Summer weather can take a toll on hair health and appearance. Extensive sun exposure, high heat and dry air can damage locks resulting in frayed, brittle and dull ends. Prevent split ends and improve scalp condition with diligent haircare practices to support hair health. Give the attention your hair needs with these tips for all hair types.
See Also: Summer Self-Care Hair, Skin And Style
A clear and clean scalp is the healthiest foundation for lustrous locks. Massage the scalp with a moderate amount of hair oil approximately one hour before shampooing at least once a week. Thoroughly cleanse the scalp with a clarifying shampoo, rinse and repeat to ensure a clean scalp.
Virgin hair that has not been chemically treated or dyed can benefit from a scalp detox with bentonite clay and lemon juice once or twice a month. Thoroughly rinse any trace of shampoo, conditioner or mask to avoid product build-up.
See Also: More From This Writer
Deep conditioners sans sulfates applied to the hair in four or more sections ensure even coverage for all strands. Follow deep conditioner with jojoba or almond oil before covering with a shower cap. Since oil is lighter than water, the oil remains on top of the water, creating an occlusion of the moisture to the hair rather than evaporating into the surrounding environment.
Deep condition and apply a leave-in before layering on an occlusive agent. If not, the moisture evaporates, nullifying deep conditioning efforts. Since dry air and environmental heat continuously draw moisture from the hair strands, using an occlusive agent like almond oil, jojoba oil or serums locks in the moisture.
Apply indirect diffused heat to damp hair with conditioner to facilitate the opening of the strands' outer cortexes. While applying heat may seem counterintuitive as a remedy for dry hair, when applied indirectly and evenly to damp hair with sufficient deep conditioner, heat helps moisture penetrate deeper into the strands.
A heating cap or hooded dryer will offer the most thorough and even heating, although a hot damp towel or a hand-held blow dryer works in a pinch. Deep conditioning with heat for 10 minutes to an hour or, according to your product’s instructions, one to four times a month can make a drastic difference in hair health.
Gently detangle each section with a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to further distribute the deep conditioner and oil from the ends, slowly working up the strands toward the roots. Different hair types require different combing and brushing methods, but all hair types benefit from using wider tooth tools to work through knots before finer tooth and bristled tools.
If tangles resist, add a little more water to that section and begin detangling at a lower point closer to the ends of the hair and work gradually up toward the roots. Some heads of hair will tolerate dry brushing generally for straighter and thinner hair types, while other heads of hair respond better to detangling while dripping wet with plenty of conditioner usually, for curlier and wavier hair. Whichever method, a gentle hand is suitable for all.
Ingredients like algae, aloe vera, coconut water and rose all bring hydration to strands for soft, supple locks. “Horsetail is rich in the minerals silica and selenium, which help promote good scalp circulation,” great for both growth and strand health, according to Brigitte Mars as discussed in Beauty by Nature. Take a closer look at the ingredients in your hair products, eliminate any that contain drying ingredients, and use products with hydrating, health-promoting ingredients.
Some conditioners “contain silicone, a highly reflective—but heavy—substance along with moisture-binding humectants,” as mentioned in Rona Berg’s Beauty the New Basics. Emollients, complex lipids and ceramides encourage hair scales to lie flat, resulting in smoother and shinier hair.
Dry, tangled hair that consistently shows no improvement after following healthy haircare practices for a month or two may need a complete break from heat styling. Retain more length by shelving hot tools like curling and flat irons while you mend the damage. Use heatless styling techniques during the warmer months to reduce heat damage.
For weak, damaged hair with breakage, protein treatments can nurse struggling strands back to health. Proteins and amino acids penetrate the outer layer of the hair to reinforce the inner cortex to strengthen strands.
Glosses with bond builders help increase luster and shine. Use treatments in moderation according to the instructions, as too much protein or bond builders too often can create stiff hair, while just enough creates bouncy hair.
See Also: More From This Writer
Irregular trims may keep you from your best hair. The frequency of salon visits for cuts depends on hair health, color treatments, chemical treatments, direct heat usage and more. Discuss the best practices for your mane with a licensed hairstylist that you trust.Excessive hair loss, intense itching or extreme scalp flaking may indicate a health condition; seek advice from a medical professional.
Photography by: Neil Rasmus/BFA.com