Ah, summer! When the chill in the air finally disappears and the sun thaws all our winter woes away. Our thoughts turn to chilling on the beach, vibing at outdoor festivals & concerts, and grabbing a drink at a rooftop bar with the fellas. But with summer also comes changes in the elements that expose our hair to potentially damaging effects.
Textured hair is particularly prone to dryness and brittleness during the humid summer months. It can become dehydrated due to a lack of moisture, and you may notice breakage or hair loss as a result. Men with textured hair types will also discover that our hair gets more challenging to manage in the summer, especially if we use improper products or are over-washing.
Not to worry! All seasons take their turn trying to do a number on our hair. And while summer may mean you have to change your focus and routine to keep your hair in tip-top shape, it's not rocket science. Below you'll find the best tips and methods for keeping your hair healthy when the weather warms. Follow these ten ways to protect your textured hair from the summer sun, and you will enjoy the summer as much as your hair does!
#1 - Stay hydrated and healthy.
Kinky, coily, or curly hair can be one or a combination of textures, and all need extra care in the summer. One of the most effective ways to hydrate from the inside out is to drink water throughout the day. Remember that each hair strand, like your body, requires a steady supply of nourishment, so you also need to eat healthy to improve the strength, health, and length of your hair. The golden rule to remember is that what you put in is what you get out! Not sure what foods are best? Your hair needs regular nutrients in the form of proteins, iron, vitamins C and E, and Omega 3s. Here are a few examples to get you started:
- Proteins - almonds, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and beans.
- Iron – spinach, legumes, and broccoli.
- Vitamin C - oranges, blueberries, broccoli, papaya, strawberries, and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin E - nuts like cashews, walnuts, or almonds.
- Omega 3s: fish, avocado, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.
You should know that some foods can actually damage your hair, so it is also important to remember what foods NOT to eat! Avoid things like diet sodas, excessive sugar, fast food, and fish that contain high mercury levels, such as king mackerel, swordfish and shark.
#2 – Use “summer-friendly” shampoo.
Shampooing your hair isn't just about keeping it clean; it's also about moisturizing the hair and scalp. Avoid washing your hair too frequently, as this will strip the hair of its natural oils. Use a shampoo with aloe vera juice. Aloe vera has become popular as a remedy for dry hair and skin due to its hydrating effects and nourishing vitamins. Still, it may also help with dandruff, and research shows that the plant compounds in aloe vera encourage healthier hair. Aloe vera also has natural cooling qualities and high collagen content, protecting your scalp and hair from the sun's ultraviolet radiation.
#3 - Use braids and/or twists to keep things tidy.
In the summer, you can protect your hair by wearing protective styles like braids or two-stranded twists. If you're a DIY'er, you can try braiding yourself -- if your hair is long enough. Take two mirrors with you: one for the front and another for the back. Part your hair down the center and then from ear to ear with a fine-tooth comb. You can divide the hair into whatever number of braids you want.
To begin braiding, divide your hair into three even portions so the braid maintains its thickness from top to bottom. To avoid tangles while braiding, knot your hair up once you've completed a segment. If you're a newbie, you might find it easier to secure the braid using a rubber band at the end to prevent it from unraveling. Wear a hat or doo-rag to protect your braids from the sun's harmful rays on the hottest of summer days.
Related Articles: Do Braids And Dreadlocks Create A Receding/Thinning Hairline?
#4 - Protect your hair from chlorine.
If you’re like most people, chances are you will spend some time at a pool or beach this summer. After you're done swimming, always wash your hair at the end of the day to remove the saltwater and chlorine. Salt and chemicals may dry out your hair, leaving a residue and perhaps causing breakage if you don't. Applying oil as a protectorate before entering the water can help protect your hair while swimming and keep your hair hydrated (see #6 – Oil Your Hair).
#5 - Comb through your hair while it is damp.
This is excellent advice for the summer months and applicable throughout the year. Because of its coils and curls, our textured hair is more prone to breakage when combing and/or brushing. Internal fractures can occur when hair is untwisted or stretched, resulting in brittle strands. When brushing textured hair, use a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush to comb/brush through while it is still damp. Wide and long-toothed afro picks also work great.
#6 - Oil your hair.
Lightweight nourishing oil can repair and hydrate your hair, especially if it is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, because it acts as a barrier to keep moisture in the hair. Here are a few recommended oils that will nourish your hair without feeling greasy or heavy:
Moroccan Argan Oil
Argan oil is a light plant-based oil extracted from the argan nut of the Argan tree, which grows in southwestern Morocco. It's high in vitamin E, as well as palmitic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic fatty acids, which can help protect the hair and scalp from UV rays. Argan oil is also incredibly light, so it won't weigh your hair down. This is why it is perfect for frizz, which many people experience throughout the summer. Because it enters the hair shaft to help keep hair hydrated, it can be used with or without a deep conditioner.
