By: Jennifer Kenny, The Curl Girl 
Curly blonde hair

Long lazy days by the pool and in the sun yields me lots of curlies with washed out color. I’m going to share the at-home routines and in-salon services I’ve prescribed for 3 of my clients a blonde, a brunette and a redhead. If you’re suffering from summer hair color blah’s, ask your stylist if some of these options will work for you.

Blonde Bombshell Nicole

Nicole is what I refer to a Billboard Client. She is literally a walking billboard for my work — heads turn when she walks through the salon, and I’ve had clients point to her picture on my digital picture frame many times and exclaim “I want THAT hair!” Nicole lives an active lifestyle, enjoys the beach (sun), fishing (more sun) and organizes many charity events that take place outdoors (even MORE sun). She receives a base touch up to lift her natural level about 2 shades lighter and a partial highlight and sometimes lowlights for a beautiful dimensional blonde effect. Last summer, her hair was losing dimension and looking washed out in between visits, so we enlisted a summer specific routine to keep her curls looking fresh, hydrated and vibrant.

In addition to her touch up, I gloss her ends with a demi-permanent color at each visit (this isn’t necessary in the “winter” months.) Every other visit, and sometimes between, I add a clear gloss after rinsing her color and allow it to process for at least 20 minutes. Then I follow up with a deep conditioner such as a L'Oreal Power Dose or a soothing gel mask like Vitamino Color or Absolut Repair. At home she adds Ouidad’s Sun Shield to her styling routine and when spending a day of fun in the sun, she braids her hair while still wet, with a generous dose of conditioner.

Read More: Solutions for Summer: Stay Cool and Look Hot

By: Jennifer Kenny, The Curl Girl 
Curly red hair color

Jessica Rabbit Red

She’s not just my client, she’s also my close friend. Sometimes I think I know more about her hair than I do my own. When Jess first came to me her hair was a mousy brown that did nothing for her gorgeous face — or curls for that matter. Once we got her curls super healthy and hydrated, she convinced me to take her 3 shades lighter and a beautiful copper red. Jess can go up to 6 weeks between touch ups, with almost no fading — all thanks to her vigilant at home care plan. I touch up her base with a permanent color and refresh her ends with an ammonia free gloss on her ends. We occasionally add a clear gloss like Nicole gets, if I can get her to sit still that long. Sigh.

When developing Jessica’s home routine, she said the words I SO love to hear: “Tell me what to use and what to do and I’ll do it.” She followed my instructions exactly and she has billboard curls that don’t require her to spend a ton of time in my chair. Once a week, she fires up her hard top dryer and applies either Ouidad Deep Treatment or L'Oreal Absolut Repair Mask, covers with a processing cap and plants her butt under there for a good 20 minutes. Every Sunday. No exceptions. She no-poo’s once a week, co-washes daily and adds only Ouidad Moisture Lock with a little OC left in, then pulls her curls back into a loose yet secure bun.

Jessica is a dentist, so she needs her hair out of the way during working hours and likes to give it a good rinse each day. She soaks away the stress of the day in her hot tub and always taking the time to pineapple her curls before entering the water to protect them from the chemicals. She’s a fan of floppy brimmed hats for poolside weekends, and she always follows my “wet sponge theory” before taking a dip. Reds can be the trickiest colors to get just right and can require lots of expensive salon visits due to fading (reds contain the smallest dye molecules, making it easier for them to slip out of the hair). Proper at home care can extend their depth and vibrancy, making a high maintenance situation manageable.

Read More: Curly Pool Party Texture Squad Stylist: The Curl Girl

By: Jennifer Kenny, The Curl Girl 
Curly brunette summer hair

Robin, Natural Brunette

When Robin first came to me, her heavily highlighted hair was almost all blonde. It was pretty, but she was seeing roots at 4 weeks and wasn’t making it to the salon but every 6 or 8 weeks. Life happens. Robin is busy taking over the world, networking and generally being awesome. This left little time for color touch ups. She wanted to gradually go back to her natural color, while still covering a few grays. “I don’t want people to look at me and know I got my color done.” Reasonable request. I gradually did away with the excess blonde by painting a demi- permanent color throughout her hair, leaving less and less blonde over a series of visits, ending with just a few face framing tendrils exposed.

When rinsing, I “smushed” the color around, which toned down the lighter pieces while still leaving a good deal of dimension. Robin is in and out all day seeing clients, and the sun exposure is actually to her advantage, causing a slight bit of fading between visits that just leaves her hair with a soft sun-kissed look at the ends. I opt to leave a few of these pieces exposed when I refresh her color. This gives her hair continuous dimension without the additional damage, time or cost of highlighting.

Robin uses a high quality sulfate free shampoo like L'Oreal Delicate Color, Ouidad Climate Control, or sometimes even Ouidad Curl Quencher shampoo, which does contain sulfates but we’ve found that her hair likes this in the rotation. She leaves in a little conditioner and always adds Ouidad Moisture Lock before applying a little Climate Control Gel before she’s out the door. Her curls stay in their best shape with just a light trim at each visit instead of a “bigger” cut less frequently.

I know that even if I’d like to see Robin in 6 weeks, it realistically might be eight weeks until her schedule allows her back. The process we’ve developed tailored to her needs can hold up if necessary. (I know you’re reading this, Robin and I know you’ve been good lately, I just need to make my point) Really listening to my clients — understanding what they put their curls through each day, their lifestyle, activities and the amount of time they are willing to and the time they actually have to devote to their curls — enables me to develop personalized product prescriptions, services and styling advice that will really work for them.

Final Thoughts

All of these women have 3 things in common:

  1. They’re awesome.
  2. They have great curls that stay looking great in between visits.
  3. (whisper this aloud) They all did what I told them to do. Wink.

These women only did what I told them to do because I took the time to find a routine that fit their lifestyle and their budget. No two curls are the same and no two clients will have the exact same needs.

Ask your stylist to work with you to create a customized plan to keep your curls and color looking their best. Minimalist to diva, it can be done.

It's not too late to send in your RSVP for the Curly Pool Party!