While many of us might subscribe to the no-frills school of hair care, the majority of hair types need a little more TLC than a dollop of Head & Shoulders and a brisk towel dry.
And never more so than during summer – from UV rays to high humidity, your locks have a lot to contend with. If you’re keen to keep your scalp from searing, or you want to know which products won’t melt after thirty seconds in the sun, then read on for some season-specific advice from top stylists.
Although there are plenty of ways to care for your hair in warmer weather, one of the best solutions is to switch up your style.
“For [summer], you want a style that’s easy to maintain and that isn’t affected by heat and humidity – so going a bit shorter is a good thing to do,” says Daniel Davies, General Manager at Pall Mall Barbers. “It’s also much easier to rinse chlorine out of a shorter hairstyle, which is important as chlorine is really damaging to hair and can leave it feeling like straw.”
Going shorter also means less sweat and easy styling. “If you want to look great straight out of the sea and straight into beach clubs, then keep your layers cropped fairly short,” says Alex Glover, Master Barber at Murdock at Liberty London. “This kind of style looks great with or without product, messy or smooth.”
Keep UV Rays At Bay
Protecting your scalp from the sun is absolutely vital if you’ve decided to give your locks the chop, but equally important if you’ll be sporting a longer style for summer.
“Guys with a number one or two shaved head will need to protect the entire area with SPF – and don’t forget to regularly re-apply,” says Davies.
But those with a more sizeable thatch of hair covering their head should still use sun block: “It’s worth remembering that you can put sun cream on your hair as well as your face, and it’s well worth doing,” explains Davies.
“P20 Sun Oil is really good for protecting your hair and head as well. It’s easy to apply, acting almost like a leave-in conditioner and is especially important if you have fine or blonde hair.”
- Riemann P20 Spf20 Sunscreen 200ml
- Piz Buin In Sun Lotion Spf 15 200ml
- NIVEA SUN Protect & Refresh Cooling Sun Spray
- Soltan Invisible Dry-touch Transparent Suncare Spray Spf15
- Ultrasun Ultra Sensitive Very High Spf 50+
- Malibu Scalp Protector 50ml Spf15
Lock In Moisture
As well as undercutting the effects of UV rays with SPF, ensuring your hair is well moisturised is key in hotter conditions.
“Wash your hair at the beginning of your shower (using a ‘detox shampoo’ if you’ve been swimming in chlorinated water) and then properly massage some conditioner in,” suggests Davies. “Then, continue to shower and allow the conditioner to do its job – this restores your hair’s moisture and it’ll look ten times better afterwards, especially if you’ve been out in the sun and sea all day.”
Celebrity hairstylist Jamie Stevens suggests going a step further: “I always advise my clients to swap their conditioner for a masque during the summer months. Hair masques and treatments are much thicker in their consistency and they penetrate deeper into the hair follicle.”
“Leave some of the treatment, mask or conditioner in your hair throughout the day – it acts as a barrier to tame any frizz that may occur and also helps to keep your hair hydrated.”
While all hair types can benefit from moisturising, those with especially dry types of hair, such as afro hair, will really see a difference. “Coconut oil is my favourite product for afro hair during the summer,” says Stevens.
“It’s natural and helps to keep the hair nicely hydrated, especially at the ends. You can also use it as a wash-out or leave-in conditioning treatment to hydrate and moisturise the hair – but remember that when using coconut oil, less is always more.”
- Philip Kingsley Remoisturizing Conditioner
- Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Conditioner 250ml
- Biona Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil
- Wella Sp Sun Concentrate 50ml
- Bc Bonacure Sun Protect By Schwarzkopf Spray Conditioner 200ml
- Loreal Professionnel Solar Sublime Spray 125ml
- Aveda Sun Care Hair Treatment Masque 125ml
- Paul Mitchell Sun Shield Conditioning Spray 125ml
- Aussie Miracle Hair Insurance Leave-in Conditioner 250ml
Fend Off The Fade
Whether you have greys and dye them, or have opted for subtle highlights, you need to take extra care of coloured hair when out in the sun.
“There are products specifically designed for coloured hair, which limit fading and brassiness – Kérastase Soleil Aqua-Seal, for example,” says Glover. By using a product like this, you’ll ensure your dyed hair doesn’t lose its sheen prematurely.
Or Lighten Up
Fading and lightening might be a concern for some, but for others the sun’s natural lightening effect is something to take advantage of. “Some men might enjoy letting the natural highlights encouraged by the combination of sunshine and fresh air flourish in their hair,” says Glover.
“This can create a nice textural effect on dark blonde and light brown hair, so keep your hair free of styling products to allow air [key to the natural lightening effect] in and around the hair.”
To help enhance the process, Glover recommends using some Sun-In Lightener or John Frieda Go Blonder Controlled Lightening Spray at home with a hair dryer. But be warned, both of these products should only be used if you’ve got naturally blonde or dark blonde hair – use them on darker hair and you’re likely to develop a brassy red or orange tinge.
Mind The Melt
Between hot air and harsh UV rays, summer’s not the time to experiment with styles that require a lot of product. Many gels, pastes and creams simply can’t stand the heat and will ultimately leave your hair sunken and your forehead soaked.
“Avoid any highly water soluble products,” advises Glover. “These will mix with sweat from your scalp, as well as rinse out in sea water, stinging your eyes as they run down your face.” Ditto, products that require dry air to set properly – summer’s heat and humidity won’t do them any favours.
If, on the other hand, the thought of an entire summer with unstyled hair is enough to give you a mild stroke, then those with shorter hair can opt for a clay product. “A clay-type product like Murdock’s Matt Mudd can be used for a dry, matte effect and won’t go sticky or melt in the sun,” explains Glover.
When it comes to removal, Davies has an on-the-go tip that’s perfect for when you’re roughing it at your favourite festival: “Rub a small amount of talc in a circular motion on the hair. This will gather the product up into a small ball, and is a great way of getting oil-based products out of the hair.”
Be Good To Your Beard
For those of you not buying the peak beard argument, remember that your whiskers need just as much attention as your hair when out in the sun.
“Don’t forget to look after your beard or it will turn to wire wool,” says Glover. While important year-round, shampooing, conditioning and oiling your beard is paramount as soon as the summer is truly in swing.
The summer months may be about letting it all hang out, but when it comes to your hair, a slapdash approach will only set you up for failure. By bearing these essential tips in mind, you’ll ensure your hair stays in good nick no matter how sweltering the season.
Do you have any summer hair care tips to share?
Let us know by commenting below.