A Natural’s Guide To Summer Hair Care (Swimmer’s Hair Tips)
By Dr. Phoenyx Austin of DrPhoenyx.comWhat’s your favorite thing to do during the summer? For me, it’s trips to the beach for fishing and swimming. I absolutely love the summer- there’s nothing like the smell of the ocean, sand between my toes, and the sun kissing my skin. But summertime, as awesome as it is, can also present a few challenges for hair. We all know how a day at the beach, or a dip in the pool, can wreak havoc on our tresses. And as someone who likes to get in the water up to 4 times a week, I can personally tell you that the risk of hair damage from harsh water and UV sun rays is very real. I love the water- but I also love my hair. And if you love getting in the water as much as I do, but are also curious about what hair precautions you should take, this post is definitely for you. One of the best things about being natural is the supreme level of carefreeness you can have with your hair. But even with that level of carefreeness, you should still take certain steps to protect your beautiful coils and curls during the summer. What are those steps? Let’s take a look…Pre-Beach/Pre-Pool Tips
- Skip washing your hair before you get in the water. Some women think they should wash their hair before taking a dip- but that may not be the best thing to do because buildup of sweat and natural oils actually creates a protective “barrier” against harsh water. This barrier, because of it hydrophobic properties (that basically means that the barrier repels water) will make it more difficult for harsh water to penetrate (and ultimately damage) the hair shaft.
- Instead of washing hair, gently wet and apply leave-in conditioner. You can use a regular leave-in conditioner or a leave-in conditioner with added SPF. Applying conditioner to your hair before you get in the water accentuates the protective barrier effect.
- Use protective hair accessories. Hats, scarves, swimmer’s caps- these are all types of hair accessories that every natural should have during the summer. If you’re not a fan of covering up your hair, you should atleast tie it up with a soft scrunchie (assuming your hair is long enough to be tied). Keeping hair covered or tied means that you will have less tangling, and less frustration when it comes time to wash and style your hair.
- As soon as you exit the water, rinse hair thoroughly with fresh water. Harsh water is called harsh for a reason. This type of water contains minerals and compounds (i.e. sodium chloride and chlorine) that can actually leech moisture and cause dry/brittle hair.
- After you’ve rinsed your hair, take a generous handful of leave-in conditioner and thoroughly coat your hair. Some women like to shampoo their hair after exiting the pool, and then follow-up with a conditioner. I prefer to skip the shampoo step and just co-wash. I believe skipping the shampoo step (even if the shampoo is sulfate free) is a lot gentler for hair.
- When you get home, rinse the conditioner from your hair and follow-up with a deep conditioning treatment. An avocado and coconut milk hair mask is a really great all-natural deep conditioning treatment that will help replace moisture and add lots of sheen to hair that has been stressed from a day of water and sun.