Sure, you may be strategizing your warm-weather wardrobe or working on a clear skin plan before the mercury rises — but one area that needs equal attention is your hair. Summer is the most carefree of seasons, but it’s also the time of year when most of us want to do the least with our mane and still look good. If you haven’t been keeping up a moisture maintenance routine over the past few months (no judgment!), you may be dealing with a head full of dry, brittle and damaged hair. Sun-soaking and days spent in salt water and chlorine can only make things worse — so it’s best to start a new season with your hair at its healthiest state. Here’s what two hair pros suggest doing right now to ensure that your strands are in shape come summer.
1. Deep treat your tresses. As we enter the summer season, be mindful of dry scalp, brittleness, and frizz. If you’ve been heat styling non-stop for months, or just haven’t had the time to properly care for your curls, now’s the time to put in a bit more work and start weekly conditioning sessions. Use a deep penetrating conditioner such as Carol’s Daughter Green Supreme Vitalizing Conditioner ($12) every two weeks. “Also, steam treatments add a lot of moisture and help repair dryness,” says celebrity hairstylist Tym Wallace. If you need even more love, add a leave-in conditioner to your refresh regimen or apply before heat styling to help protect and nourish hair.
2. Pump up the protein. Moisture loss isn’t the only thing that’ll cause damage and dryness. A lack of protein in your strands can lead to breakage and visibly split ends. Add a keratin-infused leave-in like It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin ($21) or try an at-home protein re-builder like Lubricity Labs System ($170 for the four-step treatment) to your routine to help restore any protein loss. Wallace, who works with Yara Shahidi, also suggests giving your treatment a little boost. “Add a dime-sized amount of jojoba oil, coconut oil or castor oil to your protein treatment or deep penetrating conditioner to strengthen the hair and stimulate the roots. This helps especially for hair that has been damaged from color and heat styling throughout the winter,” he says.
3. Camoflauge limp curls. A dead giveaway of damaged strands are curls that have lost their spring. If your summer hair plan is to rock your natural coils, but months of smoothing has left them droopy, Wallace suggests wet-setting curling techniques such as perm rods or flexi-rods. It’ll help re-train your tendrils to get back into curly action. He also recommends regular trims to slowly shave off any of the damaged areas.
4. Consider a cut. If your hair is really damaged, you’ll need to trim off the dead ends to bring it back to good health. “I recommend getting a haircut with hot scissors which use high heat to seal the ends without sacrificing the length,” says celebrity hairstylist, Arsen Gurgov, who created the technique. “With a normal haircut, the cuticle stays open, whereas with hot scissors, the heat from the scissors, which can reach a temperature as high as 310 degrees, seals the end of the hair shaft, reducing the damage and allowing the hair to retain moisture better.” Once the ends are sealed, they are less likely to split, and the results get better over time as long as you continue to use them.
5. Fight frizz early. The best way to keep frizz to a minimum as temps heat up is to not shampoo the hair more than once or maybe twice a week. “You can wet the hair but if your hair is not dirty instead of shampooing it, just use conditioner only when you shower,” says Gurgov. He adds that over-shampooing is a common mistake that can leave hair dull. “A good tip is to pull your hair back into a ponytail and use the same amount of shampoo as the diameter of your ponytail,” he suggests.
6. Prep before braids. For many, twists and braids are a summer staple and a preferred protective style — but without proper prep or care while wearing, it can cause significant damage. Wallace’s advice before having braids installed is to first make sure you have a good haircut or trim. Any split and damaged ends will be more prone to breakages as you braid, so get those out of the way first. He also says that it’s very important to keep your hair hydrated and make sure that your scalp is healthy before installation. So a scalp treatment like Aveda Pramāsana™ Purifying Scalp Cleanser ($35) and a good deep condition should be on your do-list before your braid appointment. When you’re having braids done by a pro (or DIYing it) make sure they’re secured, but not too tight on the hairline. Excessive pulling and tugging can potentially lead to hair loss, both temporary and permanent.
7. Color now. If you want to try a new hue, now’s the time to do it. Gurgov recommends coloring your hair mid to late spring before exposing your hair to the sun. While lightening your hair color before the summer is the perfect time for some highlights or balayage, don’t have your colorist go more than one to two shades lighter than your natural color or you’ll risk it not looking natural. If you do get all over color, it’s important to use hair products with SPF like Klorane Protective Oil with Ylang-Ylang Wax ($18) to keep it from fading.
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