Hair Help Desperately Needed.
July 7, 2021 2:31 PM   Subscribe

My hair doesn't behave in the best of times, and now I'm gonna be on a boat and I'm trying to figure out how to make the best of it.

I have a combo of straight and curly hair, and not in a good way. I've never been able to get the curls to behave and look like a full (or even partial) head of curly hair, and when I straighten my hair completely as soon as there is a drop of moisture in the air it just goes wavy and frizzy. It also has a tendency to go puffy (it's color processed and on the dry side).

I usually just throw it up in a bun when I'm trying to get stuff done, and within a few hours it's a frizzy mess. This is not the most flattering look for me and I would prefer to have it down, or at least have some loose large strands around my face.

I'm going to be spending a week on a sailboat and I'm desperately trying to figure out how to make my hair manageable for the duration. I think it's unlikely I'll be able to keep it straightened for any length of time, so I'm thinking I'll lean into having it curly. The only product I'm currently using is Kiehl's Silk Groom, which performs miracles, but not big enough miracles to make my hair not go crazy in any type of wind or weather.

What amazing products have you discovered that make your problem curly/wavy/frizzy hair behave under trying circumstances?

I've got some time to try a few different things, so please throw everything at me you think may work.
posted by newpotato to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have the same hair and this isn't what you asked for but if I were in that situation I'd get a fun, pretty scarf so it's not blowing around all over the place and I can look cute in the photos. You can still get some facial framing going on depending on how you arrange it (which is also important to me).
posted by bleep at 2:49 PM on July 7, 2021 [11 favorites]

Best answer: If it's long enough to put in a bun, is it also long enough to braid? I think the wind might mean you'll want it out of your face, and even the longer strands might get annoying. But you have time to experiment! My suggestion is to try a few braiding options: one in the back; a French braid (they're not that hard to learn I don't think?); and then maybe something like two braids in the front or back. After you wash your hair, don't use any straightening products, but just braid it when it's still wet. Then, it's out of your face while it's drying, and, if you want to take it out of the braid, the braid might give you a bit of extra curl.

Also, please do bring a hat! If you'll be someplace in the sun, you're going to have lots of it beating down on you on the boat. I know we don't all love hat hair, but having a hat on your head might be something you experiment with in advance too (a chin strap can be handy in wind).

Some hats can accommodate a pony tail, so maybe try that with the hat, too.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:51 PM on July 7, 2021 [10 favorites]

Best answer: I have very fine, very curly hair that is often (always) difficult to manage. The best solution that I've found is to weigh it down with lots of product, which keeps the curls defined. After I wash my hair I use about a silver dollar sized dollop of conditioner (regular, not leave-in, the thickest that you can find), and mix in a small amount (maybe 1/8 teaspoon) of hair oil (amounts are based on my slightly-longer-than-shoulder-length hair). Comb it through dripping wet hair and then air dry (in a t-shirt turban or satin bonnet, if you like). You might also wish to add some gel once your hair is 75% dry. Have a good trip!
posted by mezzanayne at 2:58 PM on July 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I’ll suggest hair oil or something to close the hair shaft and prevent moisture from escaping or entering; that’s what causes frizziness. Also agreed on a scarf and/or hat to protect your hair from sun and wind damage.

It’s currently the rainy season and weeks of 70-95% humidity where I live, and my 2C/3A hair has been oiled and put in a braid for pretty much the entire time. No frizz to speak of. I recommend almond oil, since it’s not too heavy and coats the hair well.
posted by lesser weasel at 3:02 PM on July 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Before departure, can you see a stylist who specializes in cutting curly hair? I think a cut that encourages curl is going to make your hair easier to style overall. Jojoba oil and/or camellia oil applied sparingly to nearly-dry hair (depending on length and hair thickness, put a drop or two on either palm, rub hands together, and scrunch hair starting at the ends) promotes curls and waves while warding off frizz (and greasiness).

Seconding hats w/straps on your voyage, as sun & wind are very drying.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:04 PM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would use a hard-hold gel, scrunched in immediately after you shut the shower off while hair is sopping, and then scrunch with a towel until it stops dripping and finish with another light coat particularly on the ends to hold them together in curls. Let air dry, and let it stay pretty crunchy - you can scrunch a little to break the crunch but the weather is mostly going to do that for you.

You can mix a tiny blob of conditioner into your hard-hold gel to make your hair heavier and a little less prone to frizz.

But on a sailboat you are going to want to be in hats or headbands pretty much full-time. If you happen to have a sensitive and/or extra-large noggin, these are the only brand of headband I can stand and they're nice because you can use them wide almost like a bandanna or fold/scrunch them up into a narrower hairband. You might also try some actual bandannas and scarves.

