The Mestiza Muse

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Summer Hair Care: My Best Strategies for Healthy Curls

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Image of woman with curly hair looking down with beach water in the background.

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Spending more time under the summer sun can lead to your curls becoming drier, duller, and more susceptible to damage. Curly hair naturally tends toward dryness, and when you factor in additional summer activities like swimming and increased sweating, the risk of frizz significantly escalates. However, with the right knowledge and attention to care, it’s entirely possible to maintain lush, bouncy curls as you soak up the beautiful sunny days.

To ensure your hair remains healthy throughout the summer, opt for styling methods that avoid heat and use products that provide UV protection and conditioning to guard against the summer’s environmental challenges, including sunlight, chlorine, saltwater, and humidity. Additionally, incorporating a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo into your routine can help eliminate sweat buildup without stripping your hair of its natural oils.

Embracing summer doesn’t mean you have to compromise on hair health. By exploring effective summer hair care strategies, you can enjoy all the season has to offer while keeping your curls in pristine condition. Stay tuned for essential tips on combating the top four summertime hair threats, along with practical do’s and don’ts for maintaining radiant, healthy hair during outdoor adventures.

Caring for Your Curls During the Summer Months

Image of woman with curly hair laying on the beach in the sun.

While many of us eagerly anticipate the arrival of summer, our hair might not share the same enthusiasm due to the season’s unique challenges.

The summer months bring with them specific threats that can compromise the health and beauty of your hair. Understanding these hazards is the first step toward effectively protecting your curls.

#1 The Primary Threat: Sun Exposure

One of the most significant risks to your hair during summer comes from the sun itself. The ultraviolet (UV) rays can directly impact the protein structure of your hair, leading to loss of moisture and shine. This results in curls that appear parched, frizzy, and more prone to breakage.

An important note for those with lighter hair colors, such as gray: the absence of melanin, which provides a natural defense against UV damage, means that lighter hair is particularly vulnerable to the sun’s harmful effects.

Shielding Your Curls from the Sun

Preventing sun damage to your curls involves a few proactive steps to keep them safe from the harsh effects of UV rays:

  • Seek Shade During Peak Hours: Avoid direct sunlight when it’s at its strongest, typically between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Whenever possible, opt for shaded areas.
  • Use Hair Products with SPF: Yes, your hair can benefit from sunscreen too! Before heading outside, apply a hair care product that includes SPF protection to shield your curls from UV damage.
  • Wear Protective Headgear: A wide-brimmed hat made from tightly woven fabric can offer significant protection for your hair, blocking out the sun and helping to preserve your curls’ moisture and integrity.

Here are a few hair care products containing SPF:

Aveda Sun Care Protecting Hair Veil. This is a hair mist that can help protect your hair from the sun for up to 16 hours. It is lightweight and water-resistant, forming an invisible screen to reduce damage and dryness. The mist contains Ova/cub filters from wintergreen and cinnamon bark oils to protect against sun damage, as well as vitamin E to fight free radical damage. It also helps protect against free radicals.

Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Scalp and Hair Mist. Our product is a lightweight scalp mist that dries quickly and doesn’t make your hair greasy, with dermatologist approval. It’s a scalp and hair sunscreen spray that protects your skin from UVA/UVB rays and is non-comedogenic. The SPF 30 Glow is water-resistant, oil-free, and reef-friendly, suitable for all skin types. It’s free of Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Gluten, Cruelty, and Paraben.

COOLA Organic Scalp Spray & Hair Sunscreen Mist. This product provides both sun protection (SPF 30) and nourishment to your hair and scalp. It contains a blend of plant-based antioxidants and sunscreen that will help maintain your hair color while also strengthening damaged hair. It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes and is safe to use on hair that has been color-treated.

OUAI Hair Oil, Multitasking Oil Protects from UV. This oil has multiple benefits such as protecting color from fading, preventing heat/UV damage, smoothing split ends and frizz, and adding extra shine for any occasion.

BENEUNDER Bucket Hats for Women UPF 50. This sun hat can fit most head sizes and has reversible sides with different colors. To switch sides, simply detach and reattach the drawstring. The hat also provides UPF 50+ sun protection for your eyes, face, and neck while keeping you cool under the brim.

#2 The Water Threat: Guarding Your Curls Against Swimming Hazards

Image of Black woman floating on her back in a pool.

