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10 Tips on How to Protect Your Hair From the Summer Heat

Written by Alexa Adler
10 Tips on How to Protect Your Hair From the Summer Heat

After those cold winter months, there’s nothing like the warm days of summer. Finally, you can go outside in shorts, feel the sun on your skin, and hopefully take some vacation time while you’re at it. Of course, those first few days of summer are usually when we remember that the season can also majorly impact our hair.

Frizziness, sweat, grease. Ah, sweet summer. These issues aren’t just annoying to deal with. They’re also signs that our hair could be undergoing serious damage from the sun’s rays. That’s why we should be hyper-vigilant during the summer months to ensure our hair survives and thrives for years to come. In this post, we’ll outline ten ways you can protect your hair from June to August.

How Does The Summertime Affect Your Hair?

Before we jump into the tips, let’s talk about why our hair can be so difficult to manage during those summer months.

If you suffer from dry skin, winter can be tough to get through without developing scaly patches, dryness, and even flaking on your scalp. On the other hand, if you have oily skin, summer can mean an even more oily scalp and greasy locks. Not to mention the potential damage from increased sun exposure to our scalp and hair strands.

When we’re talking about our hair and scalp in the summer, it’s important to keep in mind the below risk factors and ways to protect against them.

UV Damage

We’re sure by now you have a solid round of SPF built into your daily skincare routine, but did you know that UV rays can also damage your scalp and hair? One study found that excessive exposure to the sun’s rays is actually the most common cause of structural impairment in hair strands. Sunburns on the scalp can be itchy, painful, and challenging to treat. Often we see these appearing along the edges of our hairline and where we part our hair, especially if we tend to stick to the same hairstyle everyday. So while that slicked back center part pony may be the perfect style for the summer, it may also leave one line in your scalp vulnerable to sunburn and UV damage.  

Another thing to note is that lighter-colored hair is more likely to be damaged by the sun than darker-colored hair. This is because it tends to have less melanin, a naturally protective pigment found in hair and skin. With that in mind, people with blonde, red, and gray hair are more susceptible to sun damage and should take extra steps to ensure they’re protected.

Chemical Damage

One of our favorite ways to cool off in the summer is to dip in a swimming pool. However, chlorine-treated pools can be ultra harsh on our hair, leading to chemical damage. That’s why swimmers often experience straw-like hair strands or a greenish tint if they have light hair.

Build Up

Scalp build-up is the sum of all the stuff that gets trapped at the roots of our hair. Styling products, sweat, dirt, skin cells, you name it. When there’s an excess of build-up, our scalp’s microbiome gets thrown off, which can lead to irritation, flaking, and greasiness.  

Everyday we collect dust, dirt, and sweat on our scalps, and that risk only gets higher during summer as we spend more time outside and are most likely producing more oil and sweat on our scalps and along our hairline. Add the fact that we’re usually pretty addicted to dry shampoo during the summer (hello oily hair!), and you’ve got the perfect recipe for some serious build-up. 

Humidity

Lastly, there’s the humidity. Humidity impacts hair in so many ways, depending on your natural curl pattern and hair texture. If you have thin, straight hair, you may find that humidity has your locks falling flat and limp. If you have thick, curly hair, you’ll probably be dealing with some frizz. Humidity can also leave your hair and scalp feeling more oily than normal given the increased moisture level in the air.

In either case, you may be reaching towards a product to help style your hair and tame the frizz, which means more build-up.

How To Protect Your Hair From the Heat?

So, let’s talk about how you can protect your hair from the sun and enjoy the summer months while maintaining a healthy scalp and gorgeous head of hair.

#1) Wear A Hat

One of the easiest ways to protect your hair and scalp is to cover it. So much of the damage we see in the summer comes directly from sun exposure. To prevent hair strand damage and sunburn, we recommend making a hat or headscarf your new summer wardrobe staple, especially on days when you’re going to be outside a lot. 

There are many UPF options on the market that provide added UV protection. Just remember, we want a hat or head covering that fits comfortably but is still breathable so we don’t trap sweat and excess moisture on our scalp which contributes to buildup and irritation.

#2) Apply SPF To Your Scalp

On days where the headgear doesn’t go with the outfit, apply SPF to your scalp and regularly reapply every couple of hours.

Is SPF on your scalp necessary? Absolutely. It helps to protect against sunburn, skin cancer (between two and eighteen percent of skin cancers may affect the scalp), and sun damage to your hair strands

A little SPF, at least along your hairline and on your part, can go a long way.

#3) Avoid Chemical Treatments

Harsh treatments like permanent color changes and perms or straightening procedures can leave your hair strands weak. When you compound chemical treatment with UV rays and added summer buildup, it can spell trouble for your hair.

