Summer makes us think of beach days, dresses, shisanyamas and carefree fun!
Summer in Southy is also the time to have fun with your natural hair and to let it shine. We’re finally free from the cold, snow, and wind of winter that necessitate tucking our hair away. But we also spend more time outdoors in the summer, which presents its own challenges to keeping natural hair healthy.
So before you head to the beach or pool, here's 10 tips for maintaining healthy, beautiful natural hair this summer!
SUN: Even though the cold and wind of winter are gone, your hair still needs protection. The sun’s UV radiation can quickly damage your hair if you are outside for long, as well as burn your scalp and even discolor your hair. Use a leave-in conditioner with SPF to protect your hair and scalp, and if you know you’ll be outside for an extended period of time, cover your hair with a scarf or hat.
HEAT: The sun is already drying out your hair, so don’t amplify the effect with heat tools. (Plus, who wants to deal with a blowout in summer humidity?) So put away the straightener and blow dryer, and make the summer heat-free!
CLIMATE: Humid and arid climates have different effects on natural hair, and require different products.
- In arid environments, the dry air tends to suck moisture from your hair. In this case, you’ll need to use anti-humectants to protect your hair from drying out. Olive oil and jojoba oil are a few anti-humectants you can try.
- If you live in a humid climate, use humectants which draw moisture in from the air to moisturize your hair. Some natural humectants are honey and glycerin. However, if you hate frizz, don’t use humectants even in humid environments.
STYLING: Speaking of humidity and frizz- use them to your advantage! Summer might not be the perfect time for a blowout, but it is a great time to rock an afro, puffs, or other voluminous styles. Pay attention to how your hair reacts to humidity, and use that knowledge to try different styles and celebrate your natural hair.
PRODUCTS: Use lighter products in the summer, and less of them. Since you sweat more in the summer, limiting product buildup on your scalp will keep you from needing to wash your hair all the time, and will keep your hair from looking weighed down.
SHAMPOO: Even using less products in the summer, you might need to shampoo more often than normal, depending on how active your lifestyle is. Use a sulfate-free, clarifying shampoo after outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, running, biking, etc… anything that results in sweat, saltwater, or chlorine coming in contact with your hair. If you do these activities more than once a week, use co-wash on some days
SWIMMING: Coat your hair with oil prior to swimming. This limits the amount of chlorine or saltwater your hair will absorb (both chlorine and saltwater dry out natural hair.) We also recommend putting your hair in twists, which further limits water absorption as well as tangles. After swimming, wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo or co-wash. If you swim often, integrate protein treatments into your regimen to maintain the strength of your hair.
MOISTURE: This one is simple: keep your hair moisturized. (Do we sound like a broken record yet?) The summer sun and heat tend to strip moisture away from your hair, and shampooing more often makes it worse. Use a moisturizer or leave-in conditioner every day, or try the LOC (liquid, oil, cream) method to keep your hair from drying out throughout the day.
DEEP CONDITION: Speaking of moisture, deep conditioning is the best way to keep your hair hydrated (and nourished) throughout the summer. Deep condition at least every two weeks, and try doing it more often if your hair seems to be drying out too quickly.
DRINKING WATER: Drink lots of water and eat healthy foods! If your body is dehydrated or malnourished, your hair will be too. Most doctors recommend drinking at least 64 oz of water a day, which is eight glasses of water or two 32oz water bottles. Remember if you’re sweating, you need to drink even more!
With these tips, you are all set to look and feel amazing this summer. Have fun!