We have been inside for months, and now summer is here. Don’t let your summer hair reflect those doldrums you feel being cooped up at home. Summer means more time in the scorching sun. Hot, steamy weather, invites us to take frequent dips in chlorinated pools or plunges into the ocean to keep cool. If you have longer hair, you tend to put it up in a ponytail to raise it off your neck. All of these factors – summer sun, chlorine pool water, hair ties, and saltwater – can wreak havoc on your tresses and cause breakage, split ends, and frizzy hair.
“You need to make sure to keep your hair healthy during the summer months,” advises Master Stylist Jeanette Schafer. As a professional hairstylist for 20 years, she has seen first-hand the damage that can happen if you don’t take the proper steps to care for your summer hair.
Schafer offers these 10 tips to keep your hair healthy through the sweltering summer.
1. Get frequent trims. The average growth for hair is about half an inch a month, but it depends on the individual. For example, men’s hair grows faster then women’s. Hair also tends to grow more in warmer weather, so getting a trim every three months will stop the hair on your ends from breaking. If you like your hair shorter, you will need to trim it more often in the summer.
2. Use a UV protectant. There are many UV protectant products on the market that act as a sunscreen for your hair. Even some shampoos and conditioners are infused with UV protectants these days to help safeguard your hair when you are outdoors. Heat styling, pollution, and summer heat can cause damage. If you color your hair, this step could keep your color from fading too quickly. Check out the products in your local drug store or salon and use a spray or cream when heading outside.
3. Use a deep conditioning hair mask. Damaged hair looks unhealthy and dry. Conditioning masks add back moisture and luster, even repairing damaged locks. After prolonged exposure to the sun, you need to moisturize your hair like you would slather cream on your skin. Using a mask once or twice a week (or so) that is formulated for you hair type is recommended. Using a deep conditioning mask more often than that could cause build-up and greasy strands.
4. Wear a hat. There are so many reasons to wear a hat in the sun. First, it’s safer for your skin, and the same applies to your hair. If you spend the day outside, either at the beach or in your backyard, you should wear a hat. It will also prevent your scalp from getting burned and stop the sun from fading your hair if you color it. A burnt scalp is painful, itchy, and tends to peel. It is best to prevent any adverse exposure by covering your head when you plan to be outdoors.
5. Wash your hair less often. This may seem strange, especially if you are perspiring in the heat. Dry shampoos are an excellent way to keep hair fresh and clean without washing regularly. If you swim in a pool and want to wash out the chemicals, that makes sense, but overall a dry shampoo will allow you to go a few days without a wash, which strips it of essential oils. Bonus, the dry shampoo will keep your hair smelling and looking fresh. And double bonus, a cute hat can make you look great even on a bad hair day.
6. Wear your hair in loose styles. Braids are everywhere these days, and styling your hair in braids helps keep it off your face and out of sticky sunscreen. Loose braids, low ponytails, or messy buns that are not tightly wound look great while keeping hair protected and off your neck. Tighter styles like high ponies or sleek buns cause stress on your hair and add to breakage.
7. Embrace the natural look. Heat styling hurts your hair in any season, as blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons burn your hair if used daily. During the summer, take a break from styling implements and let your hair dry naturally. If you don’t like the look of your hair when dried naturally, use tip number six, and style your hair loosely for a laid-back summer vibe.
8. Use items that you have at home. To keep your hair shiny and smooth, you can add your own conditioner into a spray bottle mixed with water. Spray onto your hair to add moisture. Similarly, pantry items like coconut oil, eggs, mayonnaise, and olive oil are great for your budget and your hair. Just be sure not to add too much or apply too often – you don’t want greasy summer hair.
9. Be gentle with wet hair. The worst time to brush hair is when it’s wet. Yanking on damp hair causes breakage, which leads to frizz. While conditioning your hair in the shower, try to comb it through before rinsing it. Another option is to apply a leave-in conditioner before you brush it out. Your hair will be healthier, and there will be more of it on your head. Use a wide-tooth comb on wet hair.
10. Don’t use spray-on lighteners in the sun. It always seems like a good idea, right? But these products may cause brunette shades to turn orange or blonde strands to look white. They also dry out your hair. Of course, the sun lightens hair naturally, but ultimately, you want a natural look. Stick to highlights at the salon, added by professionals, to get the best sun-kissed summer hair look. Your stylist can also provide at-home tips for keeping your hair looking fabulous.
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Guest author bio: Jeanine Consoli is a freelance travel writer, photographer, and foodie based in Washington Crossing, PA. A retired elementary school teacher, she used her summers to feed her passion for travel and kept journals of all the destinations she explored. Today, Jeanine is working as a writer full-time. She loves uncovering the history and understanding the culture of each location, including the local flavors of each unique place. She has traveled extensively in the United States and Europe and is excited to keep adding to the list, finding special places that are off the beaten path both at home and abroad.