Dew Points and Natural Hair! Really?!

I am an avid watcher of The Weather Channel and at one point I secretly wished to be a meteorologist.  I believe this is both a fascinating and scary time to be involved with the study of the weather.  I can’t say exactly when it was that I became fascinated by the weather, but it probably occurred when I lived in Miami for nearly a year back in the late 70’s.  That year spent in Miami with the same weather day after day for months on end quickly became monotonous and caused me to miss the seasons. I tuned into the climate thereafter and it’s impact on nature, my mood, the mood of others, and its impact on my energy level, whether I want to get out into the world that day or lay low.  Though truth be told, the weather has rarely kept me from going anywhere I really wanted to go and it certainly never determined how I would wear my hair or which products I would use.

Recently there was a natural hair brunch given by Natural Hair Does Care and I was really taken aback when the topic of dew points came up.  Yes, long story short there are some sisters who are checking the dew point (relative humidity) on a daily basis to determine how they will wear their hair and which products they will use depending of the level of the dew point.  I kid you not!


Now my concern with this is a topic, has to do with the extremism that I continue to observe and feel is pervasive among black women and the lengths they will go through to achieve that ‘perfect’ look now that their hair is natural. And this one takes the cake.  Checking the dew point!  Really?!  When you get right down to it, in most cases this attempt to control their hair has to do with the perceived length and texture that Naturalistas wish to present to the world. Many want their hair to appear long, as long as possible.  Others want their hair to appear ‘curly’. That’s a whole other ‘head trip’ for another post…

On some level this to me is yet another sign of the ever-persistent indication that we are [still] not in total acceptance of our hair. Yes, we all want our hair to look great. And yes, there are styles and products that do enhance and define our textures but checking the dew point on a daily?  The point of going natural, is to gain acceptance of our hair and what it does, naturally. It’s a kind of meditation just to check that out.  But it seems today, folks go natural and then they go crazy with one new tangent after the next. And often times there’s some type of extremism going on…  If it rains or it’s humid, I know my hair is going to shrink and I can feel/sense that thickness in the air without downloading an app to my phone to check the dew point.  And guess what?  If it shrinks, then it shrinks – “let it do what it do”.

I can understand that you may be going to a special event and perhaps you don’t want your 10 inches of tresses to shrivel up to 3 inches, so you wear another style or just accept that your hair like the many other elements in nature, will be affected by the weather that day. Don’t get me wrong if it’s that important to you, then by all means do what you’ve got to do. Down load that dew point app. But I would encourage you not to.  Instead tune into your environment and train yourself to be able to know the ‘dew point’ and the level at which your hair is going to change by tuning into your hair, it’s texture and its needs.  See how it changes with the weather and how you can be creative around that.

When we truly accept our hair we won’t need a dew point meter or app. And however our hair is behaving that day, will just be how it’s behaving.  If you want it to be perfect then there is the option of not wearing it out/loose but instead wear a “protective” (braids, twists, wig or weave) style.  I have been wearing the so-called ‘protective’ styles or styles that are not affected by weather (like Locs) for years. I am back to wearing my own hair out again and it bothers me not that it changes,  shrinks, is more kinky on this day than that etc. because of the weather or the dew point.  Instead, I actually find it fascinating to see how it changes from day to day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for manipulating your hair and trying different techniques and products to nurture and style one’s hair, but checking the dew point… Yep, that’s extreme!  And again, I encourage all naturalistas to seek balance and acceptance of their tresses.


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