By Dawna Matthews:
Summer is amazing– the sun, the monsoon season, swimming and playing outdoors. During all seasons of the year, our hair and skin changes with the weather, and summer is no exception.
During the summer, our hair can dry out because heat from the sun deteriorates the protein in hair, which in turn lightens it, making it dull and brittle. Additionally, the increased humidity adds frizz and unruliness, and swimming in oceans and pools takes away moisture from our beautiful hair. With all this exposure to the natural world, our hair needs extra special attention to combat the effects of the sun, increased heat and humidity. Luckily, there are some simple summer hair care tips.
- Protect – Your hair will naturally lose color due to the sun, which can make it look sun kissed. However, over the duration of summer, it can start to look dull or even take on a brassy color. This is when you need to protect your hair and scalp. Although it’s difficult to use a hair sunblock, you can protect yourself with a hat, scarf or bandana. These items help provide UV protection and retain moisture, as well as keep your hair protected from wind damage.
- Frizz Control – My hair is naturally curly, and I find it a challenge to keep the curly locks from turning into a mane during the summer. Even if your hair isn’t naturally curly or prone to waves, any sun damage or damage from coloring or heat appliances (straighteners, blow dryers, etc.) roughens the hair cuticles and enables water molecules in humid air to infiltrate the hair shaft, causing it to swell. One easy way to reduce the frizz is to lay off the hair dryers and heat applications, and allow your hair to air dry and let the waves flow. Or, just wash your hair and run your fingers through it instead of brushing it. If you must tame it a little, use a wide toothed comb to minimize breakage.
- Wash Less, Condition More – Hotter temperatures can push the sebaceous glands into overdrive, creating more oil. It may sound counterintuitive, but when you wash your hair, all the oils (including beneficial ones) are stripped. You should wash your hair less often, perhaps every other day, to avoid stripping it of essential oils. A natural hair conditioner is simply apple cider vinegar and water (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) used as a rinse. Another great conditioner is coconut oil. Twice a week, apply no more than a tablespoon of it from the ends to the roots of your hair after shampooing, then rinse. This adds softness and moisture without adding oil slicks.
It’s super easy to enjoy all of summer’s gifts without worrying about your hair. When you add even one of these tips to your routine, you will start to see a difference. Sometimes, I find the breeziest way to care for my hair in the summer is not to fight it, but to let it loose or just throw it into a quick ponytail without brushing. I find the least effort produces the least frustration and allows me to enjoy my summer days and nights.