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We all love the summer – what’s not to love about BBQs with friends, time off from school, and lounging by the pool? But keeping your hair healthy and looking great with hot temperatures, humidity, and exposure to tons of sun and chlorine is no day at the beach. Summer conditions can damage your hair's cuticle, resulting in dry, drab, split, brittle, or frizzy hair and ragged ends. All types of hair, from fine to super-thick and straight to curly, can suffer.
Here are a few tips to help your hair weather the summer unscathed:
Wet your hair before swimming in a pool – Here’s a good trick – if your hair is wet before you enter a pool, it won't soak up as much chlorine!
Limit your time outdoors – The strong summer sun is as damaging as blow-drying your unprotected locks with a super-hot dryer with no diffuser – that’s pretty bad! Think about the damage you’ll do if you’re spending hours a day outside, which can be tempting in the nice weather. Practice sun safety (not just for your hair, but also for your skin) by avoiding peak sun times when the sun is strongest (usually between 12-2 p.m.), opt for the shade instead of direct sun, and use hair products with SPF. Yup, it’s true that hair can get sunburned, just like the scalp! Hair products that contain moisturizers and SPF protection will work wonders for your hair and will also help protect color treated hair from fading.
Get Trims Regularly – Split ends are a big problem during the summer. To avoid them, you should have your hair trimmed on a regular basis during summer months (most hair stylists recommend getting your hair cut every six weeks). By getting your hair trimmed often, you can eliminate a lot of split ends and damaged hair. You should also invest in a leave in conditioner for your hair.
Take special care of color-treated hair. Color-treated hair is already damaged, the sun will make the cuticle even rougher, which makes hair more fragile and dried out. Take care of color-treated hair by deep conditioning using a product containing keratin, jojoba oil, wheat germ protein, or other natural ingredients that increase moisture, shine, and elasticity.
Give your tresses a shampoo break –Hair needs to be treated more gently during the summer. Consider switching to a more moisturizing and gentler shampoo like Phytojoba. Finish with a cool or cold water rinse to seal the hair cuticle and create natural shimmer.
If possible, shampoo less in the summer to allow your hair to absorb natural oils and be healthier.
Go natural –I have super curly hair andhate the way it looks, so I usuallytry to straighten it every other day during most of the year. During the summer months, though,when hair tends to be moisture-deprived, I suck it up and try to embrace my natural style. If you normally use hot styling tools like I do (blow dryers, hot irons, rollers), give your hair a rest during summer months. Air dry whenever possible; if you absolutely can’t live without your blow dryer, use a leave-in conditioner designed to protect your hair against dryer heat.
Limit the use of hair chemicals (bleach, hair color, relaxers, and chemical straighteners) as much as possible. Depending on your hair type, you may also want to consider avoiding hair care products that contain known forms of alcohol, which may be drying out your locks even more. Consider switching to hair care products that are as natural as possible.
Here are some helpful tips from stylists:
"Hair shines naturally when it's free of excess oils and residue," says stylist Diana Conte of Bumble and Bumble Downtown Salon. "So, using a shampoo that gently clarifies and a conditioner that hydrates without causing build-up will help enhance shimmer. Since it tends to be more humid in the summer months, applying a lightweight silicone product to damp hair will protect against frizz while enhancing shine." And as a touch-up, celebrity stylist Rodney Cutler recommends hairspray: "A good one can add shine and repel humidity without weighing hair down."
Try Bumble and Bumble Shine On Finishing Spray, $25, available at Bumble and Bumble; Bumble and Bumble Let it Shine Shampoo, $22, and Conditioner, $22, available at Bumble and Bumble; and Redken Quick Dry 18 Hairspray, $14.50, visit Redken for salons.
"If you want to cut down on frizz, the hair has to be 100% dry to fight the humidity," says Amy Abramite, Creative Director at Maxine Salon. "Humidity creates curl and volume in naturally curly or wavy hair textures, and walking out into a humid environment with slightly wet hair is going to add to the problem. I also recommend using a flat iron to smooth the cuticle down even further for a double whammy on fighting frizz. You can also add dry shampoo or a little baby powder to the scalp to help absorb perspiration or humidity before it causes the hair to frizz. To apply baby powder, shake a little into the hands, rub together, and then massage into scalp."
"In the summer months we experience a lot more exposure to direct sunlight, and this can cause excessive dryness to curls," say Miss Jessie's founders, Miko and Titi Branch. "Continue your deep-conditioning regimen from winter, and don’t forget to dab a little extra on the ends." They also recommend using moisture-enhancing products from wash to styling, and their one tip for summer curls: "Have the right haircut. You can condition your hair and have the right styling products to seal in your curl, but without the right cut your curls won't fall in the most flattering way." To finish a look and keep curls smooth, Diana Conte recommends mixing a silicone serum with a moisturizing creme.
Try Lush R&B Hair Moisturizer, $18.95, available at Lush; Bumble and Bumble Bb.Grooming Creme, $26, available at Bumble and Bumble; and Miss Jessie's Creme de la Curl Cleansing Creme, $16, available at Miss Jessie's.
Rodney Cutler, celebrity hair stylist and the founder of CUTLER/Redken salon, says: "If your hair is a little oilier in the summer, concentrate the shampoo at the scalp—not the ends. If you don’t shampoo the scalp, when you brush you’re just going to distribute the oil through the mid-lengths and ends.”
Tell us your own tricks and tips for fabulous hair!