Though summer comes with the joys of the beach, the pool, and lots of sunshine, our hair can take quite a beating during the summertime. All of these factors can cause our hair to become more dry and damaged.
Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can! And today we are sharing some hair care practices to protect your hair before going out and how to give it some TLC when you get home:
From the chemicals we are exposed to, water quality, heat styling tools, dyes, and UV exposure, these are all real factors that can cause our hair to look dull and dry.
A moisturizing conditioner or hair mask can be deeply hydrating to the hair follicle while also leaving a shiny sleek finish. Especially important if you use hot styling tools!
Leave your conditioner for a few minutes to work its magic and then rinse it off well with cold water.
Avoid the heat
Heat styling such as blow-drying, curling, and straightening is damaging to the hair follicle. In the summer we are already exposing our hair to more heat so we recommend avoiding extra damage by allowing your hair to air dry naturally as much as possible.
This also applies to hot showers! Cold water is best for washing hair as the hot water can strip away the natural beneficial oils and also weaken your hair.
If you deal with frizz, try tying your hair into a loose braid after the shower and leave it to dry overnight. You'll wake up with beachy waves, the perfect summer look!
Get a cut!
The ends of your hair will be the most dry and brittle which can result in breakages such as split ends. The tips are also more susceptible to damage from the sun. Getting a regular cut can help to keep your hair healthy and strong while giving you that fresh look!
Eat hair healthy nutrients!
It's not just about what you expose your hair to on the inside, it's also what you ingest on the inside!
Because food provides the building blocks for the body, it also provides us with the resources to build strong and healthy hair.
Antioxidants - help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body which can help to repair hair follicles, increase circulation to the scalp, and promote healthy growth. If you find you are losing more of your hair, antioxidants will be important to help reduce further hair loss. Antioxidant-rich foods include berries, leafy greens, avocado, green tea, cacao, turmeric, and oregano.
Omega 3 - essential fats, these are naturally anti-inflammatory which can help to reduce the damage done to the hair follicle and improve hair density (1). You can get omega 3 fats into your diet by including wild fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, walnuts, chia seeds, almonds, and pecans.
Silica - found in many shampoo formulas, silica is a mineral that can help keep your hair follicles strong and prevent any further breakage while also promoting shiny looking hair. Silica can be supplemented or found in foods such as mango, whole grains, oats, bananas, spinach, green beans, tofu, and rice.
Biotin - B vitamins, such as biotin, help to convert the food we eat into energy and while promoting repair and regeneration of tissues in the body, including hair. Biotin is a well-known vitamin and supplement to support healthy hair though more research is needed to support these claims (2).
You can supplement with biotin or consume foods such as organ meats, eggs, avocado, cauliflower, berries, fish, legumes, and mushrooms which are particularly rich in the vitamin.
Just like your skin, your hair is sensitive to damage from the sun's rays. To ensure optimal protection, wear a hat before going outside, wide-brimmed is optimal because this will also help to protect your eyes!
Hair elastics can cause damage to the hair follicle as well as promote hair-splitting and breakage, thus changing up your hairstyle and avoiding tying it up can help to keep it healthy. Let it loose, tye it up in a braid, or pull it back using a headscarf or headband.
Fabric hair tyes are also a better option than the classic hair tyes with metal bands.
Avoid tying up your hair with an elastic when it is wet because this is when it is the weakest.
Protect your hair with UV shampoo
Just like your skin, your hair can become damaged from sun exposure. Now we don't expect you to apply sunscreen on your head, but it turns out you can buy products that are UV protectant. These are specially formulated to preserve hair color and protect the hair against the damaging effects of the sun, sea, or pool.
Less is more
Over-washing your hair will strip it of its natural oils and can actually result in more dry and brittle hair. If you are a wash your hair everyday type of person, try every other day and increase from there. The less you wash your hair the less you will need to!
If you are having a hard time skipping the shampoo days you can also try a dry shampoo to help get you through and minimize any oiliness.
Some brushes can be more damaging to hair than others. If you struggle with frizzy hair, a wide-toothed comb is more gentle on your hair and can help to reduce any frizz. Brushing your hair can help to circulate the natural oils from your scalp throughout your hair to result in more shine and also increased circulation to the scalp which can promote hair growth.
Avoid brushing your hair when wet and instead brush it out before you take a shower to avoid additional breakage.
Finishing off your shower with a cold rinse can help to seal the hair follicle and retain moisturize resulting in increased shine and less frizz.
Warm water is typically recommended for washing the hair as it can allow for deeper cleaning and removal of dirt or build-up while cold water is recommended for conditioning the hair at the end of your shower.
Use natural remedies
We've spoken about the chemicals in beauty products before, and it's just as important to be mindful about what you put on your hair as it is your skin!
Haircare products can contain dozens of chemical ingredients linked to adverse health effects (3).
Thankfully, there are now many brands that have formulated safe products that use natural ingredients without any synthetic chemicals added. You can find out more using the Environmental Working Group's clean beauty database.
There are also many natural home ingredients you can use that have been shown to promote healthy-looking hair:
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is commonly used in formulas as a hair rinse due to its acetic acid content. Being acidic, apple cider vinegar can help to bring the hair's ph back into balance specifically benefitting hair that is dry or brittle and promoting shiny sleek looking hair.
This vinegar is also recommended during gut infection protocols such as yeast overgrowth because it has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. This can help topically to reduce scalp irritation, itchiness, or even dandruff (4).
As apple cider vinegar is quite potent, always dilute it in water before applying as a rinse to your hair. You can let it sit for a few minutes while massaging into your scalp before rinsing out.
Just like apple cider vinegar, coconut oil seems to do it all!
Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that can improve the appearance, growth, and health of the hair while also protecting against UV damage.
Coconut oil is a particularly beneficial oil for the hair as it is well absorbed into the hair shaft and can even reduce protein loss, thus helping to prevent hair loss (5).
This oil also has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties which could help to prevent or treat scalp conditions such as dandruff or flakiness (6).
While highly moisturizing and nourishing to the hair follicle, coconut oil is quite heavy so we recommend using only a tiny amount on your hair to avoid overly greasy hair.
You can do more than just cook with avocado oil!
Avocado oil acts as a natural heat protectant by coating the outer layer of the hair follicle with moisture, which makes it an ideal topical application before using styling tools or exposing yourself to the hot summer sun.
It can also help to prevent breakage due to its moisturizing and lubricating properties. You can use avocado oil as part of a mask, conditioner, or even as a scalp massage. Remember, a little goes a long way!
Argan oil is well known as a Morrocan beauty treatment for healthy skin and hair. Pure argan oil can be used for many beauty and body care purposes, and you only need a very small amount to reap the benefits!
Argan oil is non-greasy which means it is a great option to use as a leave-in conditioner to help tame frizz and leave hair feeling shiny and strong. Argan can also be applied before using hot hair tools to protect hair from damage. Start with a drop of the oil to avoid weighing down your hair and any greasiness.
About the Author
Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals.