Start with the healthiest hair possible
It's not just your body that you might want to get beach ready—your hair will benefit with some prep, too. At the start of the summer, visit your hair stylist for a trim to get rid of dead ends that could turn into split ends. Talk to him or her 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 the summer, so plan on getting another trim in five weeks, not the usually recommended six.
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 hair stylist and Society Salon. And just like you would before you blow out your hair, you should apply leave-in conditioner to the ends of your hair before heading outdoors, she recommends.
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, California. She recommends Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray and Banana Boat Sport Quik Dri Scalp Spray Sunscreen. A foolproof way to protect your scalp from the sun is with a hat made of UPF material.
Escape chlorine green hair
If you spend most 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.
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 or one of these other gorgeous no-heat hairstyles that won't harm your hair.
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. 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 both on dry hair, too, when you feel like you need extra help.
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, 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.
Put on a mask before you dip
Before you dive into the pool or ocean, slap on a hair mask or deep conditioner, suggests Johnny Lavoy, celebrity hairstylist. He also recommends you apply it after your dip 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, master stylist at Tangerine Aveda lifestyle salon.
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 is a gentle exfoliator that removes product build-up and dead skin from the scalp.
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.