Summer Hair Guide for Grownups

We won’t revisit how to French-braid and apply sun-in (so ’80s). What we will deal with: all the hair annoyances that plague you come Memorial Day. New frizz fighters? Check. Protection for an increasingly exposed scalp? Oh yeah. Plus help for sun-yellowed grays. We also weigh in on an age-old argument: to go summer short or not? So pour yourself a ’tini and get ready for a great-hair summer

by Christine Fellingham
geof kern hair image
Photograph: Geof Kern

You could stay inside all summer (yeah, right), or you could become more proactive about color protection and try these tips.
Use UV-proof everything
“Hair care with UV filters won’t qualify for an SPF rating, but it will help shield color,” says dermatologist Jeanine Downie. Use multiple products with UV blockers for a cumulative effect. Try the Aveda Color Conserve collection ($16 and up;
Turn sun exposure into a spa treatment
“If you’re out in the heat for a few hours, comb in a conditioning mask,” says Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist (that’s a hair scientist). The result: Instead of causing damage, the heat helps the moisturizers better penetrate your strands. Try Biolage Colorcarethérapie Color Bloom Masque ($19;
Erase yellow/orange tone
“Hair color gets golder in the sun, period,” says colorist Rita Hazan. To cancel brassiness instantly, your best bet is a violet shampoo. One to try: Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo ($30; aveda .com). Don’t have a bottle on hand? Cunnane Phillips suggests mixing two tablespoons of baking soda into a dollop of regular shampoo to counteract the yellow.
Rinse, rinse, repeat
“You can’t leave salt, chlorine or even perspiration in your hair for an extended time. They strip hair of moisture and ruin color,” says colorist Kathleen Flynn-Hui. “To prevent this, wet your hair with fresh water before you go swimming.” And if you’re running or playing tennis or golf? Mist your hair with water once an hour or so.
Go glossy
“Whether you color or not, protect your hue with a gloss every few weeks,” says Flynn-Hui. “It seals the cuticle, deflects the sun’s rays, adds shine and looks especially amazing on gray hair.” At home, try Rita Hazan Foaming Hair Gloss in Clear, below($26;
Counteract the chemicals
“We automatically do a powerful conditioning treatment with my color clients in the summer,” says Flynn-Hui. “Ask for something similar when you go in for your color appointment. Or, once a week at home, slather on a deep conditioner yourself.” Try Pantene Pro-V Medium-Thick Hair Solutions Intensive Restoration Treatment ($6; drugstores).NEW TACTICS FOR FIGHTING FRIZZ
Whoever finds a cure for frizz will become a gazillionaire. In the meantime, these strategies will help considerably.
Go long . . . or layered
If your hair has natural texture and you wear it midlength and blunt, it’s more apt to puff out in humidity, says Flynn-Hui. Why? You don’t have the weight (read: length) to pull down the fuzz—or enough layering to reduce your hair’s density and minimize the puff. But you do have options. Go a bit longer to add that necessary weight. Or stay at midlength but ask your stylist to add tapered layers-, which will help shrink the pouf on humid days.
Work with your natural texture
“The worst thing you can do when it’s humid is fight your curls,” says Flynn-Hui. “You just won’t win. Instead, use a salt/beach spray, mousse or light gel to play up your natural wave pattern. Straighten your hair only for evenings when you’ll be inside with air conditioning.” Try Josie Maran Bohemian Waves Argan Hair Mist, above right ($22; sephora .com),or Dove Style + Care Nourishing Curls Whipped Cream Mousse ($4; drugstores). If you go au naturel and frizz still plagues you, try using a curling iron on just the top layer of your hair, which is all anyone sees anyway. Wrap one-inch sections around the iron’s barrel (don’t bother with the clamp—keep it closed); hold for 10 seconds, then release. The heat seals the cuticles in the curls you’ve created, lessening the risk of a frizz-out.
Exploit gravity
“Pinch heavier products onto the ends—smoothing gels, sculpting lotions, pomades,” says Edward Tricomi, co-owner of the Warren Tricomi Salon in New York City. “It helps weigh the hair down.” Try Nexxus Frizz Defy Styling Crème ($12; drugstores).
