Summer brings with it humidity, heat and intense sun rays. Add chlorine, salt water and wind exposure to the mix, and most women find that summer presents significant problems when it comes to keeping their hair manageable during this fun time of year. This unfortunate aspect of summer effects all women, especially African-American women as African-American hair tends to be more fragile and coarser than other ethnicities. Therefore, during the summer, their unique hair type is apt to frizz and become overly dry leading to breakages. Read below for some tips on keeping African-American hair healthy in the summer:
Turn frizz into attractive curl:
Many women of color find the heat and humidity of summer makes it impossible for them to achieve a bone-straight sleek style like they enjoy in other seasons. If this issue sounds familiar, there is a way around the problem. Instead of trying to achieve a straight look, it is best to allow your natural curl to take over during this time of year. You can achieve an attractive curl by shampooing, conditioning then applying a curl-enhancing product to your damp hair. These curl enhancing products could include creams, pomade or alcohol-free gel. After applying the product, allow your hair to dry naturally or use a diffuser dryer on low heat if you are in a hurry. If your hair is not curly due to a relaxer, you can still achieve a curl by using bendable rollers for dry set or magnetic rollers for wet set.
Frizz and dryness often results in hair breakages. To prevent your hair from breaking due to dryness, consider applying a deep conditioner or hot oil treatment once a month. These treatments fully immerse your hair in moisture thus fighting frizz and preventing breakages. If you continue to undergo chemical processing treatments such as dyeing or relaxing, these treatments are even more important, especially during the summer months.
Proper hair care begins with shampoo and conditioning:
Most of the pesky problems with hair that occur in the summer are preventable or at least manageable. The first step to prevent your hair from experiencing the dryness and frizz associated with the summer is to properly shampoo and condition your hair.
Other tips for African-American women:
Keep the use of heat styling products to a minimum. You do not want to use a curling iron or flat-iron more than once a week to prevent damage to your hair. Also, try to style hair so the ends are protected. Examples of these types of styles include buns, flat twists, cornrows, two-strand twists or braids. In addition, if you know you will be in the sun for an extended period of time, wear a hat to protect your hair.
Ideal hair styles for the beach and the pool:
Consider cutting your hair into a short, choppy or pixie style. This is a great style for everyday life but especially ideal for the beach or the pool. This hair style works great for these situations because it can be messed up by the wind and still look good. To achieve this style, have your hair cut to mid-neck or chin length. Be sure to ask your stylist to use a razor and to add layers for the choppy effect. All this style requires is a bit of leave-in conditioner or styling cream to style, and then you are good to go.
Another great style for the beach or the pool is a straw set. Accomplish this by using drinking straws and setting lotion to set washed hair then dry hair under a dryer for around 30 minutes. Your hair will likely hold this style for up to two weeks and will keep its shape even on the beach.
As mentioned above, braids are an ideal style for the summer as braided hair is protected from the elements and will prevent damage from the wind and sun. You can utilize different types of braids including large braids, cornrows or micro braids. It is difficult to braid your hair yourself; therefore, having your hair braided professionally is ideal.
The above tips will help African-American women as they attempt to keep their hair healthy and manageable during the challenging summer months.
So, until we meet again on our Prestige Highway… “Mo Hair!”