Let’s face it: Spending a ton of time styling your hair with hot tools when it’s hot and humid is no fun. That’s why it’s time to take back the short-lived Canadian summer and embrace your natural hair texture, whether it’s coarse and curly, fine and limp or something in-between.
Feeling ready to go au naturel? Read on for expert tips from Maui Moisture’s Canadian hair educator and expert Janet Jackson and celebrity hairstylist for Herbal Essences Bridget Brager to make summer styling a breeze.
Nail down your signature cut
The secret to making the transition to your natural hair texture easier is getting a haircut that works with your natural hair, not against it. Jackson says that layers are always a good option for curly hair as they are a great way to get volume and control the shape, but adds that it’s essential to choose the right types of layers for your specific curls, face shape and lifestyle. “Be sure to do a proper consultation with a curly hair expert before you cut,” she says.
According to Brager, summer is also the perfect time to think about cutting your hair a little shorter than usual, as cropped cuts look great with a beachy texture.
Hydrate like it’s going out of style
When your hair lacks moisture, it pulls it from the air, which causes strands to get puffy and frizzy.
Hydration is especially important for coarse and/or curly hair as that hair texture tends to naturally be drier. Jackson recommends using every opportunity you have to inject some moisture into your mane, starting in the shower. “Start off by using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner; you should look for a system that conditions curls and reduces frizz,” she says.
Both Brager and Jackson sing the praises of using a sulfate-free shampoo for keeping a lid on frizz. “Sulfates strip natural oils from the hair and can make it dry, while sulfate-free shampoos maintain the hair’s natural oil levels, leaving the hair with more moisture,” says Brager.
Jackson recommends minimizing your wash, rinse, repeat cycle to once a week or once every two weeks, if possible. “If you need to wash more often for whatever reason, try co-washing—just washing with your conditioner,” she says. Curly hair types should also incorporate a deep conditioning mask into their routine once a week. “[They are] a great way to hydrate the hair and give you more control when styling your curls or natural hair. Some may think that these treatments should be done in the winter, but they really should be used in the summer, too.”
Getting regular trims and turning down the heat on your hair tools are a few other easy ways you can help minimize dryness.
Pick up some hair oils
Adding moisture-boosting creams and oils to your styling routine will help to manage kinks. “Use creams and oils that are as natural as possible,” says Brager. She also recommends staying away from waxes and pastes, as they tend to weigh down hair and are hard to wash out. But most importantly, Brager suggests steering clear of any products that contain alcohol, as they will instantly zap precious moisture.
Jackson says she swears by shea butter, coconut oil and aloe vera as they are natural alternatives that pack a hydrating punch.
Invest in a silk wrap or pillowcase
Speaking of taking every opportunity to hydrate your hair, Jackson recommends upping your beauty sleep game and investing in some nighttime accessories. “Get yourself a silk or satin bonnet (with no elastic band) or a silk pillow case,” says Jackson. At bedtime, she advises applying your favourite natural oil from your scalp to your ends before popping on your head wrap. This will help to hydrate your scalp and hair so you wake up with smooth strands.
Pump up the volume on fine hair
While curly hair tends to get frizzier in the summer heat, fine hair often gets limp and lifeless. To add a little oomph to lacklustre locks, Brager recommends adding a thickening spray or mousse from mid-shaft to ends. “Scrunch it in and let your hair air-dry, then break up your hair [with your fingers]. This little trick gives cool texture and extra body.” She also says that rinsing with cold water at the end of your shower will help to close the cuticle of your hair, which in turn boosts shine and helps make fine strands more manageable.
A UV protectant is a must
UVA/UVB rays not only do a number on your skin, but they can also wreak serious havoc on your hair. “When hair is exposed to high temperatures and UV rays, it can get zapped of important oils and moisture that are needed to keep strands healthy and vibrant,” says Brager. Sun damaged hair is significantly harder to manage and style, so using a UV protectant product or covering up with a cute sun hat before heading outdoors is a must.
Jackson adds that it’s also important to protect hair against drying chlorine when hitting the pool. She suggests coating your hair with your favourite conditioner and then popping on cute silk wrap to prevent chlorine from seeping in.
Finish on the right note
Finishing products can make all the difference in managing air-dried locks. If you’ve got fine hair, Brager recommends trying a thickening spray to give your hair extra body and texture as it dries. For medium to thick hair, use a leave-in conditioner to add a little weight to your strands and help cut down on flyaways. Apply it from the mid length of your hair to the ends.
For coarse curly hair, Brager advises using a thicker leave-in conditioner with a wide tooth comb to get your curl pattern in order, and then combing or patting in a gel or mousse. “The trick with curly hair is to allow your curls to stay intact while they dry. You don’t want to fuss with curly hair too much while it’s wet or it gets frizzy and the curl pattern can get messed up.”
If you still want to add a few styling tweaks with a hot tool, like a hair dryer, Brager suggests letting your hair air-dry 70–80 percent of the way before going in with heated tools. This allows for less disrupting of the hair strand, and will keep your hair smooth.
Below, a few products to help your ditch your blow dryer.
Whole Blends Coconut Oil & Cocoa Butter Smoothing Leave-In Conditioner, $8, londondrugs.com.
Moroccanoil Original Treatment, $36 for 50 ml, sephora.com.
Beauty Sleep Silk Pillowcase, $70, indigo.com.
Solar Sublime Invisible Conditioning Spray, $31, available in salons.