16 Stylist-Approved Tips for Beautiful, Easy Summer Hair
Summer can be drying and damaging, both to hair texture and color. There's a lot to consider when prepping for summer looks—cuteness included!
#1 rule: Condition
We know: It’s summer and everyone is outside and in the sun having fun, but this can cause damage to your hair. “Apply a generous amount of conditioner (regular or deep) to your hair as religiously as you put sunblock on your skin,” says Daniel Koye, a hairstylist whose clients include Vanessa Williams, Carly Rae Jepson, and Jessica Chastain. “Once your done in the sun, your hair will not only be protected but you’ll have soft, sexy locks.”
If you are not ready for the commitment that hair extensions bring, summer is a great time to experiment with clip-ins. With clip-ins, you can have long beachy waves, cute high ponytails, or an array of braids, says Lisa Richards, co-founder of RPZL, a hair extension and blowout bar in New York City.
Soothe with organic tea tree oil
“During the summer I have clients coming in with sunburned scalps, which often can be mistaken for dandruff,” says Diana Gallegos, a hair stylist from Cut, Twist, Extend, in San Francisco. “For bad cases, I recommend using an organic tea tree oil to help soothe the burn.” At bedtime, add a tiny amount to your fingertips and massage into the scalp gently, then rinse off in your morning shower.
For those who fear the “fade” of summer
While it might seem logical to lighten your hair for summer, you should, in fact, do the exact opposite for gorgeous color that lasts all summer long, says Beth Minardi at Samuel Shriqui Salon in New York City. “Ask your colorist to thread slightly deeper strands of color throughout your hair. Then, as summer sun and light make strands lighter, these deeper shots of color will provide that slight contrasting dimension that keeps hair from appearing faded.”
Woke up like this…
“This summer is all about natural ‘I-woke-up-this-way’ texture, so show off what you were blessed with,” says Shannon King, co-owner of HAIR & CO BKLYN. He recommends Keune Blend Paste and Keune Blend Salt Mousse for “mashing up and bringing out your hair’s alter-ego.”
Before you swim…
You know that sign at the pool that says you’re required to shower before taking a dip? Do it. (Same goes for the ocean.) “Before hopping in the water, wet your hair thoroughly with water to dilute the chlorine or salt water,” says Jessica Sclamberg co-founder of SF Color Collective, in San Francisco. “Salt and chlorine cause the outer layer of your hair to become brittle, dry, dull, or even lift the color out.” For daily protection, she recommends spraying L’Oreal Professional Leave-In Color 10 in 1 on damp hair.
After the pool…
If you’re trying to strip chlorine from hair, sprinkle on baking soda to your locks and massage into hair before you wash with shampoo as normal. Air-dry or blow-dry on low heat to protect strands, says Gina Layland, Spa Pechanga Manager in Temecula, California.
“The best summer hairstyle is cornrows,” says Tym Wallace, hairstylist who works with Taraji P. Henson, Zendaya Coleman, Kelly Rowland, and others. “It’s an easy, fun, low-maintenance style that’s great for basking in the sun or taking a dip in the ocean, and can go with any texture or length and any look.”
Get the most natural-looking highlights
“Unlike balayage highlights where the ends of the hair are painted, this technique involves hand-painting the hair from root to tip,” says Matthew Guilin, a hair stylist in West Hollywood, California. “It’s great for blondes and brunettes looking to lighten up for summer because the roots grow out in a natural way, as opposed to foiled highlights that have an obvious root line after a few weeks.”
Beachy waves for every texture
Women with all hair textures can get beachy texture, even Asian or Latina women, who may have thick, straight hair. The trick is to ask your stylist for a soft undercut, says Guillin. “This creates movement in the hair and makes it look less bulky, without thinning scissors or razors,” he says.
Beachy waves that last
Tired of your beachy waves falling flat? Try placing your curling iron closer to the top of the strand while leaving the ends out and curl sections of hair in alternate directions. “This causes waves to sit on top of each other, creating a cushion and extra fullness,” says Guilin.
Take a walk on the wild side
“Shades of blush are everywhere right now and will be making a splash this summer from pastel to peach,” Michael Boychuck of Color Salon of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, says. “This beautiful warm strawberry ‘bronde’ hair color is achieved using classic, fine highlights, and non-ammonia ingredients to keep hair healthy.” Match this shade with your lip color for an ultimate summer style, he says.
Try an asymmetrical bob
“I love the asymmetrical bob for summer! You still get all the fun of slightly longer hair without all the added bulk hanging on your neck on a hot sticky day,” says Holly Pistas, of Gordon Salon in the Chicago area. “It’s a great day-to-night cut especially during the busy summer months, the bob can be worn more polished for a professional setting or slightly messy for a fun night out.”
Embrace your curls
“This is a style one can make with naturally curly hair where the hair is being conditioned and a style is created at the same time,” says celebrity hair stylist Mark Garrison at Mark Garrison Salon in New York City. Start with washed and towel dried hair then work your favorite leave-in conditioner through. Twist your curls into place and hold the curls in butterfly clips. Let your hair air dry or use a diffuser to speed up the process. When hair is dry, undo your curls, finger comb them, then flip your head upside down and shake out your curls. You’re all set with conditioned, gorgeous curls.
Frame your face with color
Summer hair calls for a touch of brighter color around the face, a haircut that has enough structure to support a quick style, and condition that will make your friends jealous. “A few lighter pieces near your hairline will accentuate your smile and eyes during the summertime,” says Kelly Cardenas, stylist. To keep it looking natural, opt for highlights one to two shades lighter.