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Soaking up the sun is good for the soul, but not so much for your hair. When summer rolls around, it’s important to protect your hair from environmental stressors like you would the rest of your body.
After spending hours in the summer sun, hair may be exposed to UV rays, heat, sweat, humidity, chlorine, or salt water. This stress can strip the life right out of your strands, so hair loses its moisture, volume, and shine.
To combat dry, frizzy, and damaged hair from the intense summer elements, ramp up your hair care game. The right combination of shampoos, conditioners, oils, masks, treatments, and texture sprays can revitalize your hair all season long.
Keep reading to find out what products can help reinvigorate your hair from summer damage.
Your hair puts up with a lot. Between tight hairstyles like buns and ponytails to frequent heat tools like dryers and curling irons, your hair is already at battle with external stressors. Add summer heat, and that’s a recipe for a hair refresh.
In the summer, your hair is exposed to harsh UV rays like the rest of your body. While you may remember to apply sunscreen to your skin, your scalp and hair may go forgotten.
Prolonged sun exposure can wreak havoc on your hair. You may experience dryness, brittleness, discoloration, frizz, split ends, or thinning as a result.
Hair is also up against other elements in the summer, including humidity, heat, chlorine, salt water, and sweat. Together, these elements can dry out your hair. Eventually, damaged hair can become brittle and break easily.
To combat hair damage during summer, incorporate moisture-rich products and healthy hair habits, such as:
- embracing your natural texture and keep heat styling to a minimum
- using shampoo less often
- rinsing with conditioner to add moisture
- apply a hair mask or treatment a few times per week to hydrate and repair
- using a hair oil daily to protect and strengthen
To gather the best products to help hair recover from summer damage, we spoke with professional hairstylists and gathered their expert recommendations.
We also considered price, user reviews, accessibility, and ratings when making our selections.
Since every hair type is different, we included a variety of hair products from shampoos to masks.
- $ = under $20
- $$ = $21–$30
- $$$ = over $30
- Price: $$$
With warm summer days come high humidity levels, which can only mean one thing for your hair — untamable frizz. Like beach days and barbecues, you may think that frizz is an unavoidable aspect of summer. However, with the right hair care, it may not be as unruly as you think.
Eufora Frizz Control Conditioner is the enemy of frizz. It tackles frizz from the root cause: lack of moisture. This formula is extra moisturizing, so it smooths by sealing a frizzed cuticle. It also repairs split ends. If you experience hot and humid summers, this conditioner might be great for you.
- Price: $$
Styling sprays are a healthy hair alternative to heating tools. Instead of using a curling iron every day, opt for a styling spray to amplify your natural hair texture without heat.
“It is amazing for those with thicker hair or those who are looking to highlight their natural wave pattern,” says Annagjid “Kee” Taylor, celebrity hairstylist and natural hair care salon owner. “A few spritzes of this spray can go a long way, and with its super lightweight formula, [it] won’t weigh your hair down but keeps it fresh all day long.”
This texture spray is made with sea salt and pure cane sugar to help enhance your hair’s natural texture, with no drying alcohols. The founder of Playa also recommends applying the spray directly at the roots and to the most exposed areas of your scalp to protect against sunburn and oxidation.
- Price: $$
When hair is exposed to sunlight, it’s prone to fading and damage. A spritz of this UV spray minimizes the harsh effects of the sun’s rays on hair thanks to zinc, galanga root extract, and white tea extract, which act as a natural defense against the sun.
“This product is especially great for the summer because it safeguards hair from environmental damage and acts as a sunscreen for hair color and the scalp,” says Chelsea Adair, the owner and CEO of Salon Adair in Carlsbad, California.
Spray on dry or damp hair before styling or throughout the day to guard against heat, sunlight, pollution, and other environmental stressors.
- Price: $
Deep conditioning is beneficial all year long, but it’s especially vital in the summer when hair is most prone to dehydration. This treatment masque restores dull hair, protects against heat, and preserves color. It’s specifically designed to boost scalp health, soften strands, and revitalize the appearance of damaged hair.
Celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons is a fan of this hair masque. “It is amazing for shielding strands from UV and free-radical damage,” he says. “Simultaneously, it also works to bring back that luster and diminish frizz.”
Apply liberally to the ends of dry or damp hair and work your way up to the roots. Let it soak in for 3 to 5 minutes before rinsing.
- Price: $
While too much shampoo can strip the hair of its natural oils and cause further dryness, a good shampoo does exactly what it’s supposed to do without exacerbating the problem.
According to Fitzsimons, “This shampoo leaves your hair looking more revitalized and feeling softer and healthier. It uses botanical technology and powerful plant extracts such as argan and prickly pear oils formulated to protect hair from environmental damage, which come in handy now that we are starting to spend more time outside during summer.”
Bamboo stem cells strengthen hair and support a healthy scalp while keratin protects the outer surface of hair, making this shampoo perfect for damaged, color-treated hair in the summer.
- Price: $$
A leave-in conditioner is a must during summer because it’s an easy and effective way to add moisture into your hair care routine. Among the sea of options, this one stands out because the customized formula is non-greasy and cruelty-free.
Fitzsimons describes this leave-in conditioner as a holy grail for summer. He recommends it because it “makes hair manageable, instantly detangles, adds moisture, eliminates frizz, protects color, and repairs and strengthens with just a couple of sprays. It was also designed to work on all hair types and conditions, making it the perfect addition to rehydrate your hair after the brutal heat.”
People with all hair types and textures can use this leave-in conditioner. Fine and wavy hair types only need a light spray, while curly and coily hair types need a fuller spray.
- Price: $$
Olaplex is a hair care brand that is quickly gaining popularity due to its patented system that targets and repairs extreme hair damage. Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector is an at-home hair treatment that aims to visibly improve the look of hair.
New York City hairstylist Giselle Luza recommends this hair treatment once per week, as it “is best for nurturing dry or overprocessed hair back to health.”
To use, dampen your hair and apply from roots to ends. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Follow up with your shampoo and conditioner.
- Price: $$$
Consistently using hair oil is an effective yet underrated way to encourage strong and healthy hair. Luza recommends this one by Kerastase for daily use to protect hair from heat damage and nourish from roots to ends.
The key players in this hair oil are marula oil, camellia oil, and argan oil. Together they form an elixir that is rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, emollients, and amino acids — all of which deeply nourish and strengthen hair.
If your hair loses its shine and moisture during the peak of summer, that may be a sign that it’s time to introduce a hair oil into your routine. This is a quick way to instantly soften and moisturize dull and dry hair.
- Price: $
There are different types of shampoo, and a clarifying shampoo is necessary for removing buildup. Buildup refers to the accumulation of hair products that can leave a residue or coating behind over time.
Luza recommends this shampoo since summer hair is prone to chlorine buildup and color-treated blonde hair may become dull from too much purple shampoo.
This is a great product to use before starting a new hair care routine because it’s like pressing reset on your hair. Use before a deep conditioning treatment for best results.
- Price: $$
Using a hair masque one to two times per week can help transform dry, damaged hair into the soft and shiny hair of your dreams. Like a good conditioner, a moisturizing masque works by correcting the core problem of dull and dry hair, which is a loss of moisture.
The Eufora Moisture Masque is very rich, with a tri-sugar complex that delivers moisture deep into the hair shaft. This strengthens hair while protecting it from future moisture loss.
To use, work the product through clean hair. Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse. Use up to twice a week to encourage hair repair.
Good summer days and good hair days don’t usually go hand-in-hand. Prolonged exposure to heat, sunlight, and other environmental stressors can take a toll on healthy hair, causing it to become dry, damaged, brittle, and thin.
Guard your hair with UV protection, added moisture, antioxidants, hydrating oils, and more to encourage soft and shiny hair all summer long.
Lacey Bourassa is a health, wellness, and beauty writer based in Southern California. She holds a BA in English. Her work has appeared in digital publications like Livestrong, Verywell, Business Insider, Eat This Not That, and others. When she’s not writing, Lacey is likely pursuing her other interests: skin care, plant-based cooking, Pilates, and traveling. You can keep up with her by visiting her website or her blog.