The heat of the summer months calls for adjustments across many areas of our lives — from our outfits to our workout routines. It's also a time when many of us step up our skin care regimen by putting on extra SPF and keeping our skin moisturized. While we give this extra attention to our complexion and wardrobe without any second thoughts, we likely forget to give our hair the proper care needed to combat the stressors of the summer months.
Between the heat, humidity, UV rays and days spent in the ocean and in the pool, the warmer months can take quite a toll on your tresses. Though maintaining a proper hair care routine is important regardless of the season, investing in your hair when it's more exposed to the elements can help you make it through the summer with minimal damage.
If you're wondering where to start, we reached out to a few experts to learn more about the best tips and tricks to keep your locks in top shape this summer.
It starts before you get in the pool
While you may be prepared to throw some extra conditioner in your hair after taking a dip in the pool or the ocean, creating a moisture barrier before you dive in can actually keep your hair better protected.
"Hair is like a sponge and it is better for your hair to suck up plain water instead of chlorinated or saltwater," said Stephen Thomas, hairstylist at Oscar Blandi Salon in New York.
The best way to create this barrier is by treating your hair with a combination of conditioner and water, which will prevent your hair from soaking up any unwanted substances.
"If you’re going into the water, both saltwater and chlorine can be super damaging," Stephanie Brown, master colorist at IGK Salon SoHo, told Shop TODAY. "Before going in, wet your hair with tap or bottled water then condition it to minimize damage. You can use any conditioner or even coconut oil."
Celebrity hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein also told Shop TODAY that she recommends carrying a leave-in conditioner or oil in your beach or pool bag so you can conveniently access it on-the-go. "Doing this will make a huge difference in the condition of your hair by the end of the season," she said.
Your hair needs some form of sunscreen, too
"If your hair is colored, sun can oxidize it, leaving it brassy and dull," Brown said. "Even if your hair isn’t colored, you should use hair products with sun protection or wear a hat."
If you aren't a fan of hats, there are still plenty of options that can protect your hair from sun damage. Celebrity hairstylist Irinel De León, whose clients include Chrissy Teigen and Bella Hadid, recommends wearing a scarf or a large headband if you will be soaking up some sun for a long period of time.
Beware of chlorine
Color-treated hair can be greatly affected by chlorine, which can even turn hair green in some cases. In order to combat this mishap, De León recommends using a demineralizing shampoo.
"Demineralizing shampoos are designed to remove mineral and chlorine buildup from the strands, these typically come in treatments performed at salons before hair color services," she said. "They remove the green and orange tint caused by chlorine in swimming pools."
Rubenstein recommends using a gentle clarifying shampoo once every five washes in order to rid your hair of toxins and buildup, and then following it up with a moisturizing hair mask or oil. If you're looking to maintain your color, however, Brown says she recommends shampooing less and experimenting with an apple cider vinegar rinse that can cleanse the hair and help maintain color.
When dealing with strands that are no stranger to a blow dryer or a straightener, Brown says you should opt for a heat protectant that is alcohol- and sulfate-free, as these ingredients can dry your hair out even more.
Keep your hair moisturized to help tame frizz
The overarching theme for summer hair care is moisture, so stocking up on hydrating masks, shampoos, conditioners and oils (and using them often) is the best way to care for your locks this season.
If you're looking to keep frizz at a minimum, De León recommends using products that are designed to lock in moisture.
"The reason frizz occurs is because the hair is absorbing the moisture in the air, therefore, creating the frizz effect," she said. She recommends using this light styling cream from Ouidad to help beat frizzy hair during the summer, especially for those with curly tresses.
De León also says purchasing a toothbrush dedicated to exclusive use on your hair is another trick that can help tame pesky flyaways. All you need to do is spray the toothbrush with hairspray and brush through the hairs that are giving you trouble.
Can't decide on a moisturizing product to use? Brown says a few key ingredients to look out for across the board are jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, argan oil, avocado oil and shea butter.
Read on for some expert-recommended picks that can help keep your hair healthy this summer.
Best shampoos and conditioners
This color-safe shampoo is silicone- and paraben-free, and is also safe for most hair types. It works to remove buildup and leaves you with shiny, clean hair.
Rubenstein says clarifying shampoos are a "must," no matter the season. This version from Oribe is formulated with volcanic ash and sea kelp extract to help polish and purify the hair and scalp.
To beat dry hair, Thomas recommends using this shampoo and conditioner set from L'Oréal. The moisturizing duo hydrates hair and helps protect strands against UV damage, while also boasting a light rosemary scent.
If you plan on taking frequent dips in the pool this summer, Thomas recommends this shampoo to combat chlorine buildup. It also claims to provide relief from symptoms of dandruff, which can help dry scalps over the summer.
De León recommends this rinse to help remove buildup and oil on both strands and the scalp without stripping the hair of moisture. Follow it up with a leave-in conditioner to help lock in moisture.
Best hair detanglers
Rubenstein recommends this leave-in product, which is crafted to provide protection for your hair in 10 different ways. After washing your hair, simply spray the formula all over and then comb through to nourish, detangle, add shine and more.
Using a detangler can make all the difference when attempting to combat breakage, Rubenstein says. This keratin-infused formula can be used on both wet and dry hair to keep your locks moisturized and easy to comb through.
Best hair brushes
This brush features flexible bristles that work with your hair to detangle strands without causing breakage or split ends. It's suitable for all hair lengths, types and textures.
Rubenstein also recommends this gentle brush that flexes to make brushing tangled hair less of a painful experience. It is safe for sensitive scalps and can even be used while blow-drying hair.
Best hair sprays and serums
Oils can add shine and moisture to your strands, helping to restore dry hair. This lightweight leave-in oil can be applied to damp or dry hair for a smooth and shiny look.
This serum is infused with keratin to help reduce frizz and keep hair feeling smooth and sleek. Apply to wet hair before blow-drying or apply a small amount to dry ends to add some shine.
To help protect your color-treated hair from harmful UV rays, Thomas recommends this color-locking spray. It is formulated with sunflower extract and other moisturizing ingredients that work to keep hair moisturized and shiny.
To manage flyaways, De León loves using this matte pomade. It offers medium control and a light scent that can be applied to damp or dry hair for flyaway control or added volume.
Best hair masks
"I suggest having a rotation of a couple moisture masks in your shower and rotating them," Rubenstein said. This mask is formulated with rose water and helps to provide intense hydration to dry locks, but is also safe for chemically-treated hair.
This Rubenstein-recommended mask works to repair damaged and weak hair by providing hydration and fiber-renewing properties to your locks. Apply to your ends and let it sit for five to 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly for strengthened hair.
Thomas recommends using a hair mask at least once a week, and says this quick mask works well. The vegan formula is meant to soften and smooth hair, making it easy to comb through.
For more stories like this, check out:
- How to get and maintain your best hair color this summer
- 31 summer beauty must-haves you can find at Target — all under $10
- Dealing with an itchy, sensitive scalp? Here's what experts recommend