This non-greasy, odorless gem is made from grape seeds, and while it differs from grapeseed extract, it has a potent composition. Grapeseed oil is high in vitamin E, linoleic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic fatty acids, and it absorbs quickly. It's a lighter oil than olive or coconut oil, and it won't make your hair feel greasy. It features natural conditioning chemicals that can help soften hair, prevent frizz, and add gloss without weighing down or making your strands oily, and it will battle free radicals that may be detrimental to your scalp and hair.
Rosehip Seed Oil
Rosehip oil is a dry oil that absorbs quickly into the skin and is made from the seeds of rose bushes growing in Chile. It's high in vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids like oleic, palmitic, linoleic, and linolenic. Rosehip oil is a good emollient for dry or mature skin and for repairing and renewing damaged hair follicles and scalp tissues. It's great for restoring suppleness to hair and skin while also protecting them from the sun.
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil, one of the lightest drupe oils, is produced from edible almonds and is hypoallergenic. It's a mild oil that absorbs quickly and is gentle enough to use on newborns. It contains vitamin E, potassium, zinc, and the fatty acids linoleic, linolenic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic. It's an excellent sealer, shine enhancer, and stimulator of healthy hair follicles.
Sweet almond oil is ideal for spring and summer since it quickly penetrates the skin, scalp, and hair. It locks in moisture and smooths the hair shaft when used sparingly. It's light and nourishing for both dry skin and hair.
#7 - Use waxes or creams instead of gels.
Avoid gels when it comes to styling and instead opt for waxes or moisturizing creams. They add moisture to the hair rather than drying it out, resulting in a healthy shine and appearance. The best waxes and creams do not overshine the hair but instead leave it smooth and defined-like. To get an all-day hold, apply your styling product to damp hair because it absorbs quickly and doesn't leave a lot of product build-up.
#8 - Limit washing and brushing and consider a co-washing conditioner.
Avoiding over-washing your hair during the hot summer months is one of the best methods to keep it in good condition. Over-washing can create dryness and friction and make your hair more brittle. Because textured hair is naturally more sensitive than other hair types, you'll want to avoid brushing it constantly to prevent unnecessary damage.
Your hair loves moisture, so a deep cleaning followed by a treatment to restore the hair's natural balance will be really beneficial. Some experts recommend washing your hair every seven to ten days. You can also keep a spritz water bottle on hand and spray your hair often.
Many experts believe that co-washing, the act of only using conditioner to wash your hair, is an excellent way to protect your hair from natural exposure to the sun. To add to that, it is so vital to understand the importance of conditioning and how sulfates from shampoos can compromise the health of our hair. A wide range of co-wash conditioners, like our moisturizing conditioner, are available that are ideal for textured hair.
Related Articles: Lather Does Not Matter: The Truth About Sulfate-Free Shampoos
#9 - Keep your beard under control.
The hair on your face and your head have a lot in common, and both need to be treated equally well. So, if your beard is getting too long, confine it to a one-level cut and avoid dry shaving to thwart ingrown hairs. Beard oil is your best buddy for growing a lustrous, healthy, and fuller beard.
Many experts advocate using a beard oil with jojoba oil. Jojoba oil softens and smooths rough hair while keeping your beard from looking unkempt. Beard dandruff, commonly known as “beardruff,” is itchy and unpleasant. Jojoba oil keeps beardruff at bay while also relieving irritation and flakiness.
#10 - Know your conditioners and consider using a hair mask.
Leave-in conditioners are a particularly beneficial product to keep on hand during the summer. You can protect your textured hair by using a lightweight leave-in conditioner to spritz directly and keep your parched hair nourished. If you're wearing protective styles like braids or twists, be sure to wrap your head in satin and doo-rags at night to keep the follicles from rubbing against fabrics and breaking. Combining and spreading a leave-in conditioner with a heat protectant through your hair is also an excellent way to nourish and protect your hair from the hot sun.
If you want to go the extra mile to keep your hair looking great this summer, consider adding a hair mask to your routine. Masks are intensive treatments that rejuvenate dry, damaged hair and can be used about once a week. Apply the mask to damp hair, cover with a shower cap to keep the moisture in, and leave for an hour before rinsing. When you remove the cap, your hair will appear healthy and lustrous.
Whether you’re at the beach, gym, lounge or enjoying the great outdoors this summer, you shouldn't have to compromise the health of your textured hair. Take a few minutes to decide which of the above tips you can work into your routine. Your hair will thank you, and you’ll be surprised at just how little time and effort it takes.