This feature originally appeared in the ESSENCE June 2017 issue.
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Skin isn’t the only thing that needs proper protection from the sun. Our hair can be scorched by harsh rays, resulting in dry, brittle tresses or an itchy, red scalp. “The ends of your hair and your exposed scalp and hairline are most prone to UV damage,” says celeb hairstylist Ted Gibson.
“If you color-treat your hair, wear a hat or apply a product that will repel UV rays to protect and minimize discoloration.” Before heading outdoors, use a sun-protection spray or leave-in conditioning cream to lock in moisture. After sun exposure, opt for a hair mask, which is heavier and has more emollience or softening properties than conditioner to repair and renew damaged strands, says Gibson.
With the appropriate precautions and products, textured strands can survive summer water activities, which means you don’t have to miss out on taking a dip. Whether it’s chlorine from the pool or salt water from the ocean, both substances can dry out your locks. “Before swimming, apply a cream to create a barrier between your hair and the water’s elements,” Gibson suggests.
“If you don’t wear a swim cap, try applying a conditioner or cream to dry hair and style hair in a topknot to reduce the amount of chlorine or salt water your hair will absorb.” Immediately after your swim, clease scalp and hair with a clarifying shampoo to avoid further dryness and remove product buildup.
Muggy conditions are among the top causes of frizz in textured hair, but don’t let it stop you from rocking your best do. “Sweltering days are opportunities to cocktail your favorite products . Mix together a cream and shine product with a gel or mousse to add moisture and control,” says Gibson.
“Generally, humid air causes the hair shaft to expand, so adding hydration like oils can help increase shine and weight to reduce frizz.” If you want to wear a protective style, opt for a ponytail, bun or chignon to keep strands tucked away.