Sunsets at 9 pm. Blue skies for days. Farmer’s markets everywhere. Summer has definitely arrived. And I am thrilled about it. Just like the song goes, summers passed have given me some of the best days of my life! Now, if only my hair could enjoy it as much as I do (humidity and frizz, please go away).
The arrival of summer means that my cotton and linen sundresses have become my go-to outfits, my drink of choice is rosé and my yoga spot has moved from my living room to the park. It also means having to change my skin and hair care routines, which has become even more important since I turned 40.
Did you know that some of the hair changes we experience after turning 40, like hair thinning and loss, more brittle, dull hair, and drier scalp are actually accentuated during summer time? Recent studies have confirmed that people have higher rates of "telogen” (the final stage of hair growth and therefore, when it is more likely to fall out) in the summer. In addition, UV exposure, chlorine or salt water and pollution all contribute to weakened, drier, and more damaged hair and an irritated scalp.
Recently, I decided to revamp my summer hair care routine based on recommendations from my dermatologist. My dermatologist is also my neighbor and friend and we often go to lunch after my appointments. In between our book club exchange and fashion gossip, I look for every tip I can. I am always thankful for her advice and amazed by all the helpful scientific insights she gives me, not only about skin, but to my (happy!) surprise, also hair.
Following are some of her top “tricks of the trade” for better, thicker, healthier hair during the summer.
PAMPER THE SCALP
An important fact (new for me, thank you doctor!): healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. Based on this, I have started to take advantage of summer’s relaxed pace to spend some extra minutes in the shower to massage my scalp or use products like Better Not Younger’s Superpower scalp serum to increase blood flow and stimulate the hair follicles to promote faster hair growth and strengthen hair roots.
ALWAYS CONDITION – WITH THE RIGHT CONDITIONER
Even though our hair is basically “dead” once it is out of the scalp, the coating and protection provided by a great conditioner can make it look smoother and feel stronger. Leaving conditioners and masks for at least 10 minutes before rinsing has proven key to restore and nourish older strands, which are more brittle, or you can use products like Hair Redemption Restorative Butter Masque in place of your regular conditioner 1-2 times a week for 2 minutes. Find a conditioner and/or mask that suit our own hair type and texture, so as to give it the right level of moisture while maintaining the hair’s body.
DON’T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME, OR MY HAIR
My dermatologist always reminds me that just like I am careful to