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 quick towel dry.
If you’re keen to keep your scalp from searing, or you want to know which hair 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,” says Daniel Davies, general manager at London’s Pall Mall Barbers, who adds that going short is the thing to do. “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.”
Opting for a high and tight haircut or a crop with a taper fade 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 London department store Liberty. “This kind of style looks great with or without product, messy or smooth.”
Keep UV Rays At Bay
Protecting your newly exposed scalp from sun damage is vital after giving your locks the chop, but it’s equally important if sporting a long hairstyle, too.
“Guys with a number one or two shaved head will need to protect the entire area with SPF,” 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,” adds 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
About 10 to 13 per cent of hair is made up of water, so as well as undercutting the effects of UV rays with SPF, keeping locks loaded with moisture becomes vital in hotter conditions.
In addition to allowing a conditioner time to do its work in the shower, celebrity hairstylist Jamie Stevens suggests going a step further. “I always advise clients occasionally swap their conditioner for a masque during the summer months as these are much thicker and penetrate deeper into the hair follicle.”
While all hair types can benefit from moisturising, those with typically dry locks will see a noticeable difference. “Coconut oil is a great 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.”
Fend Off The Fade
Whether you have greys and dye them, or have hit the (bleach) bottle, there are extra steps to be taken with coloured hair when out in the heat.
Of course, it’s not just the summer sun that can cause your colour to fade — as any dermatologist (or sunglasses salesman) will tell you, UV rays are year-round — but fewer clouds make protection all the more important.
“There are products specifically designed for coloured hair, which limit fading and brassiness,” says Glover. Look for those packing UV protectors and vitamins A, C and E to prevent future damage.
Fading and lightening might be as much of a concern as receding 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 to 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 in and around the strands.”
There are several products on the market designed to enhance the process, some of which can be activated by a hairdryer. But be warned: most 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 correctly – summer’s heat and humidity won’t do them any favours.
If the thought of an entire summer with unstyled hair is enough to make you shudder, those with short hair can opt for something dry and thick. “A clay-type product can be used for a matte effect and won’t go sticky or melt in the sun,” adds Glover.
Be Good To Your Beard
Most guys instinctively reach for the razor in summer in a bid to cool down their jawline, but there is a case for growing a beard during the warmer months — not least because they look badass.
The primary benefit of some summertime facial fuzz is the fact that anything more substantial than designer stubble is going to help shield the face from harmful UVB rays (those that burn the skin). But that means the beards themselves need looking after.
“Don’t forget to look after your facial hair, or it will turn to wire wool,” says Glover. While important year-round, shampooing, conditioning and nourishing the individual whiskers with a beard oil is paramount as soon as the summer is truly in swing.