Every season has its pros and cons, right? When it comes to this time of the year, some of the pros would be that the weather is warm, the days are longer and it’s also traditionally when we all take some sort of much-needed vacation. As far as “cons” go, one of the biggest ones is that summer can cause complete and total chaos with our hair. That is, if we’re not careful. By “careful”, what I mean is, being proactive about taking especially good care of our tresses from now until Labor Day.
In order to stay one step ahead of summertime, it’s important to know how it can damage your hair. That way, you’ll be able to implement the steps necessary to prevent any of that from happening. If you’re ready to do that, this article will provide a pretty helpful breakdown.
3 Ways the Summer Season Wreaks Havoc on Your Hair
1. UV Rays Do a Ton of Damaging Things to Your Hair
If UV rays have the ability to damage your skin (and they do), they can certainly do the same thing to your hair. As far as your locks are concerned, when you spend too much time in the sun, it can literally fry the outer layer of your hair. That will lead to discoloration and oftentimes really dry and brittle tresses too. And if you ignore this, your hair could end up thinning out and breaking off.
2. Saltwater Strips Your Hair of the Moisture That It Needs
As for saltwater, I’m not just talking about swimming in the ocean. Technically, sweat is saltwater too and when your hair gets too much of it, it tends to pull all of the moisture out of your hair, making it difficult to detangle or style. As if that isn’t bad enough, if your hair is color-treated, saltwater can fade your dye and even create split ends.
3. Chlorine Dries Your Hair Out
Do you plan on spending a lot of time at the pool this summer? If so, just remember that chlorine isn’t your hair’s best friend either. It’s a chemical that can also dry your hair out. In fact, it can make your hair weaker overtime because it has the ability to eat away at the structure of your hair strands. Something else that chlorine does is remove many of the amino acids that make up your hair which also leads to extreme dryness.
How to Protect Your Hair During the Summertime
Now that you know some of the main ways that the summer season can ruin your hair, let’s touch on some of the things that you can do to prevent that from happening.
Use a leave-in conditioner
Whenever I write an article about how to keep your hair healthy and/or moisturized, you’re probably always going to see me shout-outing leave-in conditioners. That’s because it’s one of the easiest ways to keep moisture in your hair — which is something your tresses are going to desperately need all summer long. A cream-based one is pretty thick. My recommendation is to apply that before getting into a pool or ocean. Otherwise, if you just want to give your hair a bit of a moisture boost without messing up your hairstyle, go for a leave-in that comes in a spray. Spritz your hair before working out, going out on an outdoor date or doing anything that will cause you to sweat and/or spend more than 30 minutes (give or take) in the sun. It’s a simple thing that can make a really big difference.
Do more pre and post rinses (to combat saltwater and chlorine)
Did you know that whenever you rinse your hair in hot water, it separates the cells that help to form your hair’s cuticles? That should be reason enough to rinse in cooler water; if you need another one, cool water helps to seal your cuticles. That’s why it’s a good idea to rinse your hair with cool water before excessively sweating or swimming in an ocean or pool. Cool water will help to seal in the moisture that you already have and that will make it more difficult for saltwater or harsh chemicals such as chlorine to penetrate your cuticles too much.
Drink more water
Reportedly, 75 percent of Americans are severely dehydrated, no matter what time of year it is. So, just imagine how much more this is the case between June-September! For the sake of your overall health and well-being, you need to drink plenty of water. You also need to do it in order to replenish your hair because the reality is that water makes up about 25 percent of your hair’s structure (pretty amazing, right?).
Eat raw fruits and veggies
So, what if you’re not the biggest water fan on the planet or you want to find other ways to get more water into your system? A workaround is to eat raw fruits and veggies that have a high amount of water in them. Some of those include berries, celery, oranges, cucumber, peaches, spinach, watermelon, cruciferous vegetables, pineapple and zucchini. If you eat all of these raw, you’ll get to take in lots of water and a concentrated form of nutrients that are in them too. Fresh summer salad, anyone?
Apply a carrot seed, avocado and coconut oil blend
A bit of an oil blend can also protect your hair. Carrot seed is good for your tresses because it conditions your scalp (and helps to prevent it from feeling itchy and irritated). Hair-wise, it moisturizes and strengthens your hair which prevents hair loss and split ends. Avocado oil is a great hair oil because it gives your hair a bit of “slip” which makes it easier to detangle. It’s also effective at protecting your hair from environmental damage like pollution, ocean water and sun rays. Coconut oil is awesome because it contains properties that will prevent a dry scalp, its fatty acids will protect your hair follicles and stimulate hair growth and it’s about 20 percent effective at shielding your hair from UV rays. A teaspoon of each, mixed together and applied to your hair a couple of days a week can do wonders.
Wear a protective style or wrap your hair up more often
Whether you want to give your hair a break from the heat, the humidity or how much you manipulate it whenever you style it, you can never go wrong with a protective style. Just make sure that you only keep your style in for six weeks at a time and that you still nurture your scalp in the ways that I’ve already mentioned (and that you give your hair a 2-3 week break after taking it out). Oh, and if you decide to wear your hair wrapped up in a turban or scarf for a lot of the summer season, applying a leave-in conditioner is an absolute must. Also, try and go with a fabric that lets your hair breathe and reduces your chances of scalp and hair sweating a lot. Organic cotton and silk immediately come to mind. Since both fabrics also help to regulate your body temperature, you can’t go wrong with those.
Pamper your ends
It can’t be said enough that the reason why a lot of us aren’t seeing as much progress as we would like when it comes to length retention isn’t because our hair isn’t growing; it’s because our ends are breaking off, just about as fast as the hair that’s coming out of our roots is coming out. You’ve already seen that the summer season can’t wait to dry your hair out and since your ends are the oldest part of your hair, you need to “baby them” as much as possible. I actually wrote an article on how to do this for the site a while back. For tips on how to take care of your ends, check out “10 All-Natural Ways to Protect Your Ends (That Aren't Protective Styles)”. Don’t just read it — follow through. It's one of the best ways that your hair will survive this summer heat!