Protect your hair against sun damage and summer frizz-ball syndrome with these smart professional tips.
“It’s summertime … and the hair gets frizzy …” No, those aren’t really the words to the classic Gershwin tune, but when the sun gets hot and high in the sky, sometimes I think it could be my summer anthem. And I’m sure I’m not alone. Between beach weekends, weddings, and other outdoor events, it seems near impossible to prevent your hair from the dreaded frizz and sun damage.
Michelle Forst, assistant director at George the Salon in Chicago, says that frizzy hair is caused when the hair cuticle is damaged or open from the elements, such as sun, harsh wind, and/or salt water. So while you can have frizzy hair naturally, summer’s intense heat and humidity can make the situation much worse. In addition to Michelle, I spoke with several other hair experts who gave me the skinny on how to keep your hair—whether fine, curly or just plain out of control—sleek and chic all summer long. First, let’s start with the basics that apply to everyone, regardless of hair type.
General de-frizzing tricks
Use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner made especially for your hair type. Speaking of conditioners, every expert agreed that a leave-in conditioner, especially one specifically created to battle humidity, is your best summer hair buddy.
But don’t wash your hair every day. If you do get a sweaty scalp, or your hairstyle is wilting away, rinse your hair with cool water, as it closes the hair shaft. Use only conditioner to gently cleanse your hair.
Air dry your hair. Some pros advise using hot tools sparingly, as extra heat isn’t always your friend in the humid summer air. If you’ve got the time, let your hair air-dry.
But if you do blow dry … start from the top. Michelle suggests that when drying your hair (no matter what type it is) you should always start from the crown and work your way down: “Always dry the roots about 70 percent first, and then focus on the ends. Make sure you control the ends with your brush or try using your hands to press the dried hair smooth.”
Try Kerastase Discipline Fluidissime spray ($42, Kerastase). “This leave-in lotion reduces friction, protects hair fibers during the styling process and disciplines even the frizziest hair,” Michelle says of her favorite product. “The awesome thing about it,” she continues, “is that it works on any kind of frizz, even for both fine and thick hair.”
Don’t use hairspray on your flyaways. Brandon Carrion, educator for Keune Haircosmetics and owner of Brandon Edward Salon at Salon Lofts in Johns Creek, Georgia says: “Many people get confused between flyaways and frizz. A flyaway is from lack of moisture. Don’t use hairspray on your flyaways as it contains alcohol. That ingredient will dry out your hair even more.” He recommends a hairspray like Keune Care Line two-phase spray ($19, Sleek Hair), which adds moisture to hair while providing humidity protection (Silsoft Technology) and UVA/UVB protection to prevent sun damage and frizz. Its lower pH keeps cuticles sealed, preventing more frizz.
Before heading to the beach
“Soak your tresses in a light conditioning spray before swimming,” says Venise Lindo, celebrity hairstylist and CEO of Venice Luxury Hair Care and Extensions. “The conditioner creates a barrier against drying sea water and chlorine found in pools.” Venise also advises rinsing your hair when you’re back on dry land to prevent the chemicals and the salt from drying out your hair.
Use a hat or a hair wrap to protect your ends against the sun’s damaging UV rays, suggests Venise. It’s a sure-fire frizz and damage preventative.
Apply argan oil. For all hair types, Venise recommends applying an argan oil, like Venice Argania Moroccan oil conditioner ($13, Venice Luxury Hair Care), just to your ends if you’re out in the sun for an extended time, as the oil is a natural UV barrier.
Apply sunscreen to colored hair. Whether you have highlights, single process, ombre, or low lights, use a sunscreen for your hair that is especially formulated for color-treated hair.
Have bangs? Steven Lightfoot, artistic director and vice president of product development for Peter Coppola Beauty, says that if you wear your bangs flat or straight, use a small iron at a low temperature after you’ve styled the bangs over a round brush. Use a thermal protectant like Peter Coppola infusion anti-frizz cream ($30, Peter Coppola Beauty) before you blow dry your hair or use any heated tools. Flat Irons, curling wands and the like can assist in the creation of more damaged hair.
