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Don’t Let Air Pollution Damage Your Hair! 5 Ways to Protect Your Curls

As urban babes, we live and breathe the city. But it turns out, city air ain’t so pretty for our curls. Whilst we’re soaking up those metropolitan vibes, our hair is soaking up some nasty particles from the pollution in the air.

Does pollution affect hair?

If you’re a city girl, you’ll probably know how air pollution can wreak havoc on your skin. Battling with pigmentation, inflammation and breakouts is just another step in your beauty regime. But the skin on your scalp is just as vulnerable to pollutants as your complexion is. The daily grime of urban living – from soot and smog to dust and diesel – can settle on your hair and scalp. As these pollutants build up, your scalp can become inflamed and irritated. And when your scalp is out of whack, it’s going to have a heavy effect on your curls.

A healthy scalp produces natural oils from the sebaceous glands to keep your hair happy and hydrated. Sebum creates a protective barrier on the scalp’s surface, then travels down the hair shaft to lubricate each strand of hair. When the scalp can’t do its job properly (like when it’s under attack by dangerous pollutants), the oils can’t travel down the hair strands. This leaves your curls dry, dull and prone to breakage.

So, what’s a girl gotta do to keep those urban curls poppin’? Here’s how to protect your hair from pollution in the city.


5 tips for protecting your curls from pollution


Cover your curls

The best way to protect your hair from pollution is to literally shield it. Cover your curls with a hat or scarf when you’re outside to stop the pollutants coming into contact with your hair. If hats and scarves aren’t your style, you can also wear your hair in a bun. The wrapped hair inside the bun will be less exposed to the air, and so less vulnerable to picking up those pesky pollutants. 

Credit: Knots UK
Use lightweight products

Not only does a build-up of products cause your curls to grow limp and greasy, it also makes the surface of your hair stickier. This means the pollutants in the air will stick to your hair like velcro. To keep your curls free and fancy, swap sticky creams and tacky gels for something more lightweight. Gelled with natural gum and enriched with moisture-boosting baobab oil and coconut oil for a smooth shine, our gel keeps things light and will never weigh down your curls.

Limit your wash day to once a week

When you’ve got a build-up of products the first thing you want to do is wash it all out, right? Wrong. Over-washing your hair will strip away the natural oils it needs to stay healthy and hydrated. And your curls will need all the moisture they can get to combat the harmful particles in the air. Look for a sulphate-free shampoo that cleanses your hair while keeping moisture on lock. Our shampoo is naturally cleansing and made with nutrient-rich baobab oil, scalp-soothing aloe vera and cupuaçu butter aka one of nature’s most powerful moisturisers. 

Curly hair is happier when it’s not washed too much. We recommend limiting your wash day to once a week to avoid the buildup of products and to keep a healthy balance of natural oils. But if your roots feel greasy mid-week, lather shampoo only at the roots and let the shampoo run down your hair as you rinse to gently cleanse the ends.


Be gentle with your curls

They might think they’re tough, but curls need handling with care. Avoid heat styling if you can, as it causes the chemical bonds in the hair to break down, weakening the hair fibre and drawing moisture out from the core. Once your hair is dry it loses its elasticity and is more likely to snap, so be gentle when combing your curls. Instead of raking through your hair with a brush, lather up with conditioner and gently detangle your hair with your fingers in the shower. If you can’t bear to part with your hair dryer or straighteners, try to keep the heat as low as possible and always apply a heat protection product first.


Give your curls some TLC

Using a shampooconditioner and regular mask treatment with restorative ingredients will help to repair any damage done and revive your curls to their best selves. Plus, they’ll reinforce the inner strength of the strand against harmful pollutants. We’ve added fancy Fiberhance to our deep-conditioning curl mask to penetrate deep into the hair cortex. It creates new hydrogen and ionic bonds that support and restore the internal keratin structure. There’s also cupuaçu butter to feed your hair with all the vitamins and antioxidants it needs while locking in moisture to prevent the breakage and brittleness that pollution causes.

Now you know how to protect your hair from city pollution, you can stride about town feeling confident that your curls are looking and feeling their best. 

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