Summer weather can expose your hair to the dehydrating effects of the sun outdoors and air conditioning indoors. Here are five hair care tips for protection from sun and heat damage, in addition to other sources of environmental stress, to keep your hair looking healthy all season.
1. Shield Strands from Sun Damage
Just as overexposure to the sun can damage skin, hair can also suffer sun damage. Prolonged sun exposure without ultraviolet light protection can make hair discolored, dry and brittle. Damaged strands may be frizzy or thin, less capable of retaining vital hydration and more prone to breakage.
One of the best summer hair care tips is to use hair sunscreen or styling products that have a Sun Protection Factor of at least 30 to protect your strands and scalp from sun damage. If you plan to spend a long time outdoors or are concerned about hair that is already damaged or dry, wear physical sun protection such as a hat or scarf.
Dark or coarse hair may have higher levels of natural resistance to sun exposure, but all hair can suffer sun damage. Fine or light-colored hair lacks the protective elements of thickness and pigment. Dry, tightly coiled strands are also susceptible to the dehydrating and damaging effects of sun exposure.
2. Heat-Free Summer Hair Care Tips
The sun damages hair with a combination of high heat and ultraviolet light. The temperature outside may be high, but heat styling tools are much hotter. Even if you use heat protectant, hair may be more prone to suffer styling damage when it is hot outside.
Reduce the frequency of heat styling by creating looks with defining or texturizing products. If you still want to wear styles achieved with heat, use dry shampoo and use hair oil to replenish shine and keep a look going for more than one day between washes. Unless your hair is very oily, additional oils may help to keep strands from drying out.
3. Nurture Hair After Sun Exposure
If you expose your hair to direct sunlight for a long period of time, there are several helpful hair care tips to minimize damage. Look for an after-sun treatment to replenish hydration levels and repair damage. It can also be helpful to treat your scalp, particularly if you are experiencing cumulative effects of repeated sun damage.
The buildup of sweat and water from swimming in hair calls for regular cleansing. Look for a hydrating or damage repairing shampoo and conditioner. Hair care products such as deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner or a hair mask can also restore the condition of sun-damaged strands.
4. Protect Hair From Pool and Salt Water
When you swim in a chlorinated pool or salt water, it is important to follow up with nourishing hair care products. As with most of the best hair care tips, there are also a few preventative measures you can take. Many hair care experts also recommend wetting your hair with clean water before taking a plunge to reduce the amount of treated or salinated water strands absorb.
If your hair sustains damage from swimming, consider using a protective product and styling your hair in a high bun to limit water exposure while wading or swimming casually. For more intense or prolonged water activities, consider wearing a swim cap. A swim cap can keep the sun off your scalp and strands, prevent tangles from forming in water and make it possible to wear protective treatment or conditioner underneath to counteract damage.
5. Trim Dry Ends Before Summer Starts
Some hair care tips can guide a long-term strategy to maintain healthy hair all summer and year round. Eliminating split ends from which damage can spread is a good way to keep hair looking good all summer long. If you don’t want to lose length or you plan to keep up your regular styling routine, it is even more important to protect hair from sun damage.
These hair care tips are applicable for hair of every color, type, and texture. Sun protection is particularly important for color-treated, processed, or damaged hair. Protecting your hair and scalp from overexposure to sunlight can go a long way towards keeping your hair healthy. If you’d like more hair care damage control tips, check out this article from the American Academy of Dermatology.