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Want healthier hair? 5 tips to protect your strands this summer

As much as we love summer, this season can be a bit of a hot mess when it comes to hair care. Here's how to keep your hair healthy!
/ Source: TODAY

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As much as we love summer, this season can be a bit of a hot mess when it comes to hair care. TODAY Style Squad member, Bobbie Thomas, is here to deliver some sweet relief for your tresses in the form of sun-protecting products, curl creams, cleansers and styling tips that require little to no heat.

SPF for your strands

While you probably know to protect your skin from the sun’s powerful rays, don’t forget to protect your hair, too. I spoke to celebrity colorist Rita Hazan — who’s new Lock & Block protective finishing spray seals strands from humidity while helping color last longer and delivering a boost of shine — to get her best tips on summertime tress protection.

  1. Saturate your strands with clean water before diving into the pool or ocean to help act as a protective barrier.
  2. Mix a sun-protection product with water in a spray bottle to create a DIY spritz you can reapply all day at the beach or pool.
  3. Give yourself a "sun spa" treatment by adding conditioner to your wet strands then wrapping them in a bun or braid while lounging. The sun and heat outside will activate a deep-conditioning effect.

For a little low-maintenance hair TLC, add a light gloss or styling serum and braid your hair before traveling. It will give you two days of hassle-free hair you can simply undo for gorgeous, beach-y waves.

Rita Hazan Lock + Block protective spray, $26, Rita Hazan

Rita Hazan

Air-dry stylers

Great news for all you curly-haired women! Embracing your hair's natural texture (even the frizz!) has never been more en vogue.

A new category of serums has emerged to help you to skip the dryer and spend less time in front of the mirror this summer and beyond. Lightweight polymers smooth and define while conditioners nourish thirsty locks. You'll find this new category of air-drying aids at every price point, with formulas designed to address a range of hair types — from thick coarse curls to fine thin strands. Plus, Goody’s Quick Style brush removes about 30 percent of the water in your hair, helping you cut down on drying time.

Goody Quick Style brush, $14, Walgreens


L'Oreal Air Dry It Style cream, $4, Target


Garnier Smooth Air Dry cream, $4, Target


Redken NBD cream, $10 and up, Ulta


Pureology Air Dry cream, $28, Ulta


Bumble and Bumble Don't Blow It fine hair styler, $16 and up, Sephora


Half-the-heat styling tips

If you can get by with air drying your hair but still want to add a little polish to the finished look, we have some low-heat styling tips you can try.

  • If you use a hair iron to put a sleek finish, turn the heat down lower than your usual setting. The results will look office-ready but feel slightly more natural.
  • For modern, Gisele-like waves (which are easier to achieve than more traditional pageant curls), are a lot easier on your hair. Try twisting or braiding large vertical sections of hair, then running a flat iron over the pieces to add some heat and set the style. Hold onto the ends of your hair for a few seconds afterward to set the style while it cools, leaving runway-ready texture when you let it drop.
  • Avoid running your flat iron or curling iron over your ends. That’s where your hair is most susceptible to damage (hello, split ends!) so stop about an inch or so before the tips when applying heat. This technique is also the secret to achieving the most modern waves — straighter ends look effortless!

Re-think clean

No-poo? Co-washing? Say what? These new products aim to strengthen hair with less-stringent formulas and more natural ingredients.

Cleansing conditioners (the updated version of a classic 2-in-1 product) continue to gain popularity and help clean your hair without overdrying it. For some, you might consider using a cleansing conditioner in between regular shampoos if you need to give your hair a break. And for an even more natural clean-hair solution, get in on the apple cider vinegar trend! An ACV rinse can remove impurities from the scalp and hair while conditioning your strands.

No Poo, $10 and up, DevaCurl


Low-Poo, $22 and up, DevaCurl


Mother Dirt shampoo, $15, Mother Dirt

Mother Dirt

dpHUE apple cider vinegar hair rinse, $35, Ulta


TODAY Style Squad member and author of "The Power of Style," Bobbie Thomas shares the buzz about beauty, fashion and more on TODAY and at Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.