Most guys subscribe to the no-frills school of hair care, which, considering how much is usually there, makes sense. But when it comes to summer, a slapdash approach will only set you up for follicular failure.
From UV rays to high humidity, your locks have a lot to contend with, meaning the majority of men’s hairstyles need a little more TLC than a dollop of shampoo and a brisk towel dry.
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, keep these essential tips from top stylists in mind.
Although there are plenty of bottled up ways to care for your hair in warmer weather, one of the best solutions is to lay solid foundations with the right cut.
“For summer, you want a style that’s easy to maintain and isn’t affected by heat or humidity – so going a bit shorter is a good thing to do,” says Daniel Davies, general manager at London’s Pall Mall Barbers. “It’s also much easier to rinse chlorine out of a shorter style, which is important as this chemical is really damaging to hair and can leave it feeling like straw.”
Going shorter also means less sweat and easier styling. “To look great straight out of the sea and straight into beach clubs, keep your layers fairly short,” says Alex Glover, master barber at the Murdock branch inside Liberty London. “This kind of style looks great with or without product, messy or smooth.”
Short Textured Hair
Keep UV Rays At Bay
Protecting your newly exposed scalp from sun damage is vital after giving your locks the chop, but equally important if sporting a longer style, too.
“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. “This is especially important for fine or blond hair.”
Those with a more sizeable thatch of hair covering their head should still use protection. “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 good for protecting your hair and head. It’s easy to apply, acting almost like a leave-in conditioner.”
Lock In Moisture
As well as undercutting the effects of UV rays with SPF, keeping hair 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 the hair’s moisture and it’ll look ten times better afterwards.”
Celebrity hairstylist Jamie Stevens advocates going a step further: “I always advise clients to swap their conditioner for a masque during the summer months. Hair masques and treatments are much thicker in consistency and penetrate deeper into the hair follicle.
“Leave some of the treatment in your hair throughout the day – it acts as a barrier to tame any frizz that may occur and also helps keep hair hydrated.”
While all hair types can benefit from moisturising, those with dry locks, such as afro hair, will see a noticeable difference. “Coconut oil is my favourite product for afro hair during the summer,” says Stevens. “It’s natural and helps to keep everything nicely hydrated, especially at the ends. It can also be used 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.”
Fend Off The Fade
Whether you have greys and dye them, or have done an Aaron Ramsey with the bleach bottle, 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.
Fading and lightening might be a concern for some, but for others, the sun’s natural brightening effect is something to take advantage of. “Many guys enjoy letting the natural highlights encouraged by sunshine and fresh air develop in their hair,” says Glover.
“This can create a textural effect on dark blond and light brown hair when it’s kept free of styling products to allow air [key to the natural lightening effect] in and around the strands.”
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 on naturally blond or dark blond hair – use them on anything darker 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 make you shudder, 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 if you’re roughing it at a 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.”
Be Good To Your Beard
For those still not buying the ‘peak beard’ theory, remember that facial whiskers need just as much attention 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.