Try Kardashian smooth styler blow out cream ($14, Ulta Stores), which picked up a 2015 Self magazine beauty award. It protects and nourishes hair while sealing in shine and preventing frizz when styling. It works on all hair types, but is especially great for fussy bangs.
Fine and straight hair
Apply conditioner to just the ends. People with fine and straight hair are apt to shy away from conditioners all year round, as they can weigh hair down. But even fine-haired people need conditioner—the trick is to apply conditioner only to the ends and not the scalp. By applying the conditioner just to where the hair really needs it, you’ll smooth frizz without sacrificing volume.
Roll it up. Vanessa Ungaro, hairstylist at New York’s Lauren and Vanessa, suggests that after you blow dry your hair, set it in rollers (yes, those things your mother used to wear!) for at least 15 minutes. Rollers smooth out your hair and create wave and/or volume.
Consider keratin. For a long-term solution, Vanessa suggests trying a keratin treatment that is formulated to eliminate the frizz but not the body or wave of your locks. “Nowadays, there are many [keratin treatments] to choose from and the technology has become more advanced. The cost is usually in the neighborhood of $300 to $400.”
Use protective oils. Vanessa’s favorite anti-frizz product for fine hair is Shu Uemura Essence Absolue nourishing protective oil ($26, Shu Uemura Art of Hair). Made from the Japanese camellia, it is a dry serum that defrizzes fast. It’s strong enough that one to two pumps is enough to take care of all of your hair. “When applying,” says Vanessa, “concentrate on your frizziest areas first around the face. Then work your way through the rest of your hair. Remember to comb through each product [that you use when styling] so it is evenly distributed. The Essence Absolue can also be used as a pre-shampoo treatment and an overnight conditioning treatment as well. It is also safe for color-treated hair.”
Stop touching your hair! Brandon Carrion admonishes curly-haired girls who can’t keep their fingers out of their tresses: “Keep your hands out of your hair once it’s set. Additional finger combing or brushing disrupts the curl, creating more frizz and disconnection.” He suggests that if you have fine curly hair, use a lightweight moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. If you have coarse curly hair, “you need a richer moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.”
Deep condition weekly. Start a regimen of weekly deep conditioning treatments or hair masques to keep curls soft and moisturized, Brandon advises. Try Ouidad curl recovery melt down extreme hair repair mask ($44, Ouidad), for extremely dry hair. It has been clinically proven to restore lipids back into the hair shaft. It received Allure magazine’s 2013 Best of Beauty Awards—and they’re pretty selective over there.
Use alcohol-free products only. Curly hair is naturally dry hair, and if you use only alcohol-free hair products, you’ll protect your hair against more damage and frizz. To style, try Garnier Fructis curl sculpting cream ($4, Drugstore). It smells like apples and sunshine, and contains silicone to smooth hair and prevent frizz and flyaways. It can be used on curly and wavy hair. And if curly-haired gals want to blow out their hair straight, the sculpting cream does an utterly fantastic job.
Not exactly straight and not exactly curly, wavy hair can be the best of both worlds … if you can avoid the frizz.
Look for silk proteins and collagens on the label. Protecting your mane against damage should start with your shampoo and conditioner. Leonor Greyl shampooing crème Moelle de Bambou ($51, Leonor Greyl) is a conditioning shampoo that contains silk proteins, Vitamin B, bamboo marrow, and plant extracts and will cut down on frizz and add shine.
Pair it with Leonor Greyl tonique hydratant ($43, Leonor Greyl). Use it after the shower to strengthen and prevent frizz and damage to your hair—the leave-in conditioner contains seaweed and plant collagens that help hair stay soft.
Use an enriching spray. Professionals advise finishing your wavy style with Dove Style+Care strength & shine extra hold hairspray ($6, Drugstore). It’s water-free and made with Dove’s Nutri-Style Complex, which nourishes hair while it fights frizz and flyaways. You’ll be able to style your hair knowing that the spray is enriching—not drying out—your locks. It works with every hair type.
And if all else fails, remember that wide-brimmed hats are a true friend to any frizzy-haired gal … as well as a great summer fashion accessory.
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