Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
Summer Care for Beautiful Hair
Tousled tresses and beachy natural waves are THE look for summer no matter what your age or proximity to the ocean. The vacation vibe that makes the season so special also applies to your hair care as you relax your pace and daily routine. With so many breezy pulled-back looks to choose from, you can relax from the more time-consuming styles that you favor other times of year.
Your hair deserves a break too. Over time, heat styling, coloring and blow-drying ravage hair follicles and rob strands of radiance, leading to dry, dull and wiry hair that ultimately needs even more product and styling to tame. The sun’s intense UV rays during hot weather months can further push hair further into damaged territory.
But that’s not the worst-case scenario: when follicles become stressed, it can upend your hair’s growth and maturation cycle, which can result in a shorter anagen (growth) phase and accelerated pace to the exogen (shedding) phase… and that’s no place you want to be for very long. Then there’s the ongoing influence of DNA, stress, nutrient deficiencies and aging that can also cause excess hair shedding.
This summer, protect your hair the way you protect your skin with the right ingredients for maintaining health, strength and shine all season long.
Don’t forget sun protection
If you think sun protection is only for skin, think again. Not only is your scalp susceptible to sunburns, especially your part, strands themselves can get fried and discolored as sun rays destroy hair’s pigment proteins. According to scientists, the sun’s UV radiation increases by a factor of 10, making prolonged exposure all the more harmful when you consider it only takes minutes to burn.
Be prepared when you head outdoors. A wide-brim hat is great for when you plan to be out in the sun for extended periods, whether in your garden or at the pool. And after taking laps in the pool, be sure to rinse your hair with clean water to remove chlorine and other harsh chemicals.
Take it easy with hair-care products… the sun can intensify the chemicals, which can further damage your locks. And above, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your part!
The other hair-care accessories
While a stylish hat and pretty hair ties are definite summer must-haves, there are other essentials that are even more important to the long-term health and shine of your tresses.
Beautiful hair is built on keratin—the fibrous protein that comprises up to 90% of hair’s structure. But aging and other factors cause synthesis of keratin to wane, which makes loading up on the right dietary protein necessary to provide the amino acid building blocks your body needs to produce keratin.
Unfortunately, palatable food sources of keratin are nonexistent. So for a direct source of keratin, find a supplement with the keratin ingredient, Cynatine HNS, because its shown to support hair growth and reduce excess hair shedding.* One to try: Keratin Enrich, which is also loaded with shine-boosting B-vitamins like biotin to support keratin production.
You know vitamin C as an immune booster, but it’s also a building block of healthy hair growth. It works in two ways. Vitamin C fights free radicals that threaten hair follicle cells. It’s also integral for procollagen … the phase that precedes production of keratin as well as collagen.
DIY hair repair
For days when you’ve had too much fun in the sun and your strands are paying the price, spend some spa time at home repairing your hair. No fancy products necessary—just use ingredients you have in your kitchen, such as olive oil, coconut oil, honey, an overripe avocado or banana, egg, collagen powder, and milk, cream or yogurt (the higher the fat content, the better). Aloe vera gel works great too. (For a fine collagen powder that dissolves quickly, try Youthful Beauty with collagen peptides).
Make your own soothing hair mask by combining some natural fat, protein and a binder until smooth and creamy. Apply to hair starting with your roots, wrap in a bun and leave on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with warm water. For intensive treatment for dry, brittle hair, wear a shower cap and leave on longer before rinsing.
Get out there and enjoy a season of summer vibes and lustrous locks this year—you deserve it!