You may diligently customize your skin-care routine throughout the year, but many of us neglect the changing needs of our hair as the weather evolves outside. As summer hits, the sun, surf, and flat irons can cause damage that will stick around long past Labor Day.
“In winter, hair can get dry thanks to the absence of moisture in the air, like from forced air,” explains Kevin Mancuso, celebrity stylist and global creative director of Nexxus. “But in the summer you’re exposed to more sources of damage that can harm the structure of your hair and the amount of moisture it can hold.”
To avoid serious offenders, Mancuso explains the season’s most aggressive sources of damage, how to avoid them, and how to restore hair’s health with the right habits and products.
1. Recognize the Power of a Shower (With the Right Shampoo and Conditioner)
Between sweat and swimming, you find yourself sudsing up much more frequently in the summer and, believe it or not, the simple act of washing can be harmful to hair fibers. “Every time you rinse and wash your hair you lose proteins because water itself is eroding,” says Mancuso.
“Water can degrade the hair’s fiber and cause color molecules and dye to fall out from your hair. Your best solution is a shampoo and conditioner that replace protein and moisture, and put it in a better state while you wash.” Nexxus Therappe Ultimate Moisture Shampoo and Nexxus Humectress Ultimate Moisture Conditioner have been shown to replenish proteins and rebalance the hair.
2. UV Protection Isn't Just for Your Skin
Protecting your hair against sun damage is just as important as protecting your skin. “Any source of heat is going to burn your hair and the sun will do the same: lightening the hair, making it more brittle,” warns Mancuso. “Virgin hair is always more resistant because of natural oils, but when it’s stripped with color, hot tools, etc., there’s no resistance in the outer layer. And once hair is more porous, it’s easier for damage to happen to it because it doesn’t have its natural coating.”
Mancuso recommends wearing a hat whether you’re at the beach or running errands, and rebalancing hair’s hydration with shampoo and conditioner to help replenish the barrier hair naturally offers. Similar to your daily face moisturizer, a cream or serum with built in UV protection will also counteract the damage.
3. Turn the Tide With Regular Hair Masks
There’s nothing more invigorating during the summer than that first dip in the ocean, but before you dive headlong into the waves, make sure your strands are well-protected. “Salt water from the ocean dries hair out because salt purges moisture, just like when you put salt on eggplant before you cook it,” explains Mancuso. “And then when it crystallizes on hair as it dries, that’s even more damaging.
People say they love the crunchiness because it makes their hair feel thick and textured, but when you brush it through it’s in a more brittle condition and you can cause more damage.” Use Nexxus Humectress Ultimate Moisture Masque at least once a week if not every other day. Pro tip: Prep for a beach vacation by using the mask preemptively before you take off, or better yet, toss a few single-use pouches in your beach bag so you always have one handy.
4. Condition, Condition, Condition
After you finally nail your wet hair flip shot for Instagram, head straight to the shower to shampoo and condition. Chlorine, the chemical in pool water that destroys gross microorganisms to keep it hygienic, also eats away at your hair. “It’s very similar to the chemical process that strips your hair when it’s being colored, only chlorine is more dilute,” says Mancuso. “And the longer chlorine is in your hair the worse, especially when sitting in the sun.”
Pro tip: Wet hair stretches and breaks more easily, so when combing wet hair, be extra gentle. Consider applying conditioner first to help tangles release more easily, and start at the bottom of your hair, combing from the ends to the roots.
5. Beat the Heat (From Your Hot Tools)
While humidity itself isn't damaging, its frizz-inducing consequences mean you're more likely to style hair with hot tools in the summer. When we jack up flat irons and curling irons over 400 degrees and use multiple passes to get hair super smooth, we can literally scorch hair and destroy the fibers that make up our strands.
Use Nexxus Humectress Encapsulate Serum for both heat protection and to restore lost proteins. “The serum can help replenish up to a week’s worth of protein loss in one use,” says Mancuso. “I separate hair into four or five sections and apply roots to ends.” For extra benefits, you can reapply it throughout the day and also right before you touch up with hot tools before a date or on the second day of a blowout, suggests Mancuso.
6. Switch Up Your Style
Whether you love braids and space buns or are just an easy topknot kinda person, a cute updo is an easy fix, and it also feels good to get your hair up and out of your face when it’s steamy outside. (It gives a whole new meaning to sun’s out, buns out, doesn’t it?) But, says Mancuso, repetitive styling can leave you with patches of damage.
“The high points of braids get exposed to more sun damage and you see wear and tear from friction and hair ties,” he explains. Instead, switch up your hairstyle, give your hair a break from tight styles sometimes, and use products that replace proteins as well as rebalancing hair’s natural protective layer of moisture.