Your Biggest Summer Hair Problems, Solved

Illustrated by Isabel Castillo
Our hair loves the idea of summertime. Beachy waves! Golden highlights! Braids on braids on braids! But unfortunately, summertime doesn’t always love our hair back. The combination of heat, salt, sun, and cannonball contests takes a serious toll on its health. Color starts fading, strands feel dry and brittle, and don’t even get us started on salt-water tangles. We know — what a buzzkill.

But for every summer hair problem, there is an easy solution. That’s why we worked with Nexxus and the brand’s senior scientist, Diane Minar, to deliver facts and tricks for keeping your mane healthy all season long. Ahead, find out the truth about protecting your signature side-part, just how much dry shampoo you really need, and more. Now all you have to worry about is knotting your swimsuit straps and slathering your skin with sunscreen.
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Illustrated by Isabel Castillo
Problem: You floated on your swan raft a little too long
Chlorine is notorious for turning blonde hair green (and stinging our eyes like crazy). But no matter what color your hair is, the chemical can still wreak havoc. When you take a dip in the pool, chlorine can weaken the protein structure of your hair just like the sun, making it more susceptible to breakage.

Solution: Protecting your hair from chlorine’s effects is really just as simple as taking a shower. Minar recommends rinsing your hair immediately after leaving the pool and washing with a gentle cleansing shampoo and conditioner as soon as you can. And if you want to buy yourself a little bit of time, loading up your hair with a leave-in conditioner or hair serum before diving in can temporarily prevent the chlorine from getting into your hair.
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Illustrated by Isabel Castillo
Problem: You dove into the ocean and now your hair is one big knot
We love salt spray. Nothing else compares when it comes to achieving that coveted gritty texture and rumpled waves. But sprays you can buy are usually spiked with conditioners and oils to cut the super-drying effect, meaning salt from the ocean is not the same thing. Pure and undiluted, it adheres to hair, roughs up strands, and causes them to stick together, according to Minar. It can leave you with a dry mess of tangled knots.

Solution: The real damage from sea-soaked hair comes when you try to rip out the slew of knots with your fingers or a brush. “The best thing you can do is go straight to the shower and rinse out the salt,” says Minar. “Don’t try to comb out the knots until you have a chance to use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.” Or, pack a leave-in conditioner spray, like the Nexxus Humectress Moisturizing Leave-In Spray, in your beach bag. Spritz it on liberally, and then gently comb through your hair with a detangling hairbrush.
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Illustrated by Isabel Castillo
Problem: You went to the beach without a hat
So you forgot to pack a wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap, and now you’re at the beach and your scalp is on fire. What's more, the UV rays from the sun (plus the free radicals they cause) can damage your hair’s protein structure. The sun also reacts with your hair’s melanin, affecting its natural pigment. And we hate to say it, but skin cancer is a risk, too. A nice, big hat can protect your scalp and ears, where many skin cancers are found.

Solution: No surprise here...don't forget about the hat. “It's the best thing you can do for your hair,” says Minar. “It’s important to protect your scalp, too, which can burn just like the rest of your body.” But if you’re in a pinch (or just not a hat person), it doesn’t hurt to slather sunscreen throughout your hair and on your part. Just be warned: It will make hair temporarily greasy. Be sure to rinse it out well with a moisturizing shampoo as soon as your beach day is over.
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Illustrated by Isabel Castillo
Problem: You’re putting your hair up A LOT
The struggle is real: It’s hot, and you just want to get your hair off of your neck. But wearing your hair up day after day, in the same ponytail, can cause serious breakage. “It’s not realistic to say 'don’t wear your hair up,' but at the same time, it puts a lot of stress on hair,” says Minar. If you’ve started to notice a little halo of flyaways around your ears, it’s probably breakage caused by your elastic habit.

Solution: Go ahead, rock your ponytail. Just switch up your elastic to one that’s less likely to cause breakage. Minar recommends using a wide, flat elastic instead of a skinny elastic band. And the worst thing you can possibly do is rip a hair tie straight out of your hair. Instead, uncoil it until it becomes loose, then gently slide it out.
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Illustrated by Isabel Castillo
Problem: You're using dry shampoo on the daily
Dry shampoo is great at tackling oil in between washes. But then add the element of more sweat and, well, your dry shampoo is working overtime (anyone that goes to the gym a lot knows this). “Sweat, residue, and excess oil can lead to scalp issues like dryness, tightness, and maybe even dandruff,” says Minar. And this is gross but true: We all already have the fungus that leads to dandruff on our scalp, Minar says. So skipping shampoo too often and not properly cleansing your scalp (meaning, just relying on dry shampoo) can cause it to flourish, leading to flakes.

Solution: You don’t have to give up dry shampoo. Don’t worry, we’re not that cruel. Just be sure to give your hair and scalp a good cleaning at least once or twice a week during the warmer months. Use the pads of your fingers (not your nails!) to remove any product buildup from your roots.
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Illustrated by Isabel Castillo
Problem: You’re washing a little too aggressively
You can definitely wash your hair as often as you want. Seriously — Minar stresses that there isn’t any reason to fear washing your hair frequently. “But a lot of people get in trouble when they wash their hair every day because they aren't being as gentle as they need to be,” she says. “When your hair is wet, it’s at its weakest state and the most susceptible to breakage.”

Solution: Be gentle, and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. In the shower, use a shampoo spiked with hydrating oils and proteins to strengthen hair. (We like the Nexxus Oil Infinite system. The shampoo is silicone-free, which means it causes less buildup — win!) Then, when you’re out of the shower, pat — don’t rub — your hair dry with a towel. Lastly, comb through your wet strands with the grace of a ballerina, and you’ll be pretty much good to wash your hair whenever you'd like.
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Illustrated by Isabel Castillo