Swimming, whether it’s doing laps in a pool or enjoying the ocean, can be tough on your curls. The culprits? Chlorine in pool water and the high salt content in seawater.

Chlorine is notorious for stripping away the natural oils that maintain your hair’s condition, leading to weakened hair that’s more prone to splitting. This chemical, essential for keeping pool water clean, can also deteriorate the protein bonds within your hair. Similarly, the salt in seawater draws moisture out of your hair, leaving it dry and fragile.

How to Protect Your Curls While Swimming

To shield your hair from the damaging effects of chlorine and saltwater, consider these protective measures:

  • Pre-Swim Conditioning: Before jumping into the water, apply a leave-in conditioner, hair mask, or oil to your curls. This creates a barrier between your hair and the harmful elements, helping to preserve its health and vitality.
  • Post-Swim Rinse: After swimming, make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly with fresh water. If a shower isn’t immediately accessible, a quick spritz with clean water can help minimize the damage until you can properly wash your hair.
  • Opt for a Swimming Cap: While it may not always fit your fashion goals, wearing a swimming cap is an effective way to protect your hair from direct contact with damaging water.

Here are a few recommended products:

  • Bounce Curl Leave-in Conditioner. This leave-in conditioner is a must-have to protect your hair from pool water or ocean water. It has been clinically tested and will protect your hair from dry air, UV rays, and harsh weather conditions.
  • Underwater Audio AquaGuard Pre-Swim Hair Defense. This product is better than shampoo because it can prevent chlorine damage and green hair before they occur. It also protects natural hair color, smoothens the hair, and prevents dryness and brittleness.
  • After Swim Shampoo and Conditioner Set. This swimmer’s shampoo and conditioner set, containing tea tree essential oil and argan oil, can help protect your hair after swimming. This duo is multipurpose and helps to clarify various mineral deposits, especially in hard water.
  • AquaGuard After-Swim UV Leave-In Detangler. This essential misting spray is for swimmers and sunbathers. It helps eliminate tangles and frizz while soothing and softening your hair. Additionally, it neutralizes the harsh smell of chlorine and makes post-swim styling a breeze. AquaGuard is perfect for all hair types, including those with dense curly hair, platinum blonde hair, and color-treated hair. Don’t swim without it!

#3 The Humidity Threat

Image of a woman with frizzy curly hair.

High temperatures often lead to increased humidity, as the air holds more moisture. This excess water vapor in the environment can penetrate your hair strands, causing them to swell and potentially disrupt the structure of your hair.

As humidity rises, the swelling can be so intense that it damages the hair’s cuticle, leading to unwanted frizz and flyaways. Dry or damaged hair is particularly vulnerable, eagerly absorbing moisture from the air, which exacerbates frizz. This is why hair that has been overexposed to the sun, seawater, and chlorine becomes more susceptible to the effects of humidity.

Protecting Your Curls from Humidity

To combat frizz caused by high humidity, incorporate these strategies into your hair care routine:

  • Cool Water Washes: Rinse your hair with cool water to help smooth and seal the cuticle layer. If cold water is too much of a shock, lukewarm water is a good compromise. Consider using cold water specifically for your final rinse to maximize the smoothing effect.
  • Condition Regularly: Always use conditioner after shampooing to decrease your hair’s likelihood of absorbing moisture from the air.
  • Incorporate Nourishing Products: Adding a quality oil, serum, gel, or leave-in conditioner to your styling regimen can further seal the cuticle and protect your hair from the humid air.

Recommend hair care products:

  • OUIDAD Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Stronger Hold Gel. This is my go-to gel for dealing with extreme humidity. It uses Anti-Frizz Nano Technology to seal the cuticle and prevent moisture loss so that curls remain well-defined and free of frizz. The product also has a UV filter that protects hair from damage caused by the sun and other environmental factors.
  • Bumble and Bumble Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil. This product is a combination of gel and oil that provides hydration, bounce, and shine to hair while also protecting it from humidity and UV rays. It also contains a mixture of oils (Avocado, Coconut, Jojoba) and butter (Shea, Cocoa) that deeply moisturize hair, minimize frizz, and increase shine.
  • Jessicurl Confident Coils Styling Solution. This product provides more control than curl enhancement. It can be used alone for added hold and protection from frizz and humidity.
  • Mizani Thermasmooth Shine Extend Anti-Humidity Spritz. Use this spritz as the final step to protect against the humidity.
  • Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray – This is a spray that has won multiple awards for its ability to prevent frizz. Its special formula makes your hair waterproof even in extremely humid conditions. Additionally, it gives your hair a shiny, smooth appearance.

