How to Protect Your Hair This Summer

Summer is right around the corner! By now, we've all perfected our summer sunscreen routine. But what about our hair?

Our hair takes a beating during the summer. Between the sun, humidity, chlorine, and salty ocean water - our hair spends the summer counting down the days until fall starts.

In the salon, a lot of the work we do during the summer and early fall is repairing and restoring damaged hair. Harsh chemicals and the elements can destroy everything from extensions and wigs to balayages and highlights. 

This week, I'm sharing my tips to protecting your hair all summer long! Share your own summer hair care routines in the comments section below.

Protection Against the Sun


I used to love how light my hair got every summer from the sun. Little did I know that UV rays actually break down the cuticle of the hair causing it to not just get lighter, but also become damaged, dry, and frizzy. To protect your hair against the sun:

  • Wear a hat. For the best coverage, opt for a wide-brimmed, tightly-woven hats over baseball caps and straw hats.

  • Cut back on shampoos. Your natural hair oils help protect your hair against the elements, so avoid over-shampooing your hair and stripping your hair of its natural oils. Try using a dry shampoo if you feel your hair getting oily.

  • Use a hair mask. The sun doesn't just leave you dehydrated, it also dries out your hair. Use a moisture mask at least once a week to restore your hair to its normal levels of moisture.

  • Use SPF hair products. There are a lot of good SPF shampoos, sprays and masks on the market to protect both your hair and your scalp (because no one likes scalp sunburns).


Protection Against Humidity


This is something we're all too familiar with here in Houston (95 but feels like 120, am I right?). In the salon, humidity and frizz can feel like they're one in the same. Because everyone experiences frizz in different ways, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with humidity. Talk to your hairstylist about what would be best for your hair. Here are some general tips for protecting your hair against humidity:

  • Invest in anti-frizz products. Add an anti-frizz product to your haircare routine this summer. Ask your hairstylist about which product would be the best for your hair.

  • Use a moisture mask. Frizz occurs because of an inconsistency in the moisture distribution throughout the hair. Adding moisture back to the hair with deep conditioning treatments and masks can help reduce frizz.

  • Do not pick up the hot tools. If you frequently curl or straighten your hair to tame your frizzies, do not use your hot tools more in the summer. Your hair is already struggling from dryness and damage - applying direct heat to it will only exacerbate the issue.


Protection Against Chlorine


Chlorine is one chemical your hair was not made to withstand. Its harsh "let's kill all germs and bacteria in the pool" properties strip the hair of its natural oils and moisture causing the hair to dry out and break. To protect your hair against chlorine:

  • Wet your hair before getting in the pool. Your hair is like a sponge - when it's dry, it can soak up a lot more water than if it's already damp. By wetting your hair before going into a swimming pool, you're ensuring that your hair doesn't soak up as much chlorine.

  • Rinse, rinse, rinse. Rinse your hair after leaving the pool to start the process of getting the chlorine out of your hair.

  • Using a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoos are the heavy-duty stain removers of the shampoo world. Depending on how often you get in the pool, add a clarifying shampoo into your routine. It's not meant for everyday use, but works wonders when used once or twice a week.

  • Wear a swim cap. Swim caps create a barrier between your hair and the chlorine water. They are your best bet to make sure your hair isn't too effected by chlorine.


Protection Against Salt Water


Who doesn't love a good day at the beach playing in the waves? Your hair. Just like salty foods makes you thirsty - salt water makes your hair thirsty. To protect your hair against salt water:

  • Apply a leave-in conditioner. Salt water is very dehydrating. Applying a leave-in conditioner to your hair before you get in the water helps protect your hair from the damage caused by salt water.

  • Rinse, rinse, rinse. Rinse your hair after leaving the ocean to start the process of getting the salt water out of your hair.

  • Use a moisture mask. Masks and deep conditioning treatments add the missing moisture back into your hair after a day at the beach.

This post was originally published on July 17, 2018 and updated on April 29, 2019.