Sun, salt, and chlorine can lead to seriously damaged hair. We consulted stylists for the best healthy hair tips to help you end the season with shiny strands
Your Summer Hair Rescue Guide
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When it comes to summer, we think of three things: sand, sun and surf. All of which mean we're spending more time outside—because we've earned this warm, sunny days, right? But for all the summer fun you may have, the season can wreak havoc on your hair. "Sun, saltwater and chlorine are all oxidizers, which not only increase allover damage, but also dry out hair and fade color, too," explains Kyle White, lead colorist at the Oscar Blandi Salon in New York.
But with more time spent in direct sunlight and higher temperatures, says Dana Tizzio, stylist at the Butterfly Studio Salon in New York, you need to care for your hair like you would your skin—strands are temperamental right now. So whether you're suffering from a bit of frizz, a few split ends or more hardcore damage, we've got solutions—and options too. With these pro tips, you can easily cover up any beauty mistake you've made this season—and walk away with glossier, shinier strands than you ever thought were possible. (Also, nixing these 12 Hair Habits Distressing Your Strands will also help you prevent further damage.)
Photo: Corbis Images
Moisturize Often—and Moisturize Well
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Summer is the season for dry hair: Not only do environmental factors come into play, but year-round heat styling can make kind-of-healthy strands turn into straw. For starters, White recommends sleeping with a humidifier at night, since air conditioning can actually dry out hair too.
Then, use a deep conditioner weekly. DIY it with some coconut oil (White swears by microwaving a bit, applying, sleeping in it, then rinsing) or find a weekly mask to quench strands. Two we love? Kerastase Resistance Masque Therapiste, ($63; kerastase-usa.com), which is great for coarse, curly hair, and Dr. Hauschka Strengthening Hair Treatment, ($40; dr.hauschka.com) which uses all-natural neem leaf to repair hair in 20 minutes flat.
Protect Yourself Daily
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The easiest way to fix summer hair damage? Trichologist Penny James says "prevention is key." Protect strands before damage starts with a multitasking heat protectant, like Paul Mitchell Ultimate Color Repair Triple Rescue ($20; paulmitchell.com), which also adds shine and uses quinoa to help protect color from fading.
If you're heading to the beach (or the pool), we swear by the Phillip Kingsley Swimcap ($38; phillipkingsley.com), which was originally created for the US Olympic Synchronized Swimming Team. Not only does it have SPF and chlorine protectants, but it also deeply conditions, leaving strands in better condition than they were before you dove in. (Need an SPF boost? Try these Smart SPF Products that Aren't Sunscreen.)
Photo: Paul Mitchell
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If you've ever noticed your hair getting lighter during the warmer months (and who hasn't?), that's because the sun is literally bleaching your hair, explains James. But "the sun is not a pro-colorist, so sometimes its bleaching jobs come out brassy," James adds, which can result in blonde tones becoming more orange.
If you've got light strands, pick up Dessange Paris CC Brass Color Correction Creme ($12; target.com), a 10-minute, fantastic-smelling treat that removes color deposits with linseed oil and blue pigments, which neutralize orange ones. Not a blonde? You still may see some color fade, especially if your strands are dyed. At home, try Rita Hazan Ultimate Shine Gloss ($26; sephora.com), or ask for a toning, glossing treatment at your salon.
Photo: Rita Hazan
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Step away from the shampoo! While you may feel the urge to wash more frequently, fight it. Aside from the sun, it's the biggest reason you'll see your hair color fading and drying out during the summer. Try a dry shampoo, like Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Powder Spray ($25; ulta.com), to clear up any grease and boost volume at the roots, and if your ends look frayed, follow up with a dry conditioner, like Serge Normat Meta Revive Dry Conditioner, ($25, sergenormant.com) to seal the cuticle. (Having trouble cutting back? Follow these Stylist-Approved Hair Tips to Help You Break the Shampoo Cycle.)
Photo: Oscar Bland
Give Tools Time Off
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While we're admittedly a bit more addicted to our hair tools than we'd like to think, summer is the time to take a firm stance and put them down. Since hair is already drier thanks to the sun, the cuticle's more delicate—meaning breakage, color fade, and damage are all the more likely to happen when you glide a flatiron through your hair. Instead, give in and air dry. With the help of Shu Uemura Art of Hair Wonder Worker ($33; shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com), you won't miss blowdrying one bit. Just spritz in the multitasker, which hydrates, smooths, detangles, and conditions in seconds. Then let it dry and watch the magic happen.
Oh, and if you've forgone your flatiron but are still using the blowdryer, make sure you've got the right brush. "Metal brushes or bristles heat up from your blow dryer and become like an iron, putting your hair at risk for a ton of breakage," says White. Instead, look for wood, plastic, or ceramic-barreled versions.
Photo: Shu Uemura
Mend Split Ends
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If you've got dry hair—and are due for a trim—odds are you've got split ends. During the summer, "keeping up with your hair cut is a must," says Tizzio. "Stay on a schedule of every six to eight weeks at most," she recommends. Can't make it to the salon? Try a leave-in treatment which will temporarily seal the cuticle—and thus the appeareance of split ends. We like Nexxus Promend Split-End Binding Leave In Creme ($10; birchbox.com), which has keratin amino acids to help rebind split ends as well as coconut oil and glycerin to soften strands. Use it each time you wash and its mending effect will build up over time.
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Frizz can often be related to dry hair, but it can also just be an unfortunate side effect of the season—"hair responds to any atmospheric changes," says Tizzio. Plus, "if there's a lot of moisture in the air or you have already frayed cuticles," frizz is almost a guarantee. While there's no way to fix the forecast (100 percent humidity be darned!), there are products you can use to temper its effects.
Pre-styling, try Carol's Daughter Monoi Oil Repairing Sacred Strengthening Serum ($30; carolsdaughter.com), a silicone-free formula that seals up the cuticle, reversing damage and preventing fuzzies from curling up. On the go, reach for one of the Nunzio Saviano Anti-Frizz Sheets, ($18; nunziosaviano.com), which add sheen and luster to less-than-perfect hair. Keep one pack in your purse and one in your gym bag—you'll be set around the clock. (We also have an awesome DIY anti-frizz serum featured in this roundup of Make-Your-Own Products for Summer Beauty Bummers.)
Photo: Carol's Daughter
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Wanna amp up your strands even more? Reach for a vitamin. White recommends taking biotin, a vitamin B-complex and coenzyme that will help strengthen hair (plus nails and skin too!) If you're looking for some serious growth, try Viviscal Extra Strength ($50; viviscal.com), suggests White, a celebrity favorite which has also been proven to help enhance hair growth in five separate clinical trials. "With everything, including hair, healthy starts from the inside," says White.