Boost your conditioning routine
Hair that’s very dry is more apt to frizz. Why? It eagerly absorbs moisture in the air, causing the dreaded swell. However, if your locks are adequately conditioned, they’ll be unable to absorb a lot of water. So when it’s particularly humid out, ramp up your routine by using one conditioner while you shower and a second, light leave-in conditioner when you’re drying off. For a leave-in, try Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light Weightless Conditioning Shake ($6; drugstores).GOT LIMPLOCKS?
Summer heat and humidity aren’t kind to fine hair. Here, the best ways to keep your ’do from falling flat five minutes after you’ve styled it.
Start styling in the shower
Your best bet, says stylist Kevin Lee: Use volumizing shampoos and conditioners. These bulk up your strands and remove buildup, which can weigh down hair; they also infuse your locks with a thickening ingredient that adds fullness before you even begin styling. Try Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Volumizing Root Boost Shampoo and Nourishing Daily Conditioner ($6 each; drugstores).
Build volume at the roots
“While your hair is damp, create a foundation for fullness by applying a root-lifting product at the scalp,” says Flynn-Hui. “Then dry your roots in the direction opposite from the way you normally wear it.” In other words, if you usually part your hair on the right side of your head, make a part on the left side instead, then rough-dry the roots by tousling the hair with your hand. Once the roots are dry, flip your hair back the way you normally wear it and finish the blowout. Try Samy Fat Hair “0” Calories Root Lifter spray ($8; drugstores).Fluff on the fly
When you need a quick hit of volume, spritz your strands with hairspray—or, if your fine hair is prone to frizz, a weather-proofing spray like Nexxus Frizz Defy Leave-In Oil Shine Treatment, below($15; drugstores).Hold the bottle six inches away and lift the hair as you spray so you hit the roots’ underside to give hair oomph from the inside out, says Lee.
Stock up on dry shampoo
If you haven’t discovered this miracle product yet, it’s time. Dry shampoos were created to help absorb extra oil at the scalp, and most are essentially liquefied powder. But they have the added benefit of fattening up hair (albeit only until the next time you wash it). How the fattening-up works: As the powder dries on your hair, it slightly thickens each strand. Apply dry shampoo primarily at the root, and you have instant lift that will last the whole day. Our all-time favorite is Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk ($18; YOUR SCALP AND STRANDS
“Skin cancer on the scalp is fairly common,” says -Downie. “And it’s more of a risk as you age and your hair starts to thin. Women are often totally unaware of how much UV exposure they’re actually getting.” So how do you stay protected, given that styling products don’t offer SPF? Employ these tricks.
Paint your part
“If your part is wide enough that you’re able to see scalp, you need to protect that skin every day in the summer, not just when you’re at the beach or pool,” says Downie. Her strategy: Dip a cotton swab into the sunscreen you use for your face, then apply directly to the part. Another idea: “I tell women all the time, Move your part around,” says Cunnane Phillips. “Switch it so the same patch of scalp isn’t always uncovered. Pull it all back, then move your part an inch to the right or left or switch sides altogether,” she says.
Get slick
The wet look that was all over spring runways (Chanel, YSL) has a real-life application: “Wetness creates a physical barrier between your hair and the sun,” says Cunnane Phillips. “For added protection, mix some sunscreen into your favorite gel and comb it through.” Then pull your wet hair into a knot, braid or ponytail—or just leave it combed back and tucked behind your ears for a look that’s sophisticated and sun smart. Just be sure to secure your hair with a holder that’s metal free to minimize the potential for tearing. We like: Goody Ouchless Elastics ($3/pack; drugstores). Some sunscreens that won’t leave your strands gooey: Philosophy Here Comes the Sun Age-Defense Water-Resistant Sunscreen SPF 40 for Face, below ($30;; Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunblock SPF 70 ($12; drugstores); L’Oréal Sublime Sun Hydra Lotion Spray SPF 30+ ($10; drugstores).
