Surviving and Combating the Most Common Summer Hair Issues

Aly Walansky
summer hair care


There’s a lot to love about summer, but humidity and the resulting frizzy, dried out, sun ravaged hair is not among those reasons. Add the damage of wind, water, and chlorine and our hair is in crisis mode all summer long — meaning we need a big  prescription of TLC. To help you fight the most common hair issues of summer, check out the expert tips below!

Summer heat, wind and humidity inevitably causes frizz. Reduce frizz by drying your hair with a cotton t-shirt instead of a towel. A towel’s texture can cause a ton of friction which disrupts the cuticle and creates frizz, while the flat surface of cotton t-shirts absorb water without causing friction, says Bill Murphy, celebrity hairstylist and creator of Recitals Hair Care.  Make sure to squeeze your hair, not to rub it, while drying, then blow dry on a medium to cool setting to close the cuticles and avoid frizzing.

For hair that is already dry or damaged, frizz will be your worst enemy. If you always blow dry, in the summer use an Argan oil (like Oribe’s Gold Lust) in your wet hair in conjunction with an ionic blow dryer, says celebrity stylist, Richard Marin. You will find that your blowout lasts longer and the ions in the dryer dry your hair from within the cortex of the hair to reduce frizz. The dry time is also shorter and hair is shinier versus other dryers which dry the cortex of the hair from the outside layer into the hair.

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Go easy on the products. It’s easy to go overboard on the products in an attempt to smooth and tame frizz, but it ends up just weighing hair down and dulling your hair’s natural shine. Nick Penna, Jr. of SalonCapri in Boston recommends spraying dry hair with a very light coat of Kerastase Resistance Double Force Finishing Spray. It helps seal the cuticle and provides strands with anti-humectant ingredients that fight frizz all day, without the stiffness of other sprays.

Ditch your brush. If you opt for naturally dried summer hair, Penna suggests using a wide toothed comb (1/2-1 inch between teeth) to disperse a daily leave-in product such as Shu Uemura’s Touch of Gloss Brilliant Melt in Balm. Bristled brushes will frizz hair in humid climates, so keep a comb in your purse to smooth and detangle hair throughout the day.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can also often result in sunburned scalp. An easy remedy for tender or dry scalps (or even limp hair) from product build up is to use cucumbers. Slice a cucumber in quarters and rub vigorously on your scalp, says Murphy. You can use the cucumber on your hair as well, but do go deep into the scalp. This will effectively soothe and moisturize the dry scalp and eliminate product build up.

Prevent color fading. When we spend more time outdoors during the sunny summer months, our hair color tends to fade more quickly than usual. Rather than coloring your hair more frequently, eSalon Color Director Estelle Baumhauer recommends regular use of a color enhancer, which will boost color vibrancy without requiring chemical processing.

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When poolside, remember that this may leave hair color looking unnaturally brassy because of chlorine. Also keep in mind that hair roots eventually become the tips, so maintenance is key. Hair color fades naturally with every washing, but even faster with the harsh detergents in conventional shampoos.

Condition it up. Do a pre-wash and condition before hitting the ocean or pool. Most beaches/pools have public showers. You might think it’s weird to shower before getting in the water, but allowing your hair to soak up fresh, filtered water prevents it from absorbing the more harmful properties of chlorine or salt. Also, if you can, spray or comb in a leave-in conditioner to further hydrate—it will further protect your hair from damage. No public shower? Just go with a spray in conditioner!

Lighten up. Summer is the time to let your hair go a couple shades lighter, says Penna, but avoid using homemade remedies like lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide. While these are effective at bleaching your hair, they are also effective at increasing breakage and dryness.

Keep it simple. You’ll have a long-lasting, more manageable style if you enhance your natural texture instead of straying from it, says Antonio Corral Calero, Global Creative Director for Moroccanoil. If you have curly hair, try to avoid a straight, sleek look and opt for wash-and-go curls.