The short version is….the weather! The longer version is that humidity and dew points are the “keys” to fall. So for readers in mild climates all year, or at least consistent climate conditioner, this post will apply less. Lower humidity typically means less frizz (products & hair type can change this, but we’ll get to that). Typically, summer meant high humidity which can help enhance wave pattern, but loads of frizz potential. So overall, you can expect your hair to behave as mild as the weather in your area.
Ingredients/Products to Add:
Another fall tip for wavy hair is to add back in a few key ingredients that “didn’t work for you” in the summer. I actually suggest that you hang onto products for a whole year so you can see how they work each season. It’s a pain storage-wise but I recently got this $10 over-the-door shoe hanger to solve that (and I try a LOT of hair products for review! If my hanger gets too full I take some to the women’s shelter near me that accepts opened products). Okay, now to the ingredients…
Glycerin is not evil. Repeat after me, “Glycerin is not evil.” ….One of the commonly mis-spread myths of naturally wavy hair is that glycerin is bad and should be avoided at all costs. Glycerin is a humectant, which is an ingredient that pulls moisture from the air. Humectants are wonderful in Spring/Fall (in moderate climates) but can be WAY too strong in the summer. That’s why this High Humidity Hair Routine avoids glycerin. But in non-summer months like Fall (or Autumn as some of you prefer to say), humectants, including glycerin, give your natural wavy hair much needed moisture. Some wavies DO indeed have a glycerin sensitivity, but mild temps are the time to test if you do or don’t.
What does this mean? If you have a product on your shelf somewhere that “didn’t work for you” this summer, TRY IT NOW. This is not a guarantee that you’ll have better waves, but it’s certainly better to test out and give a try!
a few faves with glycerin
Each recommendation is sulfate free, silicone free and CGM approved. If you believe there’s an error please comment and I will address it.
Aloe is another humectant, which can cause frizz in high humidity but works wonders other times of the year, like Fall! While some wavies are aloe-sensitive, many mis-diagnose themselves based on the time of year. Again, if you’ve got a product with aloe that your hair didn’t like this summer, test it out now!
Note: some wavies have a sensitivity to aloe and experience flash drying (“wet frizz”) regardless of other routine, water hardness, humidity, or other reasons. If you are in moderate climate and this happens, clarify. If you still have problems, you’re most likely aloe sensitive and should likely avoid aloe.
Each of the items listed under “faves with glycerin” also have aloe. Let me know if you want lists of each ingredient separate (aka ONLY glycerin and ONLY aloe).
Fall is the time where moderate temperatures tend to help the moisture and protein balance that is necessary for the best waves. Since many wavies find that their waves go limp in fall (less definition), adding in protein may be a good idea.
How to Easily Add Protein: either a couple drops of neutral protein filler to your rinse out conditioner. Be cautious; if you add too much protein your hair may get rough and straw-like. If completely beginner, start with a protein/conditioning treatment mask. This one is easily found and affordable.
a few faves with protein
You may already be using a curl enhancer (if you are, keep using it!). If not, add in a curl enhancer for fall (all year long, but especially in low humidity!). As the name suggests, this should help enhance, or “bring back” some of your waves, though don’t be too surprised if your hair is less wavy than in summer. If your enhancer / activator is a lotion or cream, definitely need the next section! Another option is to make DIY flaxseed gel. Our recipe only takes a few items and about 15 minutes!
Styling Lotions/Creams (careful!)
In lower humidity, the hair tends to love more moisture since it can no longer pull it from the air. So this is a great time to add in a lotion of cream. BE VERY CAREFUL with how much you use. With certain lotions/creams, I use a pea sized amount (rubbed thoroughly into my hands), and I have a lot of hair! I’ve specifically found with Cantu Curl Activator (ALSO an enhancer!)that you need next to nothing. It’s very easy to overdo it. In fact a budget tip is to test creams/lotions in the travel size! You use so little that it’ll last a long time. Then when you’re done you can try something new or purchase the full size.
Products/Ingredients to Avoid
Since the temperatures are milder, there aren’t any specific ingredients to avoid. Products however, you may want to be careful with.
In general, hair butters are not a great idea for wavy hair. They weigh the hair down and cause waves to lose further definition. Many “curly girl” recommendations are too heavy for wavies, and this is especially true in colder weathers and lower humidity. Be sure to read our post on differences between curly girl method and wavy hair method. Anything thicker than the lotions above will typically lead to weighed down, product-y hair. If you have wavy hair and love a hair butter, let us know your hair type and which one!
How to Get Your Best Fall Waves
Since we’ll have a post full of tips on this site (subscribe in that pink box near the top of this post!), this is going to be the simplest version:
- Clarify your hair if you haven’t recently.
- Add in more moisture with your products
- Diffuse your hair if you love volume. It’s a lot harder to get in fall/winter!
- Use a curl enhancer if you weren’t already
- Use less gel and products with hard hold (don’t eliminate them, just test using less product).
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How to Prepare for Next Fall
This isn’t a “requirement” by any means, just something I’ve found helpful. But the best way to prepare for next fall is to write down how your hair reacts. That could be in a notebook, on Google drive, on Instagram (p.s. go follow us RIGHT NOW! We want our social media accounts to reflect the traffic we get on the web. Thank you!) Our profile is here. But take note of the ingredients/products that you absolutely loved, and which ones “stopped working.” This helps for next year!
Best of luck this fall 🙂 -Rachel