moisturize wavy summer hair
Photo Courtesy of Kosamtu -- Getty Images
Curlies in hot, dry climates may find themselves fighting with dry, brittle strands this season. Heat may be a contributing factor to the dryness of your hair, but finding the true culprit can take some digging. Blckduck  needed some help on summer dryness and inquired in our Curly Q&A for assistance. 

Question

How can I keep my hair moist in the summer heat? I have tried coconut oil to no avail. I have tried the avocado mask as well as the banana/honey/olive oil mixture, but my hair still gets dry after being outside. I do try to wear a hat, but I don't want to do that too often for fear of damaging my hairline. Also, I work out 5 to 6 days a week.

Answer

First, you may want to incorporate a moisturizer. Oils seal in moisture, but they do not provide moisture. Most oils will help to retain the moisture that is already in your skin and hair, but it cannot moisturize on its own. Summer can be drying with the intense heat, so here are a few tips for keeping your hair moisturized all summer long. Hair masks are a great start, but these additional tricks will help you hydrate your hair.

Water is the best moisturizer

Nature provides the #1 source of moisture for our bodies and our strands. Nothing is better than water, and while many mistakenly assume that oils are moisturizers, that simply is not true. Humectant ingredients such as aloe vera, honey, and glycerin are great for attracting moisture and staving off dryness, so check your ingredient lists. You also need to use water-based moisturizers (water will be at the top of their ingredient list) or simply apply water directly to your hair before adding an oil or serum to seal in the moisture.

Use a travel size bottle

Carry around a small spritz bottle of moisturizer to keep hair pliable throughout the day, as sometimes we need that refresher to keep curls hydrated and soft. I always carry one, especially in the summertime. Fill it up with:

  • water
  • leave-in conditioner (use more or less leave-in depending on what your hair needs)
  • a few drops of your favorite oil 
Shake the mixture and spray it on your curls to refresh them mid-day.

Spritz & seal at night

Whenever I notice my strands are getting thirsty, I make sure to spritz my hair with a  mix of distilled water and lavender and massage it in before heading to bed.

Seal hair before adding styler

Some of us follow the LOC method (liquid+oil+cream) while others love the LCO (liquid+cream+oil) method. Try adding a sealant (oil) before you add your styler to help seal in your moisture to increase your hydration levels.

The summer elements can be very drying

Sun, wind, chlorine, and salt water can all wreak havoc on your strands. We tend to be outside more and engage in water-play in the hotter months, so take precautions by protecting your hair when you can. Wear sun hats, apply conditioner to your hair before swimming, and use hair products with UV protection. All of those tips will help keep your hair more moisturized.

Switch to a summer regimen

Many of us switch from our heavier products to lighter ones in the summer months. Quite a few curlies switch from gels to styling creams, which tend to be a more moisturizing formula for stylers. The lighter stylers may not give you hold that will last for a week, but their water-based formulas will be more moisturizing.

Refresh hair during the week

Since you work out frequently, you may need to refresh your hair once or twice a week to remove any products that were sweated out and to remove scalp buildup. Rather than using shampoo, wash with a gentle co-wash if you are going to cleanse several times a week. Never be afraid of water for your hair and scalp, and know that water will be your very best friend this summer to keep hair moisturized.