During hot summer months, staying hydrated is essential. It’s not just our insides that need H2O, though. Our hair gets pretty thirsty, too!
The UV rays from the sun are damaging and incredibly drying to the hair, notes Whitney Hunt, stylist at Oscar Blandi Salon in New York City. That’s why she urges her clients to up their hair hydration game during the summer months. “Keeping your hair moisturized is vital for its health—not only because it keeps hair strong and prevents breakage, but also because it keeps the strands’ nutrients intact,” she says. “Hydrating the hair follicle creates a barrier that prevents damage, thus increasing the longevity of healthy hair.”
Every hair type has its own requirements for maintaining moisture and thriving. Most hairstylists agree that there are three varying levels of thickness: fine, medium, and coarse. “Fine consists of strands that have very thin diameters and cuticle layers that are minimal,” explains trichologist and hairstylist Kerry E. Yates, CEO of Colour Collective. “Medium is slightly wider in diameter, with five to 10 cuticle layers, and coarse is even wider and contains more than 10 cuticle layers.”
This top stylist-backed hair hydration guide will help you breeze through the summer with beautiful, healthy locks.
People with fine hair tend to require little maintenance, mainly because they don’t have a whole lot of hair to deal with. Many, though, desire a more voluminous look—especially at the root.
“Often people with fine hair wrongly assume they need to wash their hair every day to get volume,” says Yates. She recommends washing less often, like every other day, which allows your hair’s natural oils to nourish your strands and produce natural hydration. She also suggests staying away from silicone-containing or clarifying shampoos, which can cause the scalp to overproduce sebum, which creates a limp look at the scalp. (Check out Shea Moisture 100% Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Shampoo instead.)
If, in between washes, you feel that your hair is becoming limp or lifeless, opt for a little dry shampoo, she recommends. (Give Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Tapioca Dry Shampoo a shot.)
If your hair is medium thickness and has a natural wave to it, you can typically let it dry naturally (applying product will enhance waves).
Medium, wavy hair can run into complications, however. “People with wavy hair tend to have a problem with frizz and humidity,” notes Anita Sun, hairstylist at Eliut Salon in New York City. She recommends using moisturizing shampoos and conditioners and avoiding products that contain alcohol, which can dry out and alter your hair texture.
Another recommendation: “Use leave-in conditioners that are light and hydrating or oil-based leave-in serums for shine and hydration,” she says. Two solid options: Not Your Mother’s Repair And Protect Leave-In Conditioner Spray and Shea Terra Organics Egyptian Black Castor Hair Oil.
“Masks are also excellent to do once a week to once a month, depending on the condition of your hair,” says Sun.
If your hair is naturally straighter, you are certainly in luck. “Straight hair pretty much wants to stay straight, is super-resilient so it holds styles well, and can take the heat from aggressive styling tools,” explains Yates. However, depending on how often you use heat-styling tools and whether or not you color your hair or do any chemical treatments, it can still get very dry and damaged. You’ll need a proper hair hydration regimen to combat it.
Read More: Are You Dehydrated Without Even Knowing It?
Yates recommends those with thick, straight hair shampoo and condition every two days and use a deep conditioning mask weekly to offset any potential damage. Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp Strengthen & Revitalize Deep Treatment Mask is a good option.
By nature, coarse hair requires way more moisture in order to maintain the elasticity and prevent breakage.
“While there are many different levels to curly hair, the main idea when maintaining moisture is keeping a healthy scalp,” says Sun. She recommends washing your hair less frequently (weekly is a good place to start). It’s also important to use super-hydrating shampoos and conditioners.
“Some may even consider co-washing,” she says. (Co-washing entails only washing with conditioner.) “This is another way of washing your hair without using shampoos that have foaming agents harsh on curly hair. Her only caution: Stick to very light conditioner so it doesn’t cause build-up in your hair.”
Some other tips Sun recommends: detangling your hair before or while you wash it and using a mask at least every other week. Try Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque.
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