Moisture is hard to come by in the summertime. Add humidity and sun exposure to the mix and you have a recipe for frizz and dryness. We each find our own antidote and since every curly head is different, that means every curly girl's moisturizing routine is unique. If you ask 10 curly girls how they moisturize their hair, they will give you 10 different answers. And we did!
Here are the tried and tested ways in which we moisturize our hair in the NaturallyCurly office.
For moisture lovers
Fran (pictured above) is the newest addition to the NaturallyCurly team so she has been experimenting with many products for her first time. Through it all, this failproof conditioning combination has never failed her 3b curls.
"I use a combination of leave-ins and deep conditioners to keep my hair moisturized in the summer. For the most part I use Kinky-Curly Knot Today as my leave-in conditioner and DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Matcha Green Tea Butter Conditioning Mask as my deep conditioning hair mask.
On wash days, I apply a deep conditioner and leave it in for about 30 minutes to an hour. After I rinse that out, I rake my leave-in conditioner through my hair and that’s it. For moisture boosts throughout the day/week I use a spray bottle filled with half water and half whichever leave-in I’m using at the time."
Read more about Fran's routine here.
For frizz sufferers
Jamie's biggest hair issue is "frizz, frizz, frizz and puff!" These can be caused by dryness in the hair, or just the unrelenting Texas humidity. Here is how she keeps her 3b curls defined in the summer.
"I like to use gels in the summer because they seem to have a better hold than mousses or creams. Right now I'm into Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel. I also like super moisturizing conditioners like the CURLS Coconut Sublime Conditioner when I wash my hair. I will keep it in my hair for a few extra minutes and comb it through. If it is a really humid day and my hair is not cooperating, I will stick my hair up in a bun and use the DevaCurl Flexible-Hold Hair Spray to help keep my frizz controlled."
For ingredient snobs
Amanda is a NaturallyCurly editor who is picky, picky, picky when it comes to her ingredient labels. So if she vouches for a product, you know it is full of only good things.
"I struggle to maintain moisture in the summer because the sun's rays are excruciating in Texas. I combat this by making sure I deep condition regularly with the Bee Mine BEE-U-Ti-FUL Moisturizing Deep Conditioner."
For dry scalp & hair
Kami has mastered the curly cocktail for her 4b coils (she also just got a new haircut, which we are all loving in the office). These are her go-to summer cocktails, the non-alcoholic kind.
"In the summer I have dry, dry, dry hair and scalp! I love being outside, swimming, hiking, lounging on patios - the sun just cooks my hair after being outdoors all day. But I definitely don't want to compromise my summer fun because of my 'do.
I've learned that cocktailing my butters/oils/leave-ins is a must-do over the summer for me. I customize the formula based on what I'll be doing that day. I add a few drops of Darshana Natural Indian Hair Oil to pretty much any product I use. For an oil at a lower price point, I really like the Mixed Chicks Replenishing Oil a lot, too, and have been using that often. Obia's Twist Whip Butter has also become a go-to for me. Another fav is Aunt Jackie's Quench! Moisture Intensive Leave-In and their Curls & Coils Don't Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel.
I've been working out more recently so my scalp has been especially dry. I usually start my day by putting a few drops of Darshana on my fingertips and massaging it into my scalp. From there, I customize my routine based on the day's activities. If I won't be in the sun much, I'll combine my leave-in with a little butter and massage it in. If I'm headed out on the town, I'll combine the leave-in with the gel for extra definition, along with a few drops of oil. If it's a pool day, my butter is the star of the show to lock in the moisture."
For short hair
Priscilla has her 4c coils cut into a bald fade, so her summer hair concerns are slightly different — she loves the humidity, but deals with oiliness. Here's how she beats her summer issues.
"Actually my hair usually feels great in the summer! It's the humidity here. My curls love it! When my hair was longer and I tried to do stretched styles like twist outs, those didn't do so well or they got really puffy. Now that my hair is short and all close to my scalp, I need to make sure I wash more often. With this length of hair, my hair actually gets really oily so I use good cleansers that don't strip out the moisture in my hair.
I've been using Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo, and I like it because it gets rid of sweat and sebum buildup without stripping my hair. I also like to polish off my wash day curls with a great oil like Darshana to seal in moisture and give great summer shine!"
For easier detangling
Nikki has long, 3c hair, and she knows the detangling struggle. Dryness can make this worse in the summer, so she looks for products with plenty of slip.
"I struggle with tangles in the summer, so I have to switch my regimen to products that are extra slippery.
I use moisturizing conditioners and leave-ins like Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner, Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion, SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner, and Kinky-Curly Knot Today.
In the summer, I just replace my other conditioners with the Elucence and apply my leave-ins to wet hair. These products make it easier to detangle even my Day 5 hair."
For dry, wavy hair
Susonnah has 2b waves with highlights, and in the summer she likes light stylers and refreshers that won't weigh her waves down throughout the week.
"My hair gets really dry in the summer because I love to go swimming and sit out in the sun. I've been using Obia Curl Hydration Spray and so far so good! I also love Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Creme. I love that it's a leave in and a definer because I don't have to pile on too many products in my hair. Plus they are both glycerin-free, so they are perfect for hot, humid summer days.
I use the Obia Curl Hyrdation Spray like a moisturizer and a refresher. On wash day, while my hair is still wet, I apply it before my styler. As a refresher, I use it on second or third day hair to give some life back into it. I use the Briogeo Leave-In Definer while my hair is still wet, and I scrunch it in with my hands. I can be pretty heavy handed with this stuff, and I find that it's okay because the product is very runny and milky. You need a lot to get great definition."
For unpredictable weather
Evelyn wears her 4c coils in a twist out every. single. day. She knows what works for her and she does not stray. But that does not mean her regimen doesn't change.
"In the summer my biggest challenge is managing the weather change — sometimes it's hot and dry, so I lose moisture fast. Other times it's hot and humid so my hair is so moisturized I can't keep a stretched style for more than a day.
To fight dry hair, I make sure my deep conditioner is really nourishing, I like Ouidad Melt Down Mask. I deep condition my hair every time I wash it and use a shower cap or hair therapy wrap for a heat deep-conditioning session for 30 minutes to put the moisture back in my hair after being exposed to the sun all day.
Afterwards, I apply a leave-in conditioner to clean wet hair and use the stylers to define my coils and twist if I feel like it."
For color-treated hair
I bleached my hair last summer and now that I am transitioning the damaged hair out, it tends to feel straw-like, so I am using more moisturizers than I normally would on my 2c waves.
Deep conditioners are especially important for me during this time, and one of my old standbys is EDEN BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner. I apply it and either leave it in for 3-5 minutes while I'm soaping the rest of my body, or if I feel like a longer, deeper conditioning session, I'll put on a Heat Therapy Thermal Wrap and leave it in for 20 minutes or more. After the shower I've been applying ApHogee Moisture-Rich Leave-in to my wet hair, and finishing with Kinky-Curly Knot Today. Knot Today isn't really a styler, but I find that it gives my waves great definition and enough hold while moisturizing them.
For LCO-method followers
Devri is a die-hard fan of the LCO method for her 3c curls. This is a method of layering your products in order of liquid, then cream, then oil. You can read more about the LCO (also known as LOC) method here.
"I always get a huge frizz halo in the warmer months because of humidity. To combat my frizz and keep my definition, I love using the Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Creme as my leave-in, SheaMoisture Yucca & Plantain Styling Milk as my cream, and almond oil as my oil for my summer LCO method."
No surprise here, Kinky-Curly Knot Today wins the day for most mentions in this article. What's your go-to summer product?
This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated to incorporate reader feedback.