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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!

Courtesy Daniel Koye

#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.”

Courtesy RPZL

Consider clip-ins

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.

Courtesy Chris Gaede

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.


Courtesy Beth Minardi

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.”

Courtesy Shannon King

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.”

Courtesy Jessica Sclamberg

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.

 

Courtesy Spa Pechanga

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.

Courtesy Jennifer O'Dell Photography for Marco Pelusi Hair Studio

Go a bit caramel

Bored with your basic brunette color? Ask your colorist for a golden-beige, caramel hue instead. This gives a sun-kissed look that steers clear of red and orange, says celebrity hair colorist Marco Pelusi of Marco Pelusi Hair Studio in West Hollywood

Courtesy Tym Wallace Instagram

Try cornrows

“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.”

Courtesy Matthew Guilin

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.”

Courtesy Matthew Guilin

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.

 

Courtesy Matthew Guilin

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.

Courtesy Jackie-Barajas for COLOR Salon of Caesars Palace

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.

Courtesy Holly Pistas for Gordon Salon

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.”

Courtesy Mark Garrison Salon

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.

Courtesy Fernando Adame for Kelly Cardenas Salon

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.

Aly Walansky
Aly Walansky is a lifestyles writer with over a decade of experience covering beauty, health, and travel for various esteemed publications. Her blog, A Little Alytude (www.alytude.com) was launched in 2006 and continues to be a strong voice in the lifestyles arena. Based in the ever-trendy Park Slope area of Brooklyn, she divides her time between her shih tsu Lily, her soap opera addiction, and scouting out fun new martini bars.