Summer Hair Care

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Protect your tresses from the summer sun.

Summer is a glorious time to relax and play—but warm summer days can do a number on your hair. Your hair may suffer from exposure to the heat, sun, humidity, chlorine, or salt water. The three main hair complaints in the summer are dryness, frizziness, and discoloration. But don’t despair—summer doesn’t have to mean damaged hair.

By taking a proactive stance you can ensure that your hair stays healthy and looking great. Take extra special care of your hair throughout the summer so you look great, feel great, and can avoid having to do damage control next fall. Here’s how:

1. Shampoo less. That’s right—at a time when you may feel like you want to shampoo more often, you need to do just the opposite. Summer heat and sun exposure are very drying. Shampoo can rob hair of its natural oils, thereby creating a vicious cycle of dryness. Cut back on shampooing if possible.

2. Switch to gentler products. Just as your skincare regimen changes for summer, so should your hair care regimen. This is a time to switch to gentle, natural products and avoid those that may contain harsh, drying chemicals. You may also wish to forego color treatments or hair straightening, as these chemicals serve to dry the hair out as well.

3. Embrace conditioner. Dry hair needs extra TLC in the form of moisture—namely conditioner. You may wish to use a leave-in conditioner during the summer, especially on days when you will be in the sun for long periods. In addition, summer is a time to schedule deep conditioning treatments. You can visit a salon for deep conditioning or do it yourself at home. Find a conditioner designed to replenish moisture, apply, place a shower cap over your hair and leave on for as long as possible.

4. Avoid heated styling tools. Your hair is already exposed to enough heat in the summer—you don’t want to exacerbate it with the blow dryer, flat iron, and curling iron. Lay off these damaging tools and go au naturel whenever possible. If you absolutely must style with a blow dryer or flat iron in the summer, consider using a leave-in conditioner before styling your hair.

5. Schedule regular trims. Summer robs your hair of moisture, leaving the ends dry and frizzy. To avoid split ends and further damage, be sure to schedule regular trims every 4-6 weeks.

6. Cover your head. Just as you use sunscreen to protect your skin, you want to protect your hair from prolonged exposure. Wear a hat or scarf in the sun—this is especially important for color-treated hair, as the sun can cause color to fade. Some leave-in conditioners contain SPF to protect the hair.

7. Protect your hair from chlorine. That pool looks so cool and inviting—and it is, just not for your hair. You don’t have to stay out of the pool for the summer. Just use some common sense, especially if you have color-treated hair. The best way to handle chlorine is with a little preventive strategy. Before you enter the pool, get your hair as wet as possible. This will prevent your hair from absorbing too much chlorine. Immediately rinse your hair after swimming—and shampoo and condition as soon as possible afterward.

Summer doesn’t have to be an endless series of bad hair days. Stay on top of your hair health to look and feel your best. And remember, it’s easier to keep your hair healthy than it is to try to repair it next fall.