11 Must-Try Tricks for Having Healthy, Gorgeous Hair All Summer Long

Updated: Apr. 22, 2021

Save your hair from sun damage with these hair pro tips that can help prevent your summer hair from drying out when the sun's out.

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Keeping your hair healthy in the summer

Long summer days mean more sun and more heat. You hopefully remember to apply more sunscreen on your body, but what about your scalp? The longer hours of daylight and the sweltering heat can leave your hair looking dry, brittle, and prone to sunburn. Yes, that’s right: Summer hair can get “sunburn” as you likely forget your scalp when you’re putting on sunscreen. (Here are the other bad places to get a sunburn.) But that’s not the only thing the summer weather does. Hair experts offer their tips for keeping locks moisturized and looking healthy all season long.

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Start with the healthiest hair possible

It’s not just your body that you might want to prepare for the beach—your hair will benefit with some prep, too. Visit your hair stylist (if salons have reopened near you) for a trim to get rid of dead ends that could turn into split ends. Talk to them about your summer hair goals; a good stylist can suggest a style that will air dry better, if that’s your summer thing. And remember that hair grows faster in summer, so plan on getting another trim a little more quickly than you normally do.

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Heat damage isn’t just from your curling iron

Spending hours at the beach or pool counts as applying heat to your hair, cautions Sam DiVine, celebrity hairstylist at Society Salon in Los Angeles. And just like you would before you blow out your hair, you should apply a leave-in conditioner to the ends of your hair before heading outdoors, she recommends.

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Scalps aren’t immune to sunburn

“Most of us tend to neglect their scalp when we apply sunblock,” says DiVine. And no wonder. Who wants to put that thick creamy lotion on their locks? Divine suggests diluting some sunscreen with water and spraying it onto your scalp. There are also sunscreens that are made for your scalp, says Kacey Welch from Roil Salon in Beverly Hills. She recommends Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray and Banana Boat Sport Quik Dri Scalp Spray Sunscreen. For a foolproof way to protect your scalp from the sun, wear a hat made of sun-protective material.

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Escape chlorine green hair

If you spend a lot of your day in the pool, you know you’re at risk of ending up with green hair, especially if you color your hair. “This happens when the chemicals from some hair dyes mixes with chlorine,” explains DiVine. “A way to reduce the green hue is by washing your hair with baking soda and leave it in for a few minutes.” Kacey also stresses that blondes need to be especially careful. “Malibu C is a great shampoo for swimmers and keeps the green out,” she says. Bernhards Ziverts, owner and master stylist at New York’s Matii Salon, says the chemicals in chlorine will ruin the hair shelf, especially if the hair is highlighted or colored. He advocates deep conditioners and keratin treatments to maintain hair health and keep it shiny and vibrant.

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Don’t let sweat get you down

If you don’t want your hair to look oily, keep it away from the sweat on your body. “A fishtail braid or simple updo will move you hair away from common sweaty areas such as your forehead and the back of your neck,” says DiVine. Kacey recommends stashing bobby pins and elastics in your beach bag all summer long, so you’re never caught short when you want to create that top knot, bun, ponytail, or braid.

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Don’t get brassy

If you have color-treated hair, summer brings out your worst enemies: sun, salt, and chlorine. “These factors can cause a chemical reaction on your hair, causing your color to become brassy,” explains celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons in Los Angeles. He recommends protecting the hair with a heat protection/UV protection spray, like the Bamboo Beach Summer Sunshine Spray. Spray it liberally about five inches away from your hair, from mid-shaft to the ends, then let hair dry. Many heat protection sprays can be used on dry hair, too, when you feel like you need extra help.

illustration of two hair care bottles
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Halt humidity (or at least its effects)

Hair tends to get frizzier during summer both because it’s more humid out and because the hair itself is likely to be drier and more damaged. To fight the frizz, your first line of defense is a good anti-frizz spray. To keep frizz to a minimum, Alan Bauman, MD, board-certified hair restoration physician and founder, CEO, and medical director of Bauman Medical in Boca Raton, Florida, suggests looking for shampoos and conditioners with two ingredients: amino-silicones, which adhere to the hair and prevent humidity from getting in, and cationic surfactants, which neutralize the negative charges in the hair’s keratin protein.

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Put on a mask before you dip

Before you dive into the water, slap on a hair mask or deep conditioner, suggests Johnny Lavoy, artistic director and owner of Moda-Rey in West Hartford, Connecticut. He also recommends you apply it after your swim to keep hair moisturized and shiny. He likes Infusium Moisturize + Replenish Leave-In Treatment. “Your hair wants nothing more than to be treated with moisture after it has been exposed to the elements,” agrees Jen Rushton, senior stylist at Tangerine Aveda lifestyle salon in Reno, Nevada.

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Go cold to amp up shine

Rinse your hair with cold water after you shampoo to get your hair super shiny. “It’s not the most enjoyable thing,” Lavoy admits. “But it will aid in closing the hair cuticle and allow the hair to reflect more light resulting in shiny hair.” If you can’t stand the thought of a cold shower, take a warm one and then rinse with cold water for a few seconds at the very end. Alternatively, mix one cup apple cider vinegar with two cups water, and pour it over your hair after washing and conditioning. Vinegar gently exfoliates and removes product build-up and dead skin from the scalp.

illustration of two hair braids
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Try to air dry

Take advantage of the warm weather and air dry your hair whenever possible—it’s healthier. Don’t worry about it looking flat. If you apply hydrating mousse when your hair’s damp then put it into a big, loose braid and twist and clip it into a bun a few inches below the crown, your hair will dry into nice, even waves. But on those days when you don’t have time to wait, use an ionic dryer, which is better at fighting frizz and static and leaves hair shinier. Lavoy recommends the PRO Beauty Tools 1875 Watt Ionic Dryer. “This dryer also has a cold shot button that helps seal the cuticle,” he says.

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Comb from the bottom up

Fernando Salas, creator of White Sands Hair Care, stresses the importance of gentle combing during summer. “The way you comb your mane can either hurt or help sun, wind, salt and chlorine damaged hair,” he says. “Make sure to use a wide tooth bone comb, detangling your hair from the bottom up and slowly working your way up since hair is in its most delicate state wet. This will prevent unnecessary breakage from occurring because you are working with less surface area to untangle at one time. Working in smaller sections is key.” He says the White Sands Haircare’s Leave-In Conditioner will make wet combing easier, as it nourishes and smooths areas of the cuticle that need repair the most.

Next up, the 12 absolute worst things you can to to your hair.