#4 The Sweat Factor Threat

Image of a Black woman with coily hair jogging in the street.

Summertime Hair Threat #4: The Sweat Factor

The allure of beautiful summer days often inspires more outdoor activity, enhancing both mood and physical wellness. However, the increased heat also means our sweat glands are more active. For those who love to stay active, the impact of sweat on hair is a familiar concern.

Sweating plays a critical role in regulating body temperature, but it comes with its own set of challenges for hair health. The salt content in sweat can lead to an itchy scalp, clog hair follicles, and dry out your curls, leaving them parched and prone to damage.

Keeping Your Curls Sweat-Free

To prevent sweat from spoiling your hair’s health and appearance, consider these effective strategies:

  • Timely Cleansing: It’s essential to wash away sweat accumulation before it leads to issues. Since frequent shampooing can be harmful to curls, many opt to limit hair washing. However, after intense exercise, it’s important to gently cleanse your hair. Choose a mild, moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping your hair of its natural oils, and always follow up with a deep conditioner to restore hydration.
  • Use Dry Shampoo Sparingly: For those days between washes, dry shampoo can be a lifesaver. It absorbs excess oil and sweat, extending the life of your hairstyles without the need for frequent washing. Just be sure to use it in moderation to maintain scalp health.

Recommended hair care products:

  • Righteous Roots Clarifying Shampoo. I recommend using this shampoo to get rid of scalp and hair odor and sweat build-up. It contains tea tree and grapefruit peel oils, which gently cleanse your hair and remove product buildup without drying it out.
  • The pH Stabilizing Spritz. One of my favorite products to use after a sweaty workout is this spritz which refreshes your hair. It helps to get your curls back on track by re-balancing the hair’s pH level and smoothing down the cuticles.
  • Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Scalp Mask. This treatment is perfect for those experiencing a dry scalp that feels itchy and sweaty. Its main purpose is to hydrate the scalp and restore important moisture after exfoliation. The key ingredients are binchotan charcoal, which detoxifies, and aloe vera and hyaluronic acid, which provide hydration.
  • Ouidad Botanical Boosting Mist. You can use this amazing curly hair refresher spray as a pre-workout application and also as a post-workout rehydration treatment to revive and restore your hair’s bounce and liveliness.
  • TrailHeads Women’s Running Hat with UV Protection. This women’s running hat has a customized fit for women and can be adjusted using a hook and loop closure. It has a 50+ UPF rating that provides excellent UV protection. Additionally, this hat dries quickly to keep you comfortable throughout your run.

Hair Care In Summer: Do’s & Don’ts

Visit the salon for a trim at the start of summer. Let the pros snip off split ends and crunchy bits to stop breakage in its tracks.
Choose to go blonde as summer begins. You might be tempted to lighten up your hair as the days get brighter, but bleach can dry out hair, making it more vulnerable to sun, chlorine, and seawater damage.
Wash your hair only when needed and only with a sulfate-free shampoo. Or use a super-gentle co wash (and a mild clarifying shampoo every week or so for deep cleansing). 
Over-wash or under-wash your hair. Both extremes harm your hair and scalp.
Let your hair air-dry. Apply your favorite styling product to enhance your natural texture, then add a pretty satin headband, embellished barrettes, silk scarf, or a satin-lined baseball cap, and you’re good to go. Carefree vibe perfected!
Use heat-styling tools. The sunshine, chlorine, seawater, humidity, and sweat give your hair enough to deal with. Let it have a break from heat styling.
Eat lots of different nutrient-rich foods and plenty of protein and good fats.
Down sugary cocktails instead of nutritious foods (even if brightly colored drinks look much more enticing than broccoli trees).


Summer can be hard on your hair. It’s not only the sunshine that takes the oomph out of curls but also the swimming, sweating, and humidity that come with hot weather. Now that you know what to watch out for and how to protect your hair from every threat, you can flaunt fabulous curls no matter how many pool parties and outdoor adventures you have on your summer social calendar. 


I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

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