You've spent all summer outside, and while you've no doubt enjoyed yourself, your hair may tell a different story. Sun exposure, excessive heat and pool water are not your hair's best friends. As we transition into fall, here are a few ways to make sure your hair deals with the change in seasons and keeps it's shine and bounce.
1. When you spend the day outside, keep your hair covered.
If you're spending a lot of time in the sun, keep your hair covered with a hat or scarf. When the sun beats down on your hair, the heat lifts the cuticle. When the cuticle is lifted, hair becomes dehydrated, dry and damaged. The more the cuticle rises, the more likely it is to chip and become damaged. Hair with closed cuticles is soft, smooth and shiny.
2. Wash your hair regularly with clean, organic products.
A good, natural shampoo will cleanse the hair and scalp without over-cleaning and help remove any build up that might have accumulated throughout the summer (chlorine from pools, smog-filled air, etc.). Additionally, strong, shiny, healthy hair starts in the follicle and is fed through the blood circulation.
Cleansing hair regularly removes dirt, pollution and unbalanced oil that clogs the follicle. When the follicle is clogged, it can't breathe. This leads to weaker hair, reduced stimulation and decreased nutrient intake.
3. Cut your hair regularly.
The worst thing you can do for your hair is skip trims. Rather than picking apart your split ends when bored, cut 'em off. Split ends can't be repaired, and if they're not cut off regularly, hair will start to split even faster as it grows. If you're holding onto your split ends because you don't want to "lose length," remember that you're actually contributing to your hair looking shorter because it's constantly breaking. Think of split ends as an infection that can only be fought with regular trims.
4. Keep your hair soft and protected.
A simple trick to keep your hair shiny and healthy is to dab a little oil on your strands when they're dry. This will allow the oil to absorb, strengthen, protect and moisturize your hair before you shampoo or go swimming. Applying oil to damp hair can help as well, sealing in micro amounts of moisture. Use a small amount of camelina, coconut, jojoba, grape seed or sunflower.
5. Cut back on heat styling.
Instead of reaching for the blow dryer/curling iron/straightener, go natural! Not only should you embrace the natural texture and shape of your hair, but experimenting with different natural products can help bring out texture, wave, curl and volume you might not have even realized you had hiding behind all that heat styling. The excessive heat from tools like that raise and chip the cuticle, depleting moisture causing damage to hair (see tip #1!).
6. Avoid pulling your hair up or back.
It’s easy to just throw your hair up in a bun or ponytail for a quick fix, but forcing your mane into an elastic can really damage it. Let your hair relax in the direction it wants to go: down. If you find you're always reaching for a hair tie, maybe it's time to experiment with a short style! And if you're looking to moisturize your hair, try this DIY mask.