Can you tell that the girl pictured to the left is feeling stressed? On one hand, she's ecstatic that it's summertime, but on the other, she knows that bad hair days are ahead and include frizzy strands, limp locks and color-changing tresses. Knowing her pain, we interviewed top hair-care and styling experts to solve all your hair issues caused by the summer heat.
Your Hair Keeps Getting Bigger and Bigger
In order to tame frizz, you need to understand it. "Frizz happens when the cuticle layer (the outer layer) of the hair opens, moisture gets inside, and the hair swells up," says Aussie celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempo. "Frizz is created when layers of hair are being pushed in an unnatural direction due to weather, poor hair care, or even rubbing too much with a towel." Make sure your hair stays hydrated by using a leave-in conditioner like Aussie Hair Insurance before you head outdoors. Also, cut back on your use of heat tools — the high temperatures are a surefire way to zap your hair of any moisture it has. Keep flatiron and blow-dryer use to every two days. When blow-drying, hold the concentrator parallel to the section and aim toward the floor, not at the hair.
Your Curls Are Unruly, Undefined & Just Plain Ugly
The main goal in dire situations like humidity is to work with your hair and not against it. Use a flexible-hold gel and twist in the direction of the curls, which will help all the hair move the same way and avoid frizz. Just as above, keep your hair hydrated. "Regular deep-conditioning treatments are the foundation and lifeline for curls," says curly-hair expert Ouidad. Try Ouidad Deep Treatment Intensive Conditioner. Lastly, mandate a hands-off rule on especially humid days since the less touching, the better chance your curls will stay in tact. Roughing up the curls with a towel causes friction, so pull your curls in a very soft ponytail on top of your head with a scrunchie and let your hair air-dry overnight.
Read More: 33 New Ways to Braid Your Hair
You Got Caught in the Rain
Keep a hair-mergency pack stashed in your purse with a few bobby pins, ponytail holders and a stretchy headband. Then you'll be ready for anything unexpected like a torrential downpour or a sudden bout of humidity. Here, Potempo gives easy hairstyles for every hair length.
Short Hair: Sometimes the texture from frizz can work in your favor. Twist small sections of hair into little buns in the back and secure them with bobby pins. If your hair isn't long enough to pull back, twist and pin the front section of your hair or bangs up to create a small pompadour, which will add volume in any hair disaster.
Shoulder-Length Hair: A cute ponytail and a thin elastic headband are the perfect quick fix for a rainy day. If you only have a bobby pin, try braiding or twisting two pieces of the damp, front section and secure behind your ear. This will give you a cute look as the rest of your hair dries.
Long Hair: Start with a small braid in the front that leads into a low bun. The style prevents a wet ponytail from slapping against your back!
Your Hair Is Lifeless and Limp Like Wet Spaghetti
Just as with skin-care products, you may need to swap out your cold-weather regimen for formulas that help your hair react better in the heat. "Avoid products that have an oil or cream base, as they can cause your hair to fall flat and look lifeless," says Potempo. "Water-based volumizers can add a boost to your hair when you need it, or you can spritz a long-lasting antihumidity hairspray at your roots and blast them with a blow-dryer to lock in place."
If you're not one to turn to styling products, "make sure your shampoo and conditioner aren't weighing your hair down," says Potempo. Use only a small amount of shampoo since a little goes a long way, and concentrate on lathering your scalp. Use conditioner only on the ponytail of your hair, since your roots tend to get moisture from the natural oils produced by your scalp.
Try Aussie Cleanse and Mend Shampoo and Conditioner, $8.49 each; drugstore.com
Read More: Summer's Best, New Hair Colors
Trips to the Pool Have Turned Your Blonde Hair Green
Similar to the oxidation process that turns copper metal to a turquoise color, chlorine conflicts with the hard metals in the pool water and creates a similar reaction. As a result, these metals absorb into your hair while you're splashing about. Help keep your hair its normal hue with a postswim shampoo using a formula specially designed to remove pool and hard-water buildup.
Try Ultra Swim Shampoo, $5.49; ulta.com
To prevent your hair from going green (and not in an eco-friendly way) in the first place, "rinse your dry hair with bottled or filtered water to saturate the hair shaft," advises colorist and NYC salon owner Joel Warren. "That way, your mane won't soak up whatever is in the water."
Your Highlights Are Getting Sassy and Brassy
The sun is a catalyst that brings out unwanted warmth in your newly highlighted or lightened strands. Look for shampoos that contain blue or violet pigment to counteract yellow, red, and orange tones. "Try Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo and use it once a week to keep your color bright in between salon appointments," says celebrity colorist and NYC salon owner Marie Robinson.
Another option is L'Oréal Colorist Secrets Brass Banisher — a five-minute gloss treatment that eliminates brassy tones and delivers balanced color with shiny, healthy results.
Read More: 33 Time-Saving Lazy Girl Hair Products
Moisture retention is an issue that African American women face year round, so the summer is no exception. "Environmental factors like atmosphere and water type, plus your own hair type, will all determine what adjustments you need to make in your hair-care routine," says Titi Branch, co-founder and co-CEO of Miss Jessie's. Here's how to keep your hair in its healthiest state.
High Humidity Levels Are Causing Frizz
For natural-hair types, "using formulas high in glycerin will attract moisture to the hair and combat dryness," says Branch. She recommends trying a styling product like Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding to help reduce frizz.
For relaxed-hair types, fighting frizz is more of a battle. "Even the slightest bit of humidity or perspiration can revert your hair to its natural state," says Branch. Opt for pulled-back hairstyles like a ponytail or a ballerina bun to help keep your hair lying flat and reduce any cuticle swelling. The combination of an antihumectant product like Soft Sheen Nouvea Daily Humectant Moisturizing Lotion and the sporadic use of heat tools can also help a frizzy situation.
The Dry Heat Is Zapping Your Hair's Moisture
To make up for the lack of moisture in the air, natural-hair types should turn to a conditioning product like Motions at Home Nourish Leave-In Conditioner. Keeping a humidifier in your home during the summer months will also give your hair a chance to recover, not to mention your skin will love it!
"Relaxed-hair types need to apply their moisturizing hair dress more often than usual," says Branch. Also, keep your body temperature as cool as possible, whether that means investing in some cute sundresses or keeping your hair off your neck. Any excessive perspiration will revert your relaxed hair.
Your Area's Water Type Is Wreaking Hell on Your Strands
Point-blank: Soft water is better on everyone's hair. "If your local water supply is soft, meaning treated to eliminate the hard minerals, then you should be jumping for joy because that's one less thing you have to worry about!" says Branch. Hard-water dwellers need not fear! Invest in a shower filter like the Sprite Slim Line Shower Filter With Showerhead to rid your water of troublemaking minerals.