You may not be able to completely beat the heat, but experts share how you can help your strands retain moisture during the season's peak.

By Nashia Baker
July 06, 2021
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Intense UV rays and chlorine make summer a particularly challenging period for your hair; these external factors can render strands dry and brittle. To counteract their effects, and restore some much-needed hydration, keep your hair care routine packed with nourishing products and heed the following tips, courtesy of our experts.

woman tossing long hair at beach
Credit: Primorac91 / Getty Images

Understand if your hair type is dehydrated.

Anthony Cole, a Sebastian Professional top artist, explains that hydrated hair starts in your scalp. "Sebum on your scalp is a natural conditioner and locks in moisture," he explains. "For straight hair, the oils from your scalp condition strands because you can easily brush them through. But with wavy and curly hair, the oils tend to stay on scalp due to the bends and coils." He adds that curly and coily hair need the best possible scalp care so those oils can move through the hair shaft, leaving moisture in their wake.

As for how different hair textures experience summer-induced dryness? "Fine textured hair becomes rough and brittle in touch," Robin Groover, African Pride hair expert and hairstylist, says. "The cuticle layers lift slightly and moisture escapes much slower than medium and coarse textures." This, she explains, increases your risk of breakage, frizz, and style memory. Wavy hair is subject to major frizz, especially in hot and humid conditions when strands become porous and moisture evaporates. "Curly and coily dehydrated hair is subject to severe breakage and lacks curl and coil definition," she adds. "The manageability factor decreases leaving the hair uncontrollable without a seasonal regimen adjustment."

Avoid salt-based products.

Minimizing your use of any heat tools and dehydrating products is a must, starting with any products that have salt ingredients. It might sound counterintuitive, since we often affiliate the summer with salty ocean air, but the ingredient zaps moisture. "A lot of times, dry shampoos have salt in them, and you need to avoid that during the summer," Cole shares. "There will already be more salt on your scalp due to sweating, swimming, and other summer activities. It is very important to focus on the scalp environment, especially for curly, wavy, and coily textures."

Try moisturizing shampoos.

Groover notes that the best way to keep your hair hydrated during the summer is by introducing enough moisture and oil into your routine. She suggests starting with a moisturizing shampoo, like African Pride Olive Miracle Anti-Breakage Formula Two-in-One Shampoo and Conditioner ($2.72, walmart.com) for those with dry, tight curl patterns, since it has a blend of herbs and oils necessary to repair, condition, and rejuvenate the hair.

When you're shampooing, make sure to get to the root. Cole says to start by applying your shampoo of choice to your fingers and massaging it onto the scalp before adding water. "No matter what your hair type is, you can get sebum build-up on your scalp and should take good care to cleanse it," he says. "When you sweat, make sure that you are shampooing because your hair will be very dehydrated if you do not." Another pro tip? Alternate between moisturizing and protein shampoos if you have chemically-treated hair. "I suggest using two different shampoos to ensure you are getting both benefits: Sebastian Professional Penetraitt ($17.50, ulta.com) for protein and Sebastian Professional Drench ($16.50, ulta.com) for moisture," he explains. "Switch off between the two every time you wash your hair." He says this process is also helpful for his clients with fine hair, but it can strengthen all hair types, too. 

Use leave-in conditioners.

Conditioning is important both in the shower and afterwards for those with tighter curl patterns. "On curly hair, I always say you are not getting the nutrients you need as those oils do not travel down your hair, so make sure you are using leave-in conditioners," Cole says. His pick? Sebastian Professional Potion 9 ($18.95, ulta.com) since it has nine essential botanicals and oils in the formula to protect your strands and help them retain moisture. For another option, consider African Pride Olive Miracle Leave-in Conditioner ($2.87, walmart.com), Groover's lightweight favorite that won't cause build-up.  

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