Being a natural haired woman these days can be hard during any season really, but if we want to straighten our hair during the hot summer months, it can be a bit of a hassle. As women of color, we have many different textures of hair so it’s kind of hard to break down to a tee what exactly will work for each individual when it comes to keeping our hair cute in the humid weather. However, I found a really interview with New York stylist Patrick Wellington. He gives his top 12 tips for summer hair and dealing with the humidity.
1. Sunscreens for the hair can protect and nourish.
Hats are the old school way to protect hair from the harsh summer sun. But what’s the latest trend in hot weather hair care? “Hats are always good to protect from the sun. But there are some great products that have chemicals like SPF to protect your hair from the sun’s rays,” Wellington told theGrio. “I like Paul Mitchell’s Super Skinny serum and Mizani’s Thermasmooth Smooth Guard Smoothing serum. For women with natural hair, I like Jane Carter’s Nourishing Shine as well. But don’t use daily; I would say use it every three days for sun protection.”
2. Transitioning to natural hair doesn’t have to be a shocker.
“Depending upon the length of the hair, a lot of women do not want to cut all the hair off at once,” Wellington said about using the summer months to transition to natural hair. “So I make a few suggestions. You can blow dry it. You can press the roots. Also, workout out the heaviest when you’re going to come and get your hair done, because you don’t want to work out on Monday morning, knowing that you have to go to work and then the rest of the week you’re struggling with the different textures.” This can certainly help those of us considering doing the “Big Chop” over the summer.
3. Pressing is about trial and error.
“Depending on the texture, it’s a trial and error process,” Wellington explained about opting for this summer style. “Try blowing it out, press it and then wet it to see how it is. Sometimes the press and curl does the same thing [as chemicals] in certain sections. You have to test it to see how your hair responds.” If it works for you, pressing can be an optimal summer coiffure for more formal events.
4. There are great products to keep beards moisturized and full.
“I like this product by Jane Carter called Nourishing Shine that I mentioned before for all sorts of uses. It really, really adds moisture to hair and can be used for beards,” the seasoned stylist told theGrio. “It’s all from nuts, not from petroleum or anything like that. It’s really good for the skin as well. It’s a like a lotion. [Men can] massage it into the beard, because it’s also good for the skin as well.”
5. Understanding oils versus serums.
“I like the serums, because they’re not too oily and you can use them more frequently. Oil is best when you’re hair is totally natural,” he added. “But if you use too much oil when the hair is chemically treated, it will weigh down the hair and get dirty faster. So serums are best for perms.” Serums provide a thin protective layer for hair and are synthetic, while oils are usually naturally derived and much heavier. Experiment to learn which is best for your hair, trying the oils and serums recommended by Wellington.
6. Store bought hair color may not do the job.
“The color that is seen on a picture on a box is not really the color you’re going to get on your hair,” Wellington warned. “As a hairdresser, we know by looking at certain charts what type of pigment clients have and how to get the precise results. Unless you’re doing black you will not get the exact color you want doing it at home.” So if you are going for some summer shine by adding color to your hair, you may want to seriously consider having it professionally done. Also, protect your color from fading in the summer sun by covering it or dying it a richer color in anticipation that it will fade from added exposure.
7. Do wash your hair at least once a week in the summer.
“Summertime always requires a little bit more maintenance. You don’t always have the hats to cover it up, you always want to look good. It takes a little bit more work; more washing. You’re perspiring; you’re probably working out, so definitely wash your hair once a week.”
8. Co-washing FTW!
“For those with natural hair you can co-wash and wet your hair everyday in the summertime, if you want to.” Co-washing is the practice of washing your hair with conditioner. Pretty interesting. Have you ever tried it? It helps natural hair retain moisture.
9. Look for products with oils derived from nuts.
“Almond, peanuts and coconut are good ones to look for in products,” Wellington recommended. “Moroccan oil is fabulous, but you cannot use too much or it will overweigh your hair.”
10. Don’t over-style.
“African-American hair is very delicate and that’s a challenge. You can’t do too much at once,” the black hair care expert continued. “Some clients come in and want color and a relaxer and I have to tell them: Look, we can do all of those things, but there are repercussions. Your hair will break. So, you have to make a choice, either do one or the other. Or do highlights instead of trying to get the whole head covered.” On top of the stress of being in the sun, you don’t want to put your tresses through too much.
11. Leave-in conditioners and swim caps: must-haves for swimming.
“At the beach, women can put a leave-in conditioner throughout their hair before they get in the water,” Wellington offered. “This will keep the salt from stripping the moisture from your hair. But for the pool you shouldn’t have your hair out, because you’re messing with the pH of the water. So you need a swim cap and make sure to wash and condition right after coming out of the pool.” Right away ladies and gents! That means keeping your favorite hair care products poolside.
12. The most important tip: Love what you have and work it.
This one applies year-round. “We have to embrace the individual textures that we all have, because it’s not going to change. You just have to come to love it and be able to work with it,” Wellington concluded. “With our hair, we have curls— [whether] it’s small curls, tight curls, [or] loose curls… so it all varies from person to person. We can’t look at our girlfriend or at another person and say, ‘I want that.’ You have to love what you have.”