Summer Hair Issues

It can be a bit alarming to experience an adverse change in the texture of ones hair. There could be one or several elements to take into account, the weather being a substantial factor. With warmer temperatures and higher humidity levels, there are a few problems that can arise: dryness, split ends, frizz and excessive oil production. These problems all have solutions and can often be eliminated, or at least mitigated, to achieve smoother, healthier summer hair.

Dry Hair
Dry hair is usually the result of using the wrong products (or lack thereof), external damage, or diet. If your hair is color treated and chronically dry, talk to your colorist about using an ammonia-free colorant on your hair. Also, choose more hydrating hair care products. In addition, it is wise to hydrate from the inside out with the right nutrition and supplements.

Split Ends
Split ends occur when the hair has been compromised from external damage or simply because it desperately needs a trim. Remember that hair is quite old near the ends and the strands split in a similar way to fabric fraying from constant wear and tear (like the hem on a pair of jeans that becomes ragged after months of dragging on the ground). Over time, especially with the constant use of heat from drying and ironing, this fraying is likely to happen. Regular brushing helps to prevent this by conditioning the hair, while using a thermal protection product before heat styling shields the ends. Although you can temporarily smooth the ends with hair oil or a silicone product, or smooth them under with a round brush to look more presentable, ultimately it is only camouflaging and not treating the problem. The only real remedy for split ends is cutting them off.

The hair problem I am asked about most is frizz. Women usually chalk it up to the weather, heredity or a curse, but it is more often induced or exacerbated by poor hair care habits, improper heat styling, bad haircuts and chemical processing. The best way to fight frizz is by having healthy diet, proper home care and a good stylist/colorist who knows how to work with your natural texture. Other than that, treating the hair roughly, in general, can create frizz even without heat. For instance, aggressive towel drying lifts the cuticle, even before you begin to style the hair. It may even lead to breakage and/or split ends over time. Be gentle with your hair: blot it dry by lightly squeezing it with your towel. The overlapping of permanent hair color (especially that contains ammonia) also stresses the hair and contributes to frizz by damaging the outer cuticle layer of the strand.

Climate is another trigger: humidity expands the cuticle of the hair. On curly or coarse textures with an already elevated cuticle, this can be an inescapable formula for frizz. Applying an anti-humectant product such as a smoothing serum temporarily coats the strands to counteract the effects of humidity. Ultimately, however, this kind of product can build up, weighing down the hair and dulling its shine. What you really need is consistent moisturizing to keep the cuticle smooth. The most effective way to achieve this is through regular brushing. Another is by applying a conditioning mask once a week.

Frizz can also start in the salon from overlapping of color or over-texturizing and thinning during the haircut. In such case, you should notice small broken, shorter hairs popping up in humidity.

Oily Hair
Oily hair is caused by an overproduction of sebum. Remember that the skin and scalp are one, so if your skin is oily, it is likely that your scalp is, too. For teenagers who have excessively oily hair, the problem is most likely hormonal and will pass. In the meantime, anyone with oily hair should simply follow common sense and shampoo more often, but not more than once per day. You can use a clarifying shampoo more frequently, perhaps twice a week, to deeply cleanse the excess oil and residue that are weighing the hair down. In addition, since brushing cleans the hair, it will actually help loosen dirt and oil, so the hair does not look so flat.

Beauty Secret: Create a liquid barrier on your hair before swimming.
Before you swim in a chlorinated pool or take a dip in the ocean, saturate your hair with clean water. The hair will absorb less of the chlorinated or salty water if it's already wet. (Like a sponge, it can only absorb so much liquid.) While salt water is not as damaging as chlorine, it is still dehydrating to the hair. When I go swimming, I also apply natural oils to my hair, which creates a protective barrier from the chlorine and keeps my hair from drying out.

For more information on caring for your hair please refer to Chapter Three of Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, Techniques, and Insider Knowledge Every Women Needs To Be Her Most Beautiful Confident Self.