Hair ye! Hair ye! Houston is hair-challenged!

One study of 94 cities has Houston near the bottom

If you watch my weathercasts, then you know I include a Haircast and for good reason: our weather around here is fearsomely frizz-friendly and curl-cratering.

A new study presents the styling proof, combing through 2021 weather data in 94 U.S. cities. Assigning scores for high and low temperatures, rainfall, wind, relative humidity and dew point resulted in ranks from hair-tacular to hair-rrible!


Notice a pattern?

Clearly, California gets bragging rights for fair hair weather. Hair’s the lowdown: Curly hair is dryer and more fragile than straight hair due to the hair follicle (tiny holes in our scalp where the hair grows from) and its cuticles (outer protective layer of the hair consisting of overlapping cells). According to a co-founder of hair care company Windle and Moodie, Neil Moodie: ”Curly hair is drier than straight hair because the natural oils produced by our scalp can’t travel as easily down the hair shaft like on straight hair.”

Curly hair has an oval-shaped follicle compared to the circular-shaped follicles of straight hair. Curly hair’s cuticles also tend to be more raised than straight hair, thus they absorb and lose more moisture than straight hair.

How the weather affects hair seems pretty obvious:

High humidity = frizzy, poofy and shapeless

– Low humidity = dry and fragile

Wind = tangles and knots

Rain = frizzy or flat

Extreme temperatures = dry and unmanageable

But the dew point temperatures are KEY

Given all that, relative humidity is just that -- relative. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air so the percentages you see on the weather are how much moisture the air is holding at the current temperatures relative to how much it could hold (obviously at 100% the air will release that moisture and we usually have rain or fog).

Dew point temperatures are better gauges of just how dry the air really is or isn’t. The ideal dew point temps for cute and curly are between 40-60°. Those are generally our fall to spring dew points.

Houston’s hair ranking

Of the 94 cities on the study list, believe it or not, Austin came in eighth. I’m not sure how that happened because Dallas wound up 72 and Houston came in at 87. We were only down-listed by Brownsville at 93. No. 1 on the list is Anaheim, California, while dead-last went to West Palm Beach, Florida, at 94.

Don’t desp-hair. This study also came with some curl-saving tips if you prefer to live in a frizzy world, like this one from Shirley Hollick: “Use conditioner to wash your hair, not shampoo. Shampoo makes it more frizzy, and conditioner does clean your hair. Scrunch when wet, and finish with mousse for curly hair to define curls even more. When dry, fluff with fingers.”

The complete study from tajmeeli may raise a hairy eyebrow or two, but I found it really interesting and now I can give you an even better Haircast going forward. After all, nobody likes a brush with disaster.


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with four decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.