Um, wear a hat
“Wearing something on your head is the best protection, period,” says Downie. “You can opt for a full-on UV-blocking fabric or just find one that’s tightly woven. That’s what you need to block the sun.” Her pick: a wide-brimmed style from Coolibar ($29 and up; If it’s really hot out, however, you may not want to go with a very tightly woven fabric (or a hat with a tight fit). Both can heat up your scalp and irritate it, says Flynn-Hui. A cowboy hat may be a good compromise. Or, if that’s not your thing, a Jackie O–inspired colorful scarf works well, too.AIR-DRY—ANDSTILL LOOK POLISHED
We know you want to look pulled together—and a blow-dryer is often the means to that end. But air-drying (a cooler option) works just as well if done properly.Create glam waves
Channel Veronica Lake with this strategy from Flynn-Hui: Wash, condition and scrunch in a styler (gel, mousse, salt/beach spray). Then, while the hair is damp, take three ringlets and wrap them around your finger to create a larger curl. The result: a wider wave pattern. Repeat around your whole head.
Go beachy
This technique works to de-frizz natural curls or to add waves to straight hair. “Comb in your preferred styling product,” says Lee. “Then divide your hair into one-inch sections and twist each. Loosely loop up the twist and use a pin to secure. Do this all over for soft waves—or in random, slightly larger sections for a more beachy look. When your hair is dry, finger-tousle rather than brush so you don’t flatten the waves.” Tip: For a curlier look, coil the twisted sections around and around until you reach the scalp. Pin into doughnuts, air-dry and shake out.Tame things on top
Create a sculpted look with just a hairpin. “Part your hair to one side, slick it down with gel and keep it in place by sliding in a flat bobby pin,” says Flynn-Hui. (Ideally, use one with no ridges, which can leave dents in your hair.) Once everything is dry, take out the pin; your hair will lie flat and smooth across the top of your head.
Update your ’do
“There were many buns on spring runways, and they’re all wearable,” says Flynn-Hui. “Just pull damp hair into a low bun, coiling it up and securing with bobby pins.” For a fresh effect, move the knot to one side or the other—or pull it on top of your head.
Get a little kinky
“Slick gel into your hair and comb into a low braid—below the nape of your neck,” says Lee. “When it’s dry, just take it out and fluff with your fingertips. You get smoothness in the crown and soft, wavy texture from midpoint down.”
Build body but keep strands sleek
Apply mousse, roots to ends, then pull your hair into a ponytail on top of your head (think Madonna on her Blonde Ambition tour). Note: Use an elastic wrapped in fabric to secure; regular elastic might leave a visible ridge. Then, once the hair is dry, release the pony, and you’ll have straight hair with volume at the roots.
Ideally, you’d retire the blow-dryer this summer. The reality? You’ll need to drag it out occasionally (e.g., you must look polished in 20 minutes, and a damp bun won’t cut it). What helps is a dryer that gets you from damp to dry in next to no time. We’ve hunted down two.
Luxe and light
The Solano 3300 Xtra-Lite Dryer, below ($159;,boasts a powerful 1,800 watts for a speedy blowout. It also has tourmaline technology, which minimizes damage. The bonus? This is Solano’s lightest model yet (about the weight of a water bottle), so you won’t get overheated hoisting it over your head.
Inexpensive and fast
In its new Heat Flash Dry Blow Dryer ($40;, Goody has increased the rate at which hot air comes shooting at your hair. The promise? The Heat Flash will dry hair 35 percent faster than a traditional blower.
When it gets above 80 degrees, most of us want our hair off our necks. An elastic will suffice, but steer clear of thescrunchie—unless you like looking as if you stepped out of 1995. Here, accesso-ries for occasions when you care to make a little more effort.Next: Get Your Best Hair at 30, 40, 50, 60Want MORE? Sign up for our weekly newsletter. Try MORE on your iPad, for FREE. Get it here.

First Published Wed, 2012-05-09 10:41

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