The summer heat provides the perfect weather for lounging by the pool, but it can also wreak havoc on your curls. Our hair is exposed to all sorts of elements during the summer: chlorine, UV rays and salt water, not to mention the hair’s worst enemy—humidity.
So what can you do to protect your hair from these elements? Curly hair Guru Anna Craig, CurlStylist writer and owner of Trashy Roots Salon in Round Rock, Texas, offers these curly hair care tips for summertime.
The sun and the chlorine from the swimming pool create dry, thirsty curls by stripping the hair of its natural oils. All of the chemicals in your neighborhood pool have a negative effect on your hair—especially if it is chemically treated or colored. If your hair is blond or light brown, the chlorine can even turn your hair green!
“We have some little girls come into the salon from the swim team whose hair is dried from all the chlorine,” says Craig.
Before and After You Swim
Before swimming, wet your hair and condition it. Your hair will absorb the conditioner and prevent chlorine from being absorbed into the hair shaft.
Cover your head. If you’re an athletic swimmer, or if you plan to swim every day this summer, protect your hair with a swim cap. It’s unhealthy to wash your hair every single day, so just avoid the process by covering your head.
If your hair feels extra sticky after a dip in the pool, Craig recommends giving your curls a beer rinse to wash out all the chlorine. The malt and hops from the beer are known to repair damaged hair.
Use a leave-in conditioner before or after your dip in the pool. Moisture is the key to protecting your curls from the drying effects of chlorine, so help your curls retain the moisture by utilizing a leave-in.
Shower Tips for Post-Pool Hair
Wash your hair right away. Don't wait until the next day. Craig recommends washing your hair as soon as possible to prevent chlorine from staying in your curls.
Do NOT use clarifying shampoo. According to Craig, clarifying shampoo has a tendency to strip your curls of everything, including those natural oils that curls need in the summer. Clarifying shampoos will simply result in drier, frizzy locks.
Use a regular moisturizing or hydrating shampoo. In the summer, your hair needs all the moisture it can get. Craig recommends investing in hydrating shampoos that will reinvigorate your parched curls.
Shampoo with warm water. When shampooing your hair after a dip in the pool, Craig suggests using warm water to trigger the opening of the pores in order to rinse all that chlorine out. Shampooing with cold water will close the cuticle and trap the chlorine in your hair shaft. However, after shampooing and conditioning, you can finish with a cool water rinse to prevent frizz and enhance shine.
Tips for Summer Styling
“A humid day is a day to go curly, not a day to straighten your hair. You’re kind of fighting it,” says Craig. Too often summer days are humid and hot—a nightmare for freshly styled hair. Craig recommends rocking your natural texture instead of fighting it. “You don’t want to do too much to your hair. If you’re swimming a lot, or going out in the heat too much, you are probably damaging your hair,” says Craig. Her suggestion: keep your curly hair care regimen simple.
Avoid heat as much as possible. With endless UV rays pounding against your hair and skin, it’s beneficial to keep the use of blow outs, hot irons and curling irons to a minimum.
Use a light gel. If your hair is naturally wavy, Craig recommends using a light gel or mousse to get those beach waves. Light gel or mousse will provide enough hold but still allow your waves to flow with the breeze.
Make a conditioner/gel cocktail. Craig urges kinky haired clients to supply their hair with enough moisture this summer. Try making a curly cocktail by combining conditioner and gel. You’ll get the moisture you need from the conditioner plus the hold you need from the gel.
Curly Hair Care Products
Invest in good quality products. There are plenty of product lines available that are designed to protect your hair from the summer elements. Craig and her staff at Trashy Roots use the Milkshake Sun and More line. It provides the hydration and protection that hair needs from UV rays and chlorine.
Don’t forget to deep condition. Craig recommends using deep conditioning treatments twice a week in the summer. If you’re constantly exposed to the sun, or if you frequent the pool, supply your hair with that extra moisture it needs.
Special thanks to Anna Craig for all her advice and tips! If you are a stylist yourself, check out Anna Craig’s Trash Talk blog for advice.