Majoring in Curls  
 
Email your questions to Aimee.  

We’ve finally reached those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summertime. I love summer, especially the cool nights when you can sit outside forever. That is, if the mosquitoes and black flies don’t eat you alive first. And I know that there is nothing more relaxing than going to the beach and not doing a thing - no papers, professors or exams to worry about. You can just grab a book and a drink and kick back in the sun.

However, the sun and the heat can wreck complete havoc on your hair. Extremely hot, humid conditions are not the best for any hair type. But it is a complete pain in the neck to deal with curly hair in the summer.

In the summer it’s so easy to ignore what your hair really needs, and that's protection. I cannot stress enough that the first and best way to keep the humidity from turning your tresses into a big frizzy mess is protection and conditioning. We all know the dangers of UV rays and the damage it can do to our skin. So in addition to the sunscreen you should be wearing everyday, a good sunscreen for your hair is a smart addition. I know that there’s no such thing as getting a hair burn -- these are the smart things we learn about in college -- but intense contact with the sun means drier and more brittle hair, as well as color changes for you ladies who color.

Those UV rays and the heat can also damage your scalp and hairline, so using a sun block formulated for hair will help keep that delicate skin nice and burn-free!

Second, curly hair is dry! You know it and I know it. It's the cardinal rule in most curly bibles to moisturize those locks. But in extreme conditions like the dead of winter and the peak of summer, this rule is doubly important. You don’t need to wash your hair everyday because that alone will cause frizz. But using conditioner is the Holy Grail. Whatever brand you buy, use it. Your hair needs that extra moisture because the sun works just as hard to suck it right out. If your hair is extra frizzy (like mine), a light leave-in conditioner in addition to the basic conditioner will work miracles. It will also give your hair an extra fruity or beachy scent, depending on your taste.

As much as I love swimming, I’ve found that water can also be a problem for your hair. Whether you’re swimming in a pool, lake, or the ocean, swimming can be pain, especially if you’ve got a lot of hair. If you don’t mind keeping it down, the damp hair will give you that water nymphy look, which is great. Just don’t run a brush through it when it’s wet. Tugging on wet strands will break hair to no end, and when your hair dries, it will frizz. Use your fingers to gently get knots out. For those of you who can’t stand wet hair flopping around and hitting you in the face, a loose ponytail or braid looks divine as well. But be careful not to pull it too tight. Any extreme pulling is asking for trouble -- and frizz. Use your fingers to comb the hair back into a tail or braid.

At the end of a hot summer day, we all know the feeling of lingering sand and a head full of chlorine or salt. Whenever I leave a pool, my hair feels squeaky clean (in a bad way) and it screams for some conditioner. In my trusty summer bag, along with the ever present bottle of sunscreen, I carry a small bottle of a light leave-in conditioner. Whenever I get out, I just squeeze a little in my hands and comb it through. If you want a little more curl control, make a hair cocktail by mixing it with a little gel.

Take care of those curls!