Your Ultimate Guide to Summer Curly Hair Care This Year

curly hair care in the summer

This is your guide to summer curly hair care, we need to make sure we keep our curly hair in the best condition possible through the summer months.

Got to love summer, right?

There’s the good stuff in the summer..sunshine, long days, tans (I can but try) and then there’s dodging wasps, wondering where the closest fan is and looking after your curly hair..

Don’t stress, it’s going to be easy! Making sure our curls survive the summer months is going to be worth the tiny bit of extra effort it takes.

We spend all year taking care of our curly hair, of course we aren’t going to abandon it in the summer. Just for the freedom of going straight out into the sunshine? No way. 

I’m going to go through some essential practises to ensure that our curls love summer too. This is the ultimate guide to looking after your curly hair in the summer months.

1. Use SPF! A Summer Curly Hair Care Essential

All hair types, when exposed to UV rays, are susceptible to damage. In a nutshell, we diligently apply SPF to our faces and bodies and doesn’t our curly hair deserve at least the same?

spf sun cream for curly hair in summer

Our hair can ‘burn’ just like our skin.

UV exposure can damage both the inside and outside of the hair strand.

This damage can lead to dry and brittle hair. Curly hair naturally has a tendency to be drier than other hair types and this means that we need to be extra careful!

There are plenty of products which contain UV protectors for hair and we can factor (no pun intended 😉) these into our summer curly hair care routine.

This is a really good place to start.. 

– As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I receive a commission if you buy any of the products below through the links provided. It doesn’t affect the price you pay and helps to run this website. Thank you x

Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair veil 100ml

2. Cover it up! Your Curly Hair Will Thank You

The simple and effective solution.

We have a choice, if we want the freedom of having our hair out and down we can do this with a UV protector.

On the other hand, just as we know that wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt is the best way to stop our arms from burning, wearing a hat or scarf over our hair is the best way to guarantee it won’t get frazzled! We can always try to look glam while we’re at it…

If you are going to wear a scarf I would recommend a cotton one so that you don’t get too hot underneath!

cotton scarf for summer curly hair care

3. Moisture and treatments – go all out on the conditioner in Summer!

Summer is the best time to really nail our hair-moisturising routine! Regularly use any masques or leave-in-treatments you have to combat potential dryness from the sun. Once a week is ideal. 

First wash your hair, then apply the mask generously through the mid-lengths and ends (sometimes a little on the roots too if they don’t get too greasy). Leave it for at least 30 minutes. It can be beneficial to wear a shower cap over your hair and apply a low heat with a hairdryer. The heat from the dryer enhances the absorption of the deep conditioner. Then rinse the deep conditioner off and style as usual.

You can also pre-poo with an oil to moisturise

Argan oil or coconut oil are perfect for this.

Read my post on why argan oil is beneficial to curly hair

Apply the oil to dry hair and leave on for at least 30 minutes then shampoo and condition it out. You can even sleep in it but just be careful of your pillowcase!

Papaya Hair Food by Garnier Ultimate Blends | 3-in-1: Conditioner, Hair Mask, Leave-in Hair Conditioner 390ml

Also available in banana and coconut. This can be used as a mask but also as a leave-in conditioner and just tour regular conditioner too! CGM approved

Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment 237ml

Formulated with cocoa butter and shea butter. CGM approved

Pure Moroccan Argan oil

Rich in vitamins and has anti-inflammatory qualities

A leave-in conditioner is a great idea too! With many conditioners you can leave some of the product in as you rinse your hair or add a bit back in after you get out of the shower. Otherwise, so great leave-in conditioners are:

Living Proof No Frizz Leave-in Conditioner 118ml (UK only)

Also mentioned below because it combats frizz! Silicone Free, CGM approved

Noughty Intensive Care Leave-In Conditioner 150ml

Silicone Free! CGM approved

4. Minimise heat!

diffuser for curly hair care

During the summer our curls are already at risk of heat and UV damage from the sun so it is the perfect time to put down those heat styling tools!

Heat is damaging to curly hair and something that we need to be careful of all year round! 

Curly and wavy hair have weak cross-sectional points which make it vulnerable to heat damage and breakage. The bonds in the hair can be broken by heat and this can lead to dryness, a brittle texture and hair breakage 😞.

Read my full post on why heat is damaging to curly hair

Summer is time to embrace our natural curl pattern as much as possible and on the plus side it will air-dry much quicker than the rest of the year so less need to reach for the diffuser 😉.

If you will still be heat-styling your hair in the summer it is more important than ever to use a heat-protection product.

Protect your curls as much as possible from the damaging effects of a heated tool and always use a diffuser on the lowest heat setting. 

Living Proof Restore Instant Protection 188ml

Protects against heat and UV rays – 2 in 1! Silicone free

5. Swimming!

Next up in the summer curly hair care hazards..pool/ocean swimming.

swimming with curly hair in the summer

 Pool Swimming

If you are swimming in a pool you need to be aware of chlorine.

