May 10, 2023
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You’re not imagining that the more time you spend outdoors soaking up the summer sun, the drier, duller, and more damaged your curls become. Curly hair is more likely to get dried out at the best of times. Add sunshine, swimming, and sweating to the mix, and you risk a frizz fest. But with know-how and care, you can keep your curls lush and bouncy while you enjoy the glorious sunny days.
You can keep your hair in good condition throughout the summer by choosing heat-free styling and applying UV-shielding and conditioning products to protect against environmental threats like sunlight, chlorine, saltwater, and humidity. Also, remove sweat build-up with a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo.
You don’t need to give up what you love about summer to protect your hair. Let’s dive into the world of hair care in summer and make sure your mane stays magnificent all season!
Keep reading for the top 4 summertime threats to healthy, happy hair (and how to save your curls from each one), plus do’s and don’ts for looking after your hair while you live it up outdoors.
You might look forward to summertime, but your hair likely dreads this time of the year because of its extra hazards.
These are the main hair-wrecking threats to watch out for in summer and ways to protect your hair.
The sun’s UV rays attack the hair’s protein, stripping moisture and shine from curls and leaving them thirsty, frazzled, and breakable.
Good to know: Lighter-colored hair (like gray) has an increased risk of sun damage because it lacks melanin, a pigment that protects hair from UV harm.
Protect Your Curls
Here’s how to stop the sun from spoiling your curls:
• Stay out of the sun when its rays are strongest (from about 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon) and stick to the shade when you can.
• Apply a hair care product containing SPF (yip, sunscreen isn’t only for your skin!) before you go outdoors.
• Wear a tightly woven, wide-brimmed hat.
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.
Swimming can roughen up your curls, whether you enjoy laps in the pool or splashing in the sea.
Pool water’s chlorine and seawater’s high salt content do the damage. Chlorine removes the natural oils that keep hair in good condition. This go-to chemical for sparkling blue water can even break down hairs’ protein bonds, making them weaker and more likely to split. Salt-rich seawater pulls water from your hair, leaving it dry and brittle.
Protect Your Curls
Follow these tips to save your hair from the harmful effects of chlorine and seawater:
• Coat your hair in a leave-in conditioner, mask, or oil before you dive into the pool or sea. A conditioning product will create a protective layer to keep chlorine and salt away from your tresses.
• Rinse your hair after swimming (or at least spritz it with clean water).
• Wear a swimming cap if this accessory won’t clash with the style statement you aim to make.
Here are a few recommended products:
The air traps more moisture when temperatures are high, raising humidity levels. The water molecules in the air then enter your hair strands and force them to fold back on themselves.
When humidity levels soar, your hair can fold back so much that it breaks its outer layer, the cuticle. Then you get frizz and flyaways.
Dry, damaged hair soaks up whatever moisture it can get from the air, which is why overprocessed, neglected hair is more likely to frizz. Exposing hair to too much sun, seawater, and chlorine can also turn it into a humidity hog.
Protect Your Curls
Tame humidity-triggered frizz with these tricks:
• Try washing your hair with cool water to smooth down your cuticle. Just brace yourself and turn on that cold tap! Or if you can’t face icy water, make it lukewarm, not hot. You could also save the cold water for your final rinse.
• Always condition your hair after washing it to drop the chance it will suck up the air’s moisture.
• Add a nourishing oil, serum, gel, or leave-in conditioner to your styling routine to help seal your hair’s cuticle and keep humidity out.
Recommend hair care products:
Beautiful summer days make me what to get out and move. The activity boosts my mood and body. But, coupled with the heat, it also gets my sweat glands going. If you’re a fan of active living, you know what I’m talking about.
While sweating is essential to cool down your body, you risk an itchy scalp, blocked hair follicles, and parched curls (because of the salt in your sweat) when you sweat a lot.
Protect Your Curls
Here are tips to stop sweat from getting in the way of good hair days:
• Cleanse away sweat before it can build up. Shampooing too often can damage hair, so curlies often keep hair washing to a minimum. But leaving sweat on your hair also risks hair health. Don’t overdo the washing, but do cleanse your hair after intense workouts. Just stick to mild, moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo and deeply condition your hair afterward.
• Occasionally reach for dry shampoo to give you more time between regular washes.
Recommended hair care products:
|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 had to listen to what my hair needed...my curls are finally ready to take in some moisture again!!!
- renee, Stylist Liaison
“I truly couldn't have gotten through this without her knowledge, advice and support...after suffering from Hygral Fatigue and getting tons of advice @themestizamuse.”
“@themestizamuse: for ESSENTIAL information you will NEED TO KNOW in order to see results.”
See how easy the topics are to find on her page (a few posts screenshot)? There is no topic Verna hasn't covered.
- dominique P, wavy hair enthusiast
“I have learned a whole heap of knowledge from @themestizamuse.”
Inspiring hair tutor, grateful for what she offers the Curly Community in authenticity, passion, and knowledge.
- zoe F, Producer & Host of The Curl Squad
“I was so excited to embrace my curls and take better care of them. As I started to dive in, I immediately became overwhelmed with the information.”
I read books and tried doing things because "that's what I'm supposed to do," but it didn't always work and I didn't understand why. I'm so grateful for Verna and her blog. Her info. actually helped me understand more of the science of why some methods helped and what products or ingredients to use and why. Anyone that compliments my hair and wants to start a curly journey, I tell them to start here. My hair is so much healthier and I'm so happy with it.
- stephanie, Curly hair enthusiast
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