On a trip to New York, lunch with an expat beauty industry executive began with “so you got the candy floss hair too?” She then offered a fist bump of solidarity over the unruly, somehow simultaneously flat and inflated arrangements of frizz on both our heads.
I’m so used to the slightest humidity expanding my hair to a kinky, wispy shambles that I had long since given up on trying to correct its behaviour. But the extremity of the New York heatwave – and the fact that I had carelessly omitted the glass-jarred JVN serum (£24) from my suitcase – prompted me to experiment with products promising to take on the impossible.
Kérastase is arguably the industry leader in care products for problem hair, so I started (and could have finished) there. Its excellent Discipline Fluidissime Spray (£29.05, for all hair types) works extremely well, albeit at a price, and when applied to damp, towel-dried hair and followed with a blowdryer (hardly desirable in a hot climate). Used like this, it keeps hair smooth and frizz-free, retaining reasonable volume, and its lovely scent keeps one feeling fresh even after walking by a dumpster of steaming food waste.
On dry hair, however, it performs less well, which is where I turned to Living Proof No Frizz Instant Defrizzer. This is formulated for dry, on-the-go application, and while it did a good job in instantly smoothing frizz and tangibly softening my hair (which felt immediately silky), I’d say it worked a little too well, flattening my roots and leaving a sort of glaze that could easily pass for grime.
That said, I subsequently gave my can to a friend with thick, curly coiled hair, and she has declared it a handbag essential for unexpectedly humid or drizzly days, and so its efficacy and value for money (it’s pricey at £25) is very much hair-type dependent.
My most successful emergency measure was when I ducked into Chelsea Market and dispensed a blob of (vegan) R+Co High Dive Cream from a tester tube on the shelf. A five-pence-piece-sized dose instantly defrizzed without grease and left my humidity-frazzled hair soft and glossy.
Would I pay £24.50 for a full tube? If I lived in year-round humidity, then I probably would. But in the British climate, I’m content to write off the odd day and scrape it back in a scrunchie until it’s once again safe to hang loose.
Join Sali Hughes as she discusses her new book, Everything is Washable, with friend and fellow writer Caitlin Moran on 14 September