Hair Advice for Hong Kong Humidity
Whether it’s your first summer in the SAR or you’ve sweated through 70, there’s a good chance you’re seeking a hair solution for the Hong Kong humidity. Kate Springer quizzes a few salon experts about how to manage that mane.
Meet the Experts
Sonia Park, Art Director at Toni & Guy SoHo Salon, UG/F, 3-5 Old Bailey St., Central, 2533-3833.
Hamish Glianos, Director of Paul Gerrard Salon, 1-2/F, Wah Hing House, 35 Pottinger St., Central, 2869-4408.
Dr. Aline Jahns, Founder and Trichologist of Strand and Science Hair Spa and Hair Loss Institute, 1/F, 96 Siena Ave., Discovery Bay, Lantau, 2886-3820.
HK Magazine: Why does humidity make our hair go crazy?
Sonia Park: There are several things happening. The cuticle—which is the surface of the hair or the outer layer— looks like fish scales and protects the hair from the external environment. Due to a high moisture content level in the air, the hair fiber becomes heavy with moisture and expands. And when that happens, the cuticle cannot perform its protecting qualities properly. It opens up and appears frizzy.
Hamish Glianos: The science at work here is that humid air causes hydrogen bonds to form between water molecules and the keratin protein of the hair, which in turn triggers curl and frizz. Put simply, this means that when our hair is blow-dried and styled, we change the bonds in our hair. When humidity strikes, the high levels of hydrogen, aka moisture, in the air will react with the protein bonds causing them to weaken and reform. Hence, our hair can go crazy.
HK: How can we combat humidity?
Dr. Aline Jahns: A very simple solution is to ensure your hair is completely dry and treated with a professional styling product that will keep the cuticles sealed. It’s important to note that a good styling product will not only protect against humidity, but also pollution and sun.
HK: What about long-term solutions?
SP: Keratin treatments provide the best service for crazy frizzy hair. Essentially, the keratin smoothening treatments are like an instant revitalization for dry or sensitive hair. The treatment fills in the damaged parts of the cuticle and seals it, protecting strands from humidity. But be wary of relying on chemicals repeatedly as this can harm your hair.
AJ: We talk so much about keratin/blowout/smoothening treatments. They are all the same, and more people are looking for this as a solution to tame frizz. However these products reduce volume and in some cases double as temporary straightening solutions. Sometimes they can be too severe, depending on the application.
HG: Be sure to consult with your stylist. If the treatment is too heavy, then your hair can lie straight for several weeks afterwards. A modified treatment strength will allow more natural movement in the hair.
HK: People worry about chemicals like formaldehyde. Is it harmful?
AJ: I still don’t see any awareness in Hong Kong about the danger of products containing formaldehyde and methylene glycol. In Hong Kong, what I see is that many people say it is okay to use once or twice a year. This is very dangerous as there are side effects that will only appear after some time.
SP: People should be careful about using harmful chemicals, which is why it’s always a good idea to consult a professional stylist about what the treatments contain. We always use products that are in line with recommended health standards. Those who are doing DIY treatments at home need to be extra careful about the products they’re using.
Toni & Guy’s Sonia Park picks her go-to salon products for smooth summer strands.
Wavy Hair: Pump your locks full of Vitamin E, argan oil and argan butter with Moroccanoil’s smoothing lotion ($420).
Color-treated Hair: If your colored hair is lacking luster, then try out the Kérastase Chroma Riche line of shampoo, conditioner and smoothing masks (from $275-484).
Flat Hair: For volume and density, spritz on L’Oreal Serioxyl Label M protein spray ($205) and frizz-control serum ($280).
All available at Toni & Guy Salon SoHo (UG/F, 3-5 Old Bailey St., Central, 2533-3833).