Chlorine removes natural oils from your hair which can leave the cuticle rough, damaged and weakened.

Regular swimming can also lead to a green-ish tinge on the hair.

This is caused indirectly by the chlorine. Tiny particles of copper can sit in cracks in the cuticle of the hair. The copper oxidises when in contact with chlorine and this oxidised copper is green! 

All this means that we must protect our hair from chlorine as part of our summer hair care routine. There are several ways of doing this:

  • The first is to wet your hair before going in to the pool with shower water. Hair that is fully saturated with water will not be able to absorb the chlorinated water.
  • Apply a deep conditioning mask or oil (such as coconut oil or argan oil) all over your hair before you get into the pool. This works in a similar way and protects your hair by limiting the amount of chlorinated water that can penetrate your hair. 
  • Rinse your hair as soon as your leave the pool to remove chlorinated water before it has a chance to sit on your hair. 
  • A clarifying shampoo can help remove chlorine build-up to lessen the damage it causes to your hair. It is possible to find sulphate-free clarifying shampoos.
  • Or you can wear a swimming cap! Not the most glamorous option, granted, but it will definitely lessen the chance of any chlorine damage!

Ocean Swimming

Salty ocean or sea water can also damage your hair.

The salt can roughen the cuticle leading to damaged, weakened hair.

Saltwater can also make your curls knotty and tangled. Nightmare!

The tips above for pool water can also be applied to sea water. 

  • Saturate your hair before you enter the sea with a deep conditioner, moisturising oil or clean shower water. 
  • Rinse your hair as soon as you are able to afterwards.
  • Cover it up while you swim!

As an alternative, Philip Kinglsey have created an amazing product to do all this for you! It is a cult product called Swimcap. It was originally created for the US Olympic Sychronized Swimming Team at their request! Swimcap protects against chlorine, sea salt and UV rays too! Just apply to damp hair in sections and comb through.

Philip Kingsley Swimcap 75ml

6. Wash with care!

Depending on our summer activities, we can get sweatier and feel like we need to wash our curly hair more frequently. Plus if you are swimming frequently then more hair-washing is also likely.

Using a good shampoo that won’t damage your curly hair is crucial. 

We are looking at a sulphate-free shampoo or a co-wash if you prefer. 

Sulphate free shampoo won’t strip hair of any of its natural oils, it is a gentle way of washing your curls. Curly hair can be naturally dry so it is important to retain as much moisture as possible.

Sulphate-free shampoos may not lather up as much as other shampoos but they will still cleanse your hair effectively and are well worth investing in.

Co-washing is using one product to clean and condition – a cleansing conditioner. These are very moisturising and tend to best for thick and dry curly hair.

Co-washes can build up on finer hair. They can be alternated with a sulphate free shampoo if you find that they are too heavy for everyday use.

One additional tip- if you are going on holiday try to take your own shampoo and conditioner!

I have come across some terrible shampoos in hotel rooms. Sometimes there is just one – a body and hair wash. No way! Our curls need their proper shampoo so be sure to decant your favourite into tiny bottles!

travel shampoo bottles for curly hair care in the summer

10 of the best curly hair shampoos!

7. Humidity! 

Our final and arguably biggest summer battle..

Humidity causes frizz! Humidity is essentially water carried in the air. This water can penetrate our hair and undo all the good work that we have pit into styling out curly hair.

The added moisture causes the hair cuticle to swell and this disrupts the curls. They move away from the curl clumps and do their own thing! Frizz! 

care for frizzy curly hair in the summer

There are lots of products available to combat frizz caused by humidity.

Unfortunately, a lot of them contain silicones. Silicones should be avoided by the curly-haired. Silicones coat the hair and although this may help control the frizz in the short term, in the long term these can build up on the hair shaft.

The best way to remove them? Sulphates! As mentioned above, sulphates can weaken curly hair by stripping it of oils, so silicones are best avoided.

Luckily there are still anti-frizz/humidity products which don’t contain silicones. Some of these are called anti-humectants – meaning that they actually repel water away from your hair. These should be used sparingly, however, as extended use can dry air out. 

Read my full post on dealing with frizzy hair

Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel 250ml

This one is silicone-free! CGM approved

Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade 75ml

This pomade does contain silicones which allow it to repel moisture from the air

8. Don’t stress!

Don’t let worrying about your curly hair stand in the way of enjoying summer.

Summer is a great time to let natural hair do its thing and maybe this is the time to add some new accessories into the mix. Clip back those frizzy bits that aren’t behaving and use a scarf or headband to keep everything in place.

Curly hair isn’t meant to be perfect 😉 Don’t be afraid of a little frizz and enjoy!

summer curly hair care

In Conclusion

A great summer curly hair care routine will really make a difference. Taking a few small precautions in the summer months will mean your curls will look great and remain in great condition the rest of the year! Don’t forget to moisturise your hair, use great products and, if in doubt, cover up those gorgeous curls!

Lauren xx

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