5 tips for taking care of gray hair in summer – Best Life

Going gray is a big change, both aesthetically and in terms of your hair care routine. And while you might think you’re in control of your new regime, it’s important to note that gray hair has different needs each season. In warm weather, factors like UV rays, chlorine, humidity and salt water all take their toll on our strands. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a challenging process. Read on to learn more about taking care of gray hair in summer. Keep your hair hydrated, healthy and happy all season long with these expert tips from hair stylists.

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elderly woman with gray hair smiles on the walk
adamkaz / iStock

You wouldn’t dare leave the house without your trusty SPF, but did you know hair suffers from UV damage too? And strands of silver are particularly vulnerable. “The melanin in our hair protects it from the sun, like a natural sunscreen, but gray hair has little to no melanin,” he says Brandie DevillierPlatform Educator at Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute and Certified Color Instructor at Elevate Hair.

Gray hair that’s overexposed to the sun can appear dingy or yellow; it can also become dry, brittle, and thin. “This damage can be permanent and may need to be removed,” Devillier warns. Luckily there is an easy fix. Use a hairspray with UV protection before leaving the house and try to wear hats or scarves to cover your hair if possible.

elderly couple on the beach

A day at the beach takes a toll on your strands. “Salt water can dry your hair and zap all of the moisture out of your hair follicles and scalp, making it brittle and vulnerable,” it says Cody Renegar, an LA-based celebrity hairstylist. “Without moisture, your hair will split and/or break.”

To counteract this, Devillier recommends using a leave-in conditioner before you get in the water and a clarifying shampoo after you get out of the water.

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senior woman swimming in the pool with bathing cap

Chlorine is a chemical oxidizer, which means it strips hair of the proteins that keep follicles plump and healthy, explains the LA hair colorist Taylor Paschal. It also irritates the hair’s outer layer, letting in minerals that can stain your strands. In addition, the chemical can create brittleness and frizz.

“This can be prevented by shampooing and conditioning the hair immediately after swimming, wearing a swimming cap when swimming, or using conditioner on the hair before swimming to protect the hair follicles from absorbing chlorine,” explains Paschal. Use a combination of all three for added protection.

shiny gray hair

Even fully pigmented hair can react in high humidity and hot temperatures. However, gray hair is even more prone to frizz as it is drier and more brittle. The key here is hydration. “Many types of natural oils can be applied to your gray hair after a deep conditioning shampoo and conditioner,” says Renegar. “You want to charge up your gray hair, which is essentially a spongy string of tiny air bubbles. Filling the hair shaft with all the healthy moisture keeps the moisture in the air from getting in and causing frizz.”

Try a hair oil, serum, or leave-in conditioner. Or style your hair in an updo with a moisture-proof hairspray.

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man washes hair
Tanya Kim / Shutterstock

During the summer, it can be tempting to shower multiple times a day, especially when temperatures are rising. You shouldn’t wash your hair after every conditioner, however, as over-washing can damage it. “The chemicals and heat in shampoo and conditioner strip hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry, brittle and prone to breakage,” he says Lauren Udoh, Hairstylist and Hair Creative Director of WigReports.com. “To avoid this, people should try to wash their hair every other day at most, using a gentle shampoo and conditioner that is sulfate- and silicone-free.”

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