If you can, hold off until the weather starts to cool down a bit. 

#4) Rinse Hair After Swimming In Pools

Chlorine is no friend to your hair. Do you know your hair's crunchy texture after it dries from the pool? That’s what we’re trying to avoid here.

We know the first thing you want to do after a swim is lay on a beach chair and get a tan. But before you do, head to the shower for a quick rinse. Getting the chemicals out of your hair as quickly as possible can help maintain your hair health. And if you have light hair, rinsing directly after a swim will ensure you keep those post-swim green tones at bay.

#5) Eat an Enriched Diet

Your hair may be on the outside, but its health starts on the inside. Eating a nutritious diet and giving it the vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive is essential—vitamins A, C, and D all have major roles in hair growth. Make sure you’re getting enough. To that end, try to incorporate more food that includes fatty acids like fish and nuts, as these can help strengthen your hair strands.

We have a full crash course on foods that protect hair health here – check it out!

... excessive exposure to the sun’s rays is actually the most common cause of structural impairment in hair strands.

#6) Drink Plenty of Water

Just like with the food you eat, the amount of water you drink can radically change your hair's health and appearance. We tend to get more dehydrated in the summer as sweat production increases in the heat.

Make sure you’re drinking your daily allowance of water and stay consistent. Your body and hair will thank you.

#7) Regularly Moisturize Your Scalp

We know it may feel a little counterintuitive because we’re often dealing with grease in the summer, but bringing moisture back to your scalp and hair can help it recover from sun damage and dryness that may results from spending a lot of time in cool air conditioning (that’s right, A/C can also impact our hair and scalps). Consider introducing a weekly scalp and hair mask into your routine to bring a healthy bounce back to your hair and hydration to your scalp. Bonus, if you do it with a cool rinse, it’s an ultra-relaxing way to chill out. Our Purifying Mask should do the trick perfectly.

Moisturizing your scalp, just like you do the skin on your face and body, is also important in the summer months to make sure the heat and sun don’t leave your scalp dry, which can negatively impact your hair follicles.

#8) Tweak Your Hair Washing Routine

You might be tempted to wash your hair more often during the summer, but if you’re using the wrong products, you could end up drying out your hair. If your shampoo includes sulfates, it’s stripping your scalp of its essential oils. Washing it more often may only make that problem worse. Look for products that don’t include sulfates, like our Balancing Shampoo, that leave your scalp refreshed and your hair strands cleansed without the harsh stripping properties of sulfates. 

#9) Start Exfoliating Your Scalp

Consider exfoliating your scalp before a wash to help address increased buildup we often experience in the warm summer months. Before jumping into the shower, use a specially designed scalp brush to massage your scalp, clearing away dirt, so your cleanse goes even further. We may be biased, but Jupiter’s ergonomic design and gentle bristles do just the track.

Two bonuses here. It feels amazing and can also increase circulation to your scalp, helping foster healthier hair growth.

#10) Regulate the Thermostat

While the summer months mean heat and sun exposure, we also tend to spend a lot of time enjoying the relief of indoor air conditioning. Keep in mind that A/C dehumidifies the air around us by swapping the hot air with the cool air, sucking out the essential moisture, and substituting it with cool, dry air. 

The removal of moisture from the air can lead to our hair and skin becoming dry and damaged, which is why those who spend their time in air-conditioned rooms may notice that their skin and scalp feel dry, tight, or itchy, and may notice flakes.

Keep the thermostat temperature in mind throughout the summer to ensure you are staying cool without drying out your hair and scalp. 

A Few Last Thoughts On Summer Hair Protection

We know frizz, sweat, and heat can be a pain, but with these ten tips, we hope the summer months feel a little more manageable. Here’s a quick recap for safe keeping:

  • Stick to the shade and wear head coverings. 

  • Apply SPF to your scalp. 

  • Avoid chemical treatments with harsh products. 

  • Give your hair a quick rinse after swimming in chlorine pools. 

  • Eat a nutrient-rich diet for hair health. 

  • Drink plenty of water. 

  • Do a moisturizing treatment once a week. 

  • Ditch the sulfates and resist the temptation to wash hair all the time.

  • Pick up a scalp brush asap and fall in love with exfoliating.

  • Regulate your time spent in cool air conditioning to avoid dryness.

We hope your summer is full of happy memories and really good hair days. Winter will be back before you know it, and that’s a whole different haircare story.

The “Whole Darn Set” Set
The “Whole Darn Set” Set

Built for those looking to address constant or severe flaking, redness, or irritation and want their mane left looking refreshed and silky smooth.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about the information contained herein, as well as the risks or benefits of any treatment.