By Leah Fletcher
With the summer approaching, you know what that means for your hair: heat, humidity and more heat.
However, with some extra TLC, this doesn’t have to be a season of bad hair days.
As you plan for lots of fun in the sun, it might be time to modify your hairstyle so you can make it through the summer with a healthy head of hair. If you don’t normally make changes to your style routine when the seasons change, it’s a good habit to get into, stylist Beverly Canter says.
“The summer sun can be brutal on hair, especially hair that has a tendency to be dry,” says Canter.
By following just a few simple tips during the summer, Canter believes “your tresses will look just as dazzling at the season’s end as it did at the start.”
Protective styles always offer something creative
Do you want to keep your hair protected from the elements and experience less breakage? Then consider any number of protective styles for natural or relaxed hair during the 2017 summer season. From a traditional twist-out to the use of natural hair extensions, there is always something new.
For this reason, covering the head or selecting a certain hairstyle becomes very important. However, there are fashionable styles that hold up well and accommodate your daily activities. There are also aesthetically pleasing styles that support sporting activities like swimming, running and daily exercise routines.
Buns: simple and convenient
Whether you call them power buns, space buns or ballerina buns; the bun is a great, simple and convenient style. A simple bun not only prevents breakage, but also makes it easy to brush back and re-style your hair. Brush your hair into a ponytail at the top of your head and wind it into a bun. Use bobby pins to hold it in place and a headband to catch and hold any stray pieces. If your hair is short, there are bun extensions that can help you achieve the look.
Cornrows offer numerous styling options
Cornrows are a solid hairstyle option for Black women during the summer months, especially if they swim often. They not only stay in place, but they can be worn for several days at a time. This style can be achieved easily by parting the hair into four or five large pieces. Starting at the front, braid toward the back, pulling the pieces into place along each larger section as you go. Try to keep the parts even so the cornrows look neat and fasten the ends with a small rubber band or ponytail holder. You can wash your hair after swimming. This particular style will hold and it works well with any length of hair. There also are numerous cornrows styling options including braided buns and ponytails, flat twist combos, and fancy cornrows.
Afros: Let them flow free
When the weather is warm, sometimes it’s best to let your hair just all hang out! Whether you have a TWA (Teeny Weenie Afro) or an afro that replicates the iconic one worn by Angela Davis, you can style your natural hair with an array of adornments—flowers, scarfs or barrettes. Consider using combs to create a “faux-hawk.” Hair ties and headbands help create stylish summer styles that are easy to maintain.
Braids offer versatile options
Braids have historically offered versatile summer hairstyle that takes you from the office to happy hour or the gym to the beach. There are a variety of styles that include all types of twists—Kinky, Senegalese, Marley/Havana—and Micro/Tree braids. Braids will never let you down.
And just when we thought you’ve seen every braid idea possible, Canter points to the “hair wizards of Pinterest who abound with fresh innovations that send us on styling frenzies.”
Faux locs convenient choice
If you love the look of dreadlocks, but you aren’t really interested in committing to them? Faux locs might be the answer. Unlike using your own hair to create them, faux locs get the look by using extensions and can be easily taken out. “The time and flexibility, as well as the edgy style, make this hairstyle a convenient summer choice,” Canter said.
Wraps and hats offer summer protection
There may be time when you imagine yourself as a Nubian goddess with a colorful cloth wrap atop your head. Or, sometimes, you might want to throw on a straw hat or silk scarf.
Both of those add style and flair while protecting you hair, Canter said. There are online, retail outlets that offer a variety of head wrap and scarf collection that come in a variety of colors, patterns and tying options.
“It’s a very easy way to add flair to a simple summer outfit,” she added.
If you opt for a hat, choose wisely, Canter said.
“Wide-brimmed straw or canvass hats and denim caps can damage your hair,” said Canter, who explained that you can protect your hair by placing a barrier between it and the hat band with a satin or silky scarf.
Swimmers and non-swimmers take heed
If swimming, sports or just hanging out in the sun is part of your summer routine, rinsing your hair, especially after a dip in the ocean or a pool, is essential. While shampooing your hair once a week and following up with a deep conditioner is a good idea, rinsing salt and sweat from your hair, and adding a conditioner is the best way to keep your hair flourishing and healthy from day to day, especially if you have relaxed hair, Canter said.
“Focus on cleansing your scalp when co-washing so that you don’t manipulate your hair too often. Remember the occasional protein treatments as well if you’re a frequent swimmer”, she said.
“All of these styling options not only keep hair off your face or neck, but also protect your delicate ends. Protecting your ends prevents excessive dryness and breakage, so your hair will grow and you will retain that length,” explained Canter. From her perspective it’s easy to combine a braid hairstyle with a scarf or hat, giving you plenty of summer flair for even the most modest hairdos.