As the calendar flips towards summer you’re so ready for endless sun, barbecues, beach volleyball and weekend getaways.
But is your hair?
Locking in an effective summer hair care routine is not as easy as it might seem. Maybe that’s because there are so many ways you can mess up and end up with strands that look like they came directly from Satan’s armpit.
Frustrating isn’t it?
To help with that we put together a list of 21 of the more common summer hair care missteps.
But we didn’t stop there. We also laid out some quick fixes to use to put out any resulting dumpster fire trying to pass for something Victoria Secret model worthy.
So assuming you’re all caffeined up and ready to go let’s get busy.
The Mistake: Ignoring the effects of harsh UV rays on your strands.
Damage Control: No doubt the sun’s UV rays can do a number on your mane. Two well-known ways it’s harmful is it can fade your color in nothing flat and cause dryness like a bad sunburn after a day of fun in the sun.
Not necessarily a big “aha moment” but a gentle reminder never hurts.
To combat issues like that some shampoos have UV protection built in.
If that doesn’t work for you another way to minimize the effects of the sun’s rays it just use the same sunscreen for your body on your hair. (Yeah it’s a little known hack.)
After slathering the ole SPF 15 on your arms just run your fingers through your hair. This will get any residual lotion doing double duty as the very same sun block can also protect your hair from baking in the sun.
The Mistake: Soaking up the chlorine.
Damage Control: During the long days of summer it can seem like hair damage comes at you from all angles, doesn’t it?
Which is exactly why you might want to rethink diving into the pool or ocean head first with dry hair. You’ve got enough hair traumas to fend off. No sense in needlessly adding to the list.
Here’s why. Hitting the water with dry hair is inviting your strands to soak in the chlorine or salt. Both of those demons can cause plenty of unwanted dry hair drama.
But if you just take a minute to wet your hair down first it cuts down on the amount of those drying chemicals it absorbs.
The Mistake: Washing your hair daily.
Damage Control: Ever stop and think how drying shampooing every day can be?
Solution? Dry shampoo can give your hair a badly needed break. Even a day or two of no suds each week can be a huge relief.
Believe it or not anymore there are some amazing dry shampoos to be had. Some good enough to leave you with hair that (almost) looks like you just washed even though we both know didn’t.
Or if you want another idea that will let you stop washing your hair so much watch this:
So pull out your get-out-of-hair-washing-free card and present it for healthier hair.
The Mistake: Not hitting the pause button on going blonde.
Damage Control: Do you really need someone to point out summer time is a bad time to audition a new, lighter hair color?
Backing off going blonde now is not like being asked to swear off chocolate forever.
Besides, time spent in the sun is going to lighten your hair anyway. So is now really the best time to bring on the bleach to further desiccate your mane? Talk about your blonde moment!
Still if you have your heart set on going lighter, at least consider something more low ammonia to minimize the collateral damage.
The Mistake: Ignoring the split end warning signs.
Damage Control: As warm and welcoming as the sun can be our ends eventually pay a price for too much exposure. If it gets bad enough scissors removing length is the only solution.
Don’t let it get that far.
Instead rely on dusting to keep your ends from wilting under the heat. That is you remove the tiniest of bits of hair to clean things up without sacrificing length.
Never heard of it? Get up to speed on the technique by checking out DIY hair dusting.
The Mistake: Not understanding what hot oil can do for you.
Damage Control: A hot oil rinse (applied after shampooing) can reinvigorate hair ravaged by too much fun in the sun. It can literally transform your hair.
That makes it pretty much a non-negotiable part of your summer hair care routine if you want to avoid a crispy feeling mane.
Any oil that easily penetrates the shaft, like say coconut, jajoba or olive oil will do and can work wonders.
How much to use depends on how much hair you have and the type. Start with a quarter teaspoon and see how that does. Then adjust as needed.
Oh and applying plenty of cheapo conditioner sans water given 3-5 minutes may work better for you than shampoo at getting the oil out.
The Mistake: Turning up your nose to air drying.
Damage Control: Isn’t summer hot enough as it is? Do you have make things even hotter for those dehydrated strands of yours by being a slave to the curling iron?
Hello? Why not embrace your hair’s au natural state?
Yeah maybe not all that sexy but there are plenty of cute heat free styles that can give your hair a heat break without leaving it looking like a haystack in a hurricane. Far from it even as this video clip proves:
All the more reasons those fighting frizz might want to embrace air drying as often as possible.
Or if you insist, do all you can to “save” the hot styling for special occasions. Like a moon landing or observing a total eclipse of the sun.
The Mistake: Skipping everyday conditioner.
Damage Control: Fact is conditioned hair is nourished hair. Another summer faux pas is not making time to condition properly.
If you want to skip the sabotaging of your style a very smart summer move is to step things up to a conditioner formulated for dry hair. That added moisture jolt can instantly perk up badly parched strands.
Regardless, now it not the time to skimp on conditioner. Your hair is always going to need the help when the mercury’s rising.
The Mistake: Not taking sun damage prevention seriously enough.
Damage Control: Your hair doesn’t look forward to summer nearly as much as you do because it’s a season fraught with hair hazards.
One way to minimize that when at the beach or pool is to coat your hair up with leave in conditioner and then put it up.
This does two things. One it will act as a natural barrier to block chlorine and salt. Two it will hydrate and protect against the drying effects of the sun.
The Mistake: Ditching the heat protectant.
Damage Control: Summer is also not the time to become lax with the heat protectant. If you insist on indulging your hot styling tool habit at least prep your hair for the heated onslaught.
Always a good idea in general, doing so becomes a must do during the scorching summer months. But only if you wish to keep the blow dryer from making off with your hair’s much coveted moisture that is.
