Between the heat, humidity, sun, and water, summertime can really do a number on previously great-looking locks. While frizz-free hair may seem like an impossibility as heat waves sweep the country, don’t give up on your tresses just yet. Instead, follow these tips and styles to keep your hair in tip-top shape all summer long.
Start summer off with a trim.
Cut the frizz—literally—with a trim or even a new, shorter haircut at the beginning of summer. A trim gets rid of dead ends, which tend to frizz and stick out of your otherwise sleek hairstyle. Plus, the less hair you have, the less frizz you’ll have to manage. We’re loving Jennifer Aniston’s adorable medium-length bob (“lob”) above.
Protect your hair from sun and water damage.
You know that sun and water can damage your skin, but did you know these natural elements can do the same to your hair? Both chlorinated pool water and salty sea water dry out your hair, and the chlorine can transform a great highlights job into a dull, green-tinged mess. To avoid these ill effects, rinse your hair off with clean fresh water as soon as you’re done, or better yet, wash it. If you’ll be out in the sun all day, cover up your hair with a hat or scarf to protect from rays.
Turn down the heat as temperatures rise.
It’s tempting to crank up the heat on your flat iron or hair dryer as you’re styling, but that extra heat is exactly what your hair doesn’t need during the dog days of summer. It’s best to skip such styling tools altogether, but if you absolutely have to use them, put them on the lowest heat setting possible to avoid further damage to your locks. In addition, try taking cold or lukewarm showers instead of steaming hot ones to further avoid torching your hair.
When it comes to humidity, prevent rather than cure.
Speaking of showers, frizz-free hair actually starts with shampooing, not styling. Hair tends to frizz because it’s trying to absorb moisture out of humid air, so look for sulfate- and alcohol-free shampoos since these chemicals strip moisture from your hair. Conditioners with proteins and natural oils will also help restore the lost moisture, and if your dry hair is really struggling in the heat, a weekly deep conditioner can do the trick.
Be kind to your cuticles.
Your hair cuticles, that is. While a quick towel dry when you hop out of the shower may be efficient, it disturbs hair cuticles and therefore the natural pattern of your hair, leading to frizz and sometimes even breaking off hair strands. Swap out your thick, rough towels for thin, smooth cotton ones (or even old t-shirts) and gently pat your hair dry without messing up the natural hair pattern.
Find a serum that works for you.
Silicone seals your hair to it from absorbing moisture and therefore frizzing, so many serums such as John Frieda Frizz-Ease Thermal Protection Hair Serum use it as a base (as a bonus, the John Frieda serum contains UV inhibitors for sun protection). However, silicon can weigh hair down and make it look greasy, so if you have trouble with that, try a silicon-free serum such as Living Proof’s Satin Hair Serum instead. For maximum frizz fighting, run some product through your wet hair before styling it or letting it air dry.
Break those brushing habits.
Many of us brush our hair with the same regularity that we brush our teeth. However, brushing dry hair is a sure-fire recipe for instant frizz since it disrupts your cuticle and breaks hair strands (much like drying it with a rough towel does). Only brush your hair while it’s wet, and even then try ditching the brush for a comb: it will detangle your rats while still being gentle and preserving the hair pattern, thus reducing frizz.
Work with your hair’s body.
Some days, your hair will frizz no matter your best efforts. For these dog days, have a couple styles in mind that you need lots of volume and texture to pull off. This strategy will keep you looking put-together even when your hair is doing its best to go crazy. For inspiration, check out this roundup of 10 easy summer hairstyles that Sarah Webb over at Venus Trapped in Mars put together.