My Trick For Taming Short, Curly Hair on Humid Days at the Beach



 (wearing: Free People leopard wideband, Tarte Power Pigment in flush, J.Crew star teesimilar sweatshirt both 30% off with code HISUMMER)

I’ve been working with these short, post-chemo curls as best I can.  But the one area that – ALMOST – completely beat me down was the beach (or pool).  Basically, any place where you combine wind, insane humidity, and the potential for a dunking was a total and complete disaster.  Remember when my hair was this short?  Yeah – in hindsight, that hair rocked.  This?  This length is just long enough to be trouble.

Don’t believe me?  Let’s take a pop quiz.  In the picture below, choose the answer that best describes how this hair will look when dry (feel free to use the helpful hints below):



A.  Oh pish-pish.  Short hair is so easy that it’ll dry perfectly straight and piecey, like Mia Farrow’s.  I’m pretty sure she rolled out of bed that way.  Helpful Hint:  NOT EVEN FREAKING CLOSE

B.  Remember when Felicity cut her hair short?  It’ll look like that – cute little curls, all perfectly defined, BOING-BOING.  Helpful Hint:  NOPE-NOPE

C.  A cross between an old-lady bouffant and bad man-hair.  Helpful Hint:  Marge Simpson and Donald Trump had a baby….


The answer is C, people.  C!

Well.  A last-minute trip to Free People cured my beach-hair woes.  Admittedly, a last-minute trip to Free People can cure just about anything, but I am especially thrilled with these little headband/turban things.  Unlike a scarf (which I did try), these things stay put really well, even in windy beach conditions.


(wearing: Free People leopard wideband, J.Crew Neon Bikini 30% off with code HISUMMER, Bobi Tank, Rayban sunnies)

Not bad, right?  I took the advice of my fellow instagrammers who had suggest that I simply embrace the crazy hair.  So instead of trying to shellack it down with gel, I used a salt spray and curl defining cream to just mess it all up on top.

Of course, my hair started winging about everywhere.  But trust me when I say that this hair is much better with headband than without.


(wearing: Free People tye-dye wideband in berryJ.Crew star tee, J.Crew sailor stripe lace-up brief, both 30% off with code HISUMMER, Rayban sunnies)


I went back to shellacking it with gel, then artfully messing it with salt spray and Not Your Mother’s Short Order Fiber Glaze Cream.  Whatever that means.  I don’t even know anymore.



 (wearing: Free People tye-dye wideband in berry, Sincerely Jules popsickle tee, Blank denim relaxed straight leg jeans….on Pax: nothing we bought recently…I cut-off a pair of old cords…but these Old Navy shorts are seriously adorbs – especially with this striped tee)


So…yeah.  That’s my new trick.

One final note:  Shannon (my stylist at Salon Ziza) used a pretty strong keratin treatment on the sides of my hair to help control some of the curl.  It REALLY helped.  Just an FYI for anyone who might be in a similar situation.

Any other ideas?  (Hats, I know.  But so tricky with short hair, so hot on the beach.)




  1. The inbetween stage is why my hair is now permanently short!
    An unrelated question, what’t that camera strap you’ve got in the first pic?

  2. My hair got curly/unruly wavy when I was pregnant with my daughter and it’s stayed that way. Learning to tame curly hair as a adult is super weird. I’ve had really good luck with the Tigi (bedhead) Curls Rock shampoo, no conditioner and leave in moisturizer. You can get it at Target. It’s in a blue bottle. My hair is longer, but it has really helped with the Frizz.

  3. I’m a big fan of a bandana, but a headband (that stays in place when it’s windy) sounds AWESOME!
    I’m sorry for sounding like a total creeper saying this, but you’re SO PRETTY!!

  4. You even make beach curls look good. I, on the other hand, look like curly sue put her finger in a light socket…
    BUT…It’s new (to me) and I haven’t used with heat per directions (if we’re being honest I globed some on out of the shower then fell asleep with wet hair) BUT Aveda Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight Hair Treatment may just be the ticket for this frizzy fright wig.
    Day one (90 degrees) hair was virtually frizz-free. When I pulled it down today (day two – after a run in bazillion percent humidity) instead of a halo of frizz interspersed with bits of “baby hair” (the stuff that grows in after you lose a ton when you give birth? Mine likes to stick straight up and/or out when it’s humid. Awesome.) it was…VIRTUALLY FRIZZ-FREE. I think I’m in love.

  5. A fellow pixie here, and I did the same wide-headband look on the beach this weekend. Definitely want to try that Fiber Glaze Cream product you mentioned…..

