How to Have Stunning Summer Hair

It’s the time of year for fun in the sun. While frolicking in the ocean and lazing poolside is the perfect way to spend a summer day, sun, salt and chlorine can wreak havoc on your hair. We asked Gary Harlan, salon owner and master colorist at Naples, Florida’s ncolor salon + boutique—where it’s summer 365 day a year—for tips on how to keep our locks luscious when the temperature climbs.

Don a hat. “You hair, especially if you color it, is a serious investment.” Harlan says. “Taking care of it can’t be an afterthought, especially in the summer.” Your first line of defense is to wear a hat that covers all of your hair. A visor won’t cut it. “Many women make the mistake of letting their hair hang out the back of their baseball cap, where the ends are exposed to considerable damage.” Harlan advises flipping and tucking your ponytail so that it’s not uncovered.   

Try a keratin treatment. “In the summertime, it’s a good idea to consult with a salon professional about a keratin treatment,” Harlan recommends. “But be sure to visit someone who performs 4-6 treatments a week.” Keratin treatments are like a protective layer for your hair, coating the shaft and filling the bond. They have an added bonus of reducing frizz and cutting down on drying time. “To make your treatment last longer, be sure you use a sulfate-free shampoo,” Harlan advises. Schedule a treatment at the beginning and mid-summer and you should be good to go. Product to try: Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner.

Recondition your hair regularly. The key to healthy hair is moisture. Sun, salt and chlorine are your biggest enemy, drying out your locks and leaving every stand vulnerable to damage and breakage. “Once the hair becomes damaged, you’re going to have to visit a salon for treatments that reverse damage,” Harlan says. Stay ahead of the game by scooping up extra moisturizing hair products. “Shu Uemura has a new product that I love,” Harlan recommends. “You use it whenever you need extra conditioning, at least once a week. It looks like a lotion and you rub it on dry hair right before bed. When you wake you’re ready to go, no need to wash. It’s genius.” Product to try: Shu Uemura Essence Absolue.

Swim with caution. “My biggest advice is to keep your hair out of the water,” Harlan suggests. “Go to the neck and be done.” While this is sound advice, Harlan recognizes it’s not alway practical. If you must swim, condition before taking a dip. Dampen hair first and work a leave-in conditioner through your stands. “You’re coating your hair so chlorine and salt water don’t soak in,” Harlan shares. This is also a good idea when simply exposing your hair to the sun. After a swim, immediately rinse hair with fresh water. That evening, be sure to shampoo and condition. “I recommend using a Wet Brush in the shower to work conditioner through every strand,” Harlan says. Products to try: Oribe Run-Through Detangling Primer, Wet Brush, Shu Uemura Ultimate Remedy Shampoo, Shu Uemura Ultimate Remedy Masque.

Change up your hair routine for the summer. If you regularly get highlights during the winter months, you might want to consider skipping them for summertime. “When you lighten your hair you are doing damage,” Harlan informs. “Instead, go with more lowlights, that actually strengthen the hair, and allow minimal exposure to the sun to lighten your hair naturally.” Summer is also a good time to embrace a more natural look and let your hair air dry. Heating appliances, from hair dryers to straighteners, cause a lot of damage, advises Harlan. Try a anti-humidity spray to keep your au natural look on the tamer side. A little extra TLC in the summer will go a long way to a year-round, gorgeous mane. Product to try: Oribe Impermeable Anti-Humidity Spray.