Your hair probably feels different in the summer vs winter – that’s not unusual. The harshness of extreme weather conditions, be it the heat or the cold can be disastrous for both natural and relaxed hair if you’re not prepared.
In the summer, you’re either dealing with dry heat and crunchy, thirsty hair, or infuriating frizz-inducing humidity. In the winter your hair may feel brittle. If you’re a natural using natural products such as coconut oil or Shea butter, your hair may even feel a little stiff. Given the time of year, I’m going to focus on summer hair.
What’s the problem?
The problem is the heat. Even in London, during the summer temperatures rocket to 30+ degrees Celsius. If you’re like me, then you seize the opportunity to be out and about in the sunshine. This means that you end up with crispy hair that feels wiry and cracks when you run your fingers through it (if you’re able to do that). When my hair is really dry, it becomes impossible to de-tangle or style. Most people now know that whether you’re black, white, orange, or blue, you should be wearing sunscreen on your skin, but what does is mean for your hair?
What’s the solution?
Come May-June time I switch from the heavy-duty butters and oils to much lighter leave in conditioners/creams. The Shea Moisture Tahitian Monoi line for example works wonders for me. Most Shea Moisture products contain coconut oil so if you know that your skin or hair does not agree with the stuff, I suggest you steer clear. For me, lighter products strike the right balance between moisture, getting the definition I need. Because the sun is out, I’m much more likely to opt for a wash and go. Air drying becomes less burdensome and my only real worry is how to avoid frizzy hair. I’m slowly learning that you can’t completely avoid frizz in the summer but you can find ways to minimise it. If I’ve been in the sun all day, I spray water in my hair before bed. Sometimes I re-wet it midweek in the shower, twist it and let it dry twisted up.
Washing once a week and co-washing (washing with conditioner) in between if your hair is really parched, is essential. Deep conditioning is also important. I switch to a lighter deep conditioner in the summer, and I tend to mix in less oil (if I choose to add any at all). Using excessive amounts of oil makes hair greasy and weighs it down. I find that it tangles my hair too and although it might make it shiny initially, it begins to dull after a few days.
I’m much more likely to visit a salon in the summer. I suddenly remember that my hair needs a trim, or decide that I need to straighten it for a holiday. It rains less so my hair is less likely to revert, which means I can rock it straight for longer. Ask your stylist what products they would recommend for the summer. Ensure they don’t use too much oil, but make sure they are using heat protectant before blow drying, straightening or putting you under a dryer. Don’t be afraid to take your own products to the salon with you if you’re comfortable with your routine and you’re not sure they will stock the line you use. Check the ingredients in the products they’re using on your hair, and ask what they’re using for if you’re unsure. Check if they’re better for summer or winter – a good stylist will know and tell you.
- If you’re going on holiday and it’s going to be hot and sunny, use a heat protectant on your hair – find one that isn’t too oily to avoid greasy hair and skin break outs.
- Deep condition once a week
- If your hair is natural, moisturise every other night (at the very least)
- Tie a silk or satin scarf around your hair before bed to help seal in moisture and to avoid friction against cotton pillows.
- Wash your hair once a week
- Use a lighter leave in/moisturiser and focus on the tips of your hair
- Drink lots of water! Staying hydrated is good for the hair and body.