Even if you dial back the heat don’t forget the heat protectants.
The Mistake: Not making time for nourishing hair masks.
Damage Control: Ask any stylist about hair masks and they’ll likely enthuse that they can be a real difference maker. Because a mask run through your mane just once a week is sufficient to coax those thirsty strands back to health.
Even a homemade DIY hair mask that goes heavy on like coconut or macadamia nut oil can act like a healing lotion for your hair without weighing it down.
Perfect for post beach sun recovery.
Here’s how one girl’s approach to tap the benefits from using coconut oil to moisturize her hair.
The Mistake: Failing to take a break from shampoo.
Damage Control: We readily recognize our undying love of lather when washing our hair. Which I guess makes us “lather loyalists”.
What we don’t always recognize is the drying effects of the sulfates behind the suds. Fact is they can suck the moisture right out of your strands.
One solution for summer is to switch to a sulfate-free shampoo.
Or you can skip the suds routine entirely and learn to love co-washing a.k.a conditioner cleansing which cleanses your locks without stripping them of their natural oils.
Heard of it? The big fringe benefit of going that route would be smoother, softer, almost magically more manageable hair.
Just one catch. No lather.
The Mistake: Not turning down the heat.
Damage Control: If your hair is already dry and getting frazzled then is more flat iron time really what it needs? Or are you just asking for trouble in the form of split ends and frizz?
Now is not the time to put in overtime with the hot styling tools. So give the flat iron a rest and learn to love waterfall braids, ponytails and cute messy updos instead.
The Mistake: Neglecting deep conditioning.
Damage Control: A great way to supercharge the amount of moisture in your hair anytime is by deep conditioning. And summer is the perfect time for it.
Deep conditioning can help soften the blow of too much sun exposure by postponing breakage and general mane mayhem.
Now some swear two or three times a week is not too often when the sun is beating down on your locks. All the more if you hair is color treated in any way.
Obviously your mileage may vary when it comes the perfect frequency. Start small and go from there.
The Mistake: Thinking some kind of sun blocking hair covering is optional.
Damage Control: Dry hair sapped of moisture is one of life’s little horrors. Who wants that if it can be avoided?
Now no one’s saying a hijab is called for (although there’s nothing wrong with that). But a cute baseball cap is certainly one way to go. Or for those times you want to look more fashionable a floppy hat or chic scarf is another.
Not only will these block the harmful rays, they’ll also help your hair retain its natural moisture and protect it from being whipped around by the wind.
Another prettifying bonus? A hat with a brim also cuts down on the sun exposure your face gets.
So cover up!
The Mistake: Blow drying like it’s business as usual.
Damage Control: If there was a season to favor air drying over blow drying it’s summer time when the living is easy. (Just not for you hair.)
Still if you still insist on breaking out that most beloved of hot tools why not become reacquainted to your hairdryer’s nozzle. It was included in the box for a reason, you know.
What it does is allow you to create that highly coveted outcome – a smooth, shiny blowout.
It also allows you to concentrate and precisely target that heated air to let you put it where you want it when styling. Perhaps cutting down on the heat exposure your hair has to endure as if it’s not enduring enough during the summer as it is.
Heated Tip: Aim the blow dryer at your arm. If it’s too hot for your skin, it’s too hot for your locks.
The Mistake: Missing an often overlooked deep conditioning opportunity.
Damage Control: Here’s how the sun’s heat can be used to your advantage since any chance to hydrate those strands shouldn’t be lost.
When you aim is to simply sit with your legs dangling in the pool why not treat those tresses to some deep conditioner, cream or mask time.
All you do is work your favorite damage repair product in, comb that through, then put your hair into a bun or topknot or some “up” style.
It’s an effortless way to let your strands take in some yummy nourishing conditioning agents while being warmed by the sun.
The Mistake: Maintaining your secret love affair with hair spray.
Damage Control: Anything loaded with alcohol is bound to dry your hair out, right? So why not resist the siren call of the extra hold?
Because if you read the label of your beloved hair spray you’ll most likely find some kind of alcohol listed well towards the front of the line of ingredients.
So I gotta ask, isn’t your hair parched enough as it is? Since I doubt it has a death wish why not nix the hair spray.
Again, and I know I keep suggesting this, but summer is the perfect time for braids, messy buns and updos or any natural style that doesn’t have to be nailed in place.
The Mistake: Failing to defend against the dreaded green.
Damage Control: Summer time obviously means pool time. Pool time can mean unflattering streaks of green in your otherwise lovely blonde hair. Not sexy. not to mention like Elmo points out it’s not easy being green.
There’s also chlorine damage to consider.
Luckily commercial products like Aquaguard’s Pre Swim Hair Defense may ward off any hint of green hair.
A sparkling mineral water rinse is said to do much the same by exorcising the copper that leads to the dreaded green.
The Mistake: Using a brush on wet hair when it’s most prone to breakage.
Damage Control: Grab your wide tooth comb instead. Wide tooth combs are best for untangling your mane since they’re easier on it than a brush is.
Brushes tend to just power through your vulnerable strands, snagging and tearing as they do.
Besides it’s easy enough to stash a comb in your beach bag.
The Mistake: Using tightly pulled back styles to keep the hair out of your eyes.
Damage Control: It’s easy to forget the damage a tightly pulled back ponytail can do.
But say your strands are getting brittle from sun exposure to begin with. Well, the added tension can only further weaken them until one day the strands snap.
That’s why something like a loose messy braid is preferable. The hair is under control so you can still excel at beach volley ball while the sun exposure is minimized. Plus you’re cooler with that heat trapping hair off your neck.
So do your fragile stressed strands a favor and think loose not tight when pulling your hair away from your face.