Summer is here and I have to put some thought into what I will be doing with my hair. I plan on going to the pools, beaches and parks more often and I planned a 7 day cruise in the Caribbean, what should I do with my hair to keep it from getting damaged?
A: (The Beauty Chemist)
For most women, achieving and maintaining healthy, smooth and beautiful tresses during the summer can be challenging. Whether it’s natural hair that is frizzy and unruly or a relaxed mane that is limp and lifeless, the summer heat, humidity and UV sun rays can cause extra damage to your mane. With so many products currently out on the market, including new products that are continuously being launch, it can be overwhelming to go out and try everything. Here are a few guidelines that will enhance your summer hair care regimen;
-Humidity can cause the hair follicle to swell up and frizz, whether your hair has been chemically treated or not, I would suggest using an acidic shampoo and conditioner to seal the hair cuticles. You can also use one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with one cup of distilled water as a final rinse after conditioning, this natural treatment will seal cuticles and enhance the hair’s natural shine.
-Use bi-weekly hair mask treatment that infuses protein, moisture and promote sealing the hair cuticles. During the summer months extra moisturizing treatments are not necessary as in the winter months. Due to the high humidity, your hair can absorb 20-50% more moisture in the air, especially if chemically treated. Protein and silicon treatment will help keep the shaft tight and sealed. If needed, use a moisturizing treatment followed by a silicone treatment to lock in moisture and seal cuticles.
-UV rays from the sun causes oxidation within the hair follicle, (hair gets lighter naturally when exposed to the extreme summer sunlight) especially if you have had a chemical or hair color treatment. The cuticles are damaged and opened, allowing the UV rays to act as natural hair oxidizer (developer). This can cause severe damage to the hair shaft and mainly the ends. Use UV protective hair products if you are going to be spending a lot of time in the summer sun. Even though some oils are really good for the hair, during the summer months avoid oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and argan oil as styling aids. These oils are active oils, and with heat they will penetrate hair and be a catalyst for over heating, burning and damaging the hair follicle. As a styling aid, I suggest using sunflower seed oil instead of all other popular hair oils. Sunflower seed is a natural sun protectant that helps shield UV sun rays.
-Before going into the salt water ocean (beach) or the chlorinated pools, I would suggest adding shea butter or cocoa butter to your hair. These butters act as a natural sunscreen protecting from UV sun rays and keeping the salt water and chlorine from penetrating your hair shaft.
-Always use a clarifying or chelating shampoo and conditioning system after bathing in chlorinated pools, this will help remove chlorine and inhibit complex metal binding to the hair so that you don’t have buildup that can lead to limp lifeless hair and breakage.-Protective styling is another method of keeping your hair safe and healthy during the summer. Hair braids, twist, updo buns or even having a full hair weave installation can keep the hair from daily hot tool styling and sun damage. Make sure that when you do have your protective style that your scalp is well moisturized. The best way to do this, is to get a plastic squeeze bottle with a nozzle tip and add some of your favorite moisturizer (petrolatum free) or mix equal parts of coconut oil and distilled water together shake well and apply to your scalp, this oil process works well with protective styling, because the sun will not reach the scalp and therefore they won’t cause scalp burns.
-Keep your hair ends trimmed every four weeks. It has been reported that hair tends to grow faster for most during the summer months. However, the important reason for keeping your hair trimmed every four weeks is because, between your daily outdoor activities including pools, the beach, the humidity and sun exposure, hair cuticles are readily opened and as mentioned earlier, they swell , open up and they are more susceptible to damage. It is important to keep those ends trimmed so that they don’t split further up the hair shaft.