  6. First of all – I love you with short hair! Zee look of the short curls with the graphic tees is so very…how you say…French? Franche? Ooh la la! Secondly, I would like to say I am THRILLED with the Vita Liberata 2-3 week tanning mousse you recommended, but I will head on over to the correct thread to share my thoughts on that!

  7. Just cut my hair into a pixie – after trying a shoulder=length do for a couple of years I find myself with renewed confidence. I missed my short hair and am loving it! Of course, I’m not throwing out my bands! Love that look on you, and thanks for the renewed inspiration for this look! And I’m going to try that product you mentioned!

  8. i have shoulder length curly hair that frizzes in the humidity. aveda has some great products be curly is supposed to separate the curls.

  9. Hey Shana, I have curly hair and remember the hot, humid summers when it was short…ugh. people can’t even begin to understand the maintenance! Don’t worry, as it gets a little longer, it gets better.
    Also, something you wrote raised a red flag – many of those keratin treatments, although they sound like they are good for the hair, contain high amounts of formaldehyde and are considered a cancer risk (in fact, here in Canada the government strongly advises not using them as the % formaldehyde is not regulated.) Just an FYI in case you are thinking of doing it again – sorry for the scare but just wanted to let you know (I looked into doing it myself and then decided not to.)

  10. How do you find the sizing on J.Crew swim suits, do they run small or large? What is the cut on the neon bottoms, brief or hipster? Do you have the Neon Mango or Papaya? As always, thanks for all of the amazing ideas 🙂

  11. Thanks so much for the recommendation. My hair was curly before chemo but after it is insanely curly and can not be tamed. I am going to try these products out. I am wondering if you remember the Keratin treatment you did. I am desperate 🙂

  12. My hair was wavy/curly/frizzy before chemo, and now that it’s growing back in (at about the same stage as you), it is super curly and short now too. I’ve been doing basically the same as you – I make a side part and slick down the hair in the front and around the part with product. Then in the back and on the sides I put in curl enhancer and just let it go crazy. I will also do a lot of wide headbands too. I have actually gotten a ton of compliments! People keep asking me if I’m going to keep it this way, and I give them a look like they are crazy – I so desperately want to grow it out again. (Although I am kinda digging the short hair for the summer!) I went to my hair stylist (who also had breast cancer) and she said to just embrace the crazy curls and grow-out phase. She told me not to cut mine at all, just let it grow and grow until it gets to a more manageable length.

  13. A couple of other things from one curly girl to another:
    – mousse. Yes from the 80s. I use John Freida for summer humidity.
    – barrettes. You can find really fun ones (big funky flowers!) but having these in your beach bag is helpful.

  14. I have Neon papaya. The bottoms…I ended up getting buying & returning a bunch. They seriously have virtually every possible option.
    The bikini fit nicely in front, but the bum area was too long (not wide). So it came up oddly high. This might be fixed if I were taller, or had more of a bum.
    The string bikini fits really well – love those adjustable ties.
    The shrunken lowrider is super tiny – it barely covers my c-section scar, and is cut rather skimpy in back. Predictably, this was my husband’s fav. 🙂

    • What top did you end up keeping? Also, any sizing advice, I am between a small and medium on the sailor stripe bottoms. How do you feel about a string top and a bikini bottom?

  15. No clue – it was done in the salon. Shannon said that it was “one of the stronger ones”. Soooo…..??? I’m happy to ask if your salon needs more deets!

  16. Yeah….Shannon wanted me to not cut it at all either. We finally compromised for the summer and cut a few of the bottom curls off. I was starting to look like I had a mullet, and in the summer I just. can’t. deal. with having to mess around with hair. But I promised that there would be no cutting this Fall. Ugh. 🙂 Good luck to us both, right? Thanks for the feedback, Chick!

  17. I have curly/wavy hair that I kept pixi short for the 10 years. Growing it out to mid-back has been a real learning experience. The thing that helped my hair look the best was to stop washing it so much. Now I only wash it every 5-7 days using baking soda and water, then condition with a very light conditioner. Also, the blow dryer is not your friend. Use a t-shirt to scrunch the water out if your hair instead of a towel, add product and air dry. There is so much info about no-poo and curlygirl on the web, but these are the things that made the biggest difference for me.

  18. Anything is better than chemo chic. Once my curly post-chemo hair grew longer than an inch I decided to just cut it shorter again, super pixie short. That was yesterday. Still trying to own the look, but it’s definitely better than old-lady bouffant and bad man-hair, which is very similar to what I was experiencing. I prefer the super short pixie look.

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