If you can get a trim before your trip, you'll at least have nice tidy ends, which will keep the frizz down a little.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:09 PM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

I work on boats and have straight hair that I can barely keep under control when on board. Honestly, braids are your best friend if you can manage/tolerate them. You can leave some strands loose around your face and the rest mostly tamed by braids. I can't even imagine having my (straight, shoulder length, normally fairly manageable) hair down on a boat for a week, it would take me another week to get all the snarls out...
posted by danapiper at 3:11 PM on July 7, 2021 [10 favorites]

(Chiming in to add that my comments suggesting braids are coming after a spring of sailing classes, so... yeah, agreeing with danapiper that you want your hair as little free as possible!)
posted by bluedaisy at 3:41 PM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

If nothing else works and you decide to just commit to the look, I see this T-shirt being worn in town (albeit a SE Alaska island town where just about everybody spends some time in boats..)
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:05 PM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also came to say braids all the way. My hair is also curly/not curly/generally annoying depending on wind/weather/if you look at it the wrong way ugh. I particularly like to lean in to the vibe of a nice and easy messy braid. I don't spend much time on boats these days but I do a boatload of gardening and a chunky messy braid looks even better at the end of a long day.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 6:11 PM on July 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have wiry, wavy hair that responds immediately to humidity. I use a silicone-based shine serum; it makes hair slippery and therefore less frizzy, also shiny. The silicone serum allows it to curl and wave nicely. I also use a fair bit of strong, cheap hair gel to make it not so wild; highly recommend for boating and wind. The silicone serum and gel are really effective when it's chin or shoulder length. It's ridiculously long at the moment so I french braid it; cutting it soon. I carry barrettes or clips to restrain stray bits.

Barrettes and clips will help reduce the wind tangling your hair. Headscarf is a terrific idea, cap or hat, as well.
posted by theora55 at 6:50 PM on July 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

I use the same gel theora55 recommended. I use a little bit of silicone stuff on the spot that gets badly tangled so that I can brush it, but I discovered my hair looks better overall with just the gel.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:19 PM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Nthing everyone who said any hair down on a boat is a recipe for it getting in your eyes, nose, mouth, and being irritating af right when you most need it the hell out of your way. I have indecisive wavy-straight hair with a lot of wispies around my hairline; when it gets wet, it's basically instafrizz. When I'm on a boat deck, my hair is either pulled up into a tight high braid fed through a baseball cap, or a French or Dutch braid where the tail is lower, tucked under a wider-brim hat (where the brim goes all around to protect my neck from the sun too) tied under my chin. No amount of bobby pins, barrettes, or hair product is sufficient to keep my wispies out of my eyes when confronted with stiff sea breezes, though, so I also have a wrap-style hairband strategically placed at my hairline underneath the hat, but it is something I generally have to readjust every so often.(When I'm below deck for awhile, I will take my hair down, because keeping it all tightly pulled back for too long makes my scalp hurt, but it's the only way for me to be at all functional up top.)
posted by Pandora Kouti at 8:31 PM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Emphasizing concept of hat and adding chinstrap. If you have enough wind for spirited sailing, a hat is at risk. Also, sun block.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:08 AM on July 8, 2021

Response by poster: I was mainly looking for product recommendations, I should've specified, but the sheer number of braiding suggestions means I guess I'll be learning how to braid my hair after all these years!
I 'd already planned to bring a few different hats along, and I'll check out the different products suggested.
Thanks All!
posted by newpotato at 6:31 AM on July 8, 2021

Also, sun block.

Seconding this, not only because of the long-term potential for skin cancer but also because dealing with sore, itchy and/or peeling skin will compound the irritation of having a head full of obstinate hair (which I have, too).

Also, another tool for abundant hair: the Kitsch Bun Twists (a variation on the Goody Spin Pin), a spiral bobby pin that is used in pairs, is way more effective than even a double-digit number of bobby pins, and, wonderfully, works better on dirty hair. I've got to get myself some of these -- my hair is long again because COVID and I need them, though apparently the Mini Spin Pins work on shorter hair.
posted by virago at 6:38 AM on July 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

I just went on a boat trip (successful puffin-watching, unsuccessful whale-watching, but I like boat trips) and put the braid through the space at the back of the cap, which was successful at keeping the cap when it was windy.
posted by theora55 at 8:08 AM on July 8, 2021

Have you looked into the "curly girl" method? There's a lot of information about it online. My hair used to be frizzy and damaged Ann's when I switched to that it became a lot more manageable. I don't even need to add product. You basically find a light silicone-free conditioner, wash with it like it's shampoo, thoroughly rinse, then get a richer silicone-free conditioner and mix a bit of your favorite oil in there (I like jojoba), let it sit a few minutes, then rinse it out. Only shampoo once a week or less (also silicone-free) and only rub it in at the roots. That's my routine, anyway.
posted by Anonymous at 9:01 AM on July 8, 2021

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