If there’s one thing past summer escapades have taught us, it’s that all that frolicking in the sun isn’t nearly as fun for our hair as it is for us. Rocking luscious beachy waves may be your hair goals this bikini season, but the sun may have other plans for your locks. Think dry, frizzy hair and an itchy and flaky scalp.
“Summer weather can be very rough on hair,” says Antoinette DeMattia of Parlor Blow Dry Bar. “High heat, humidity and exposure to sunlight can make even the healthiest tresses dry and mistreated. Even ocean and pool water can cause damage that could take weeks to remedy.”
“Just as your skin needs protection from the sun, so does your hair. In the very humid months, the hair takes that humidity and begins to swell, causing the cuticle of the hair to break, and as a result—frizz,” adds celebrity hairstylist Dayna Goldstein.
To protect hair from the elements, locking in moisture and shielding it from the sun are key. Floppy hats and scarves not only make your vacay outfits Instagram-worthy, they also block UV rays that damage your hair and scalp. Another way to minimize damage while out in the sun is by checking the ingredients of the products you use. “Products with alcohol like gels will dry out your hair even more,” says Mari Reed, senior district leader for Supercuts in Tampa, Florida. “Instead, use creams, lotions and oils to get the texture and wave you’re looking for.”
Want more tips on how to summer-proof your tresses? Read on to find out what the hair experts are saying!
Chopping off a few centimeters of your hair at the start of summer lets you “get rid of split ends and refresh your style,” says Bernhards Ziverts, owner and master stylist of Matii Salon. A quick snip mid-season and at the end of the hot months also lets you control any damage your hair may have gotten and makes repair easier to handle.
With temperatures and the sweat factor rising, you don’t need to punish your hair further with blow-drying and styling. “Let your hair be. Embrace air-drying, braids and slick buns in the summer,” says Patty Mocarski of New York-based The Little Space Salon. Want curls the natural way? Sleep with braided hair overnight! Just don’t forget to prime with anti-frizz, shares Goldstein. To switch things up, Goldstein suggests trying out accessories like hats, scarves and headbands “to pull together a look without having to do too much to your hair.”
Salt water, chlorine and heat can leave your hair looking dull and frizzy. “In the summertime, oils and leave-in conditioners are important to always have on hand,” says Goldstein. They’re great for quick hair fixes, taming frizz and creating a moisturizing barrier especially when outdoors, while a cleansing conditioner will wash away impurities and keep your hair hydrated.
Keratin treatments and the occasional gloss in between color services are important to keep brassiness under control during the hot months. To keep colored hair from looking limp and dull, Reed suggests washing it with a mild clarifying shampoo once a week. “It’s important to use a sulfate-free shampoo when you wash. That way, you don’t strip away key nutrients.” Before swimming, DeMattia also suggests spraying extra hair protection to prevent “the dreaded ‘green glow’ from salt and chlorine.”
You can’t have healthy locks if you ignore your scalp, so make sure to keep it hydrated and protected. “Give your hair and scalp a good detox once a month with a really good clarifying shampoo that will strip away any buildup,” says Mocarski. A hydrating scalp treatment cream will also keep dandruff, flakiness and sun damage at bay.
Together with a wide-brimmed hat, your best weapon against the summer heat is “a product specifically formulated to shield hair from the sun,” says Ziverts. A leave-in spray with UV protection works like sunscreen for your hair and keeps it from being dehydrated.
“Before going out in the sun, spray wet or dry hair and re-spritz your hair each time you put sunscreen on your skin,” he adds. For your scalp, apply extra sunscreen on the exposed parts to prevent sunburn.
Hydrating masks are a great way to restore health and moisture to your hair after a full day of beach-bumming. “In the summer, you should do a bi-weekly hair mask to add bounce to your hair to keep it looking vibrant and healthy all summer long,” says Reed. Another way to amp their power, according to Mocarski, is by using a generous amount in your hair then tying it in a bun or braid and applying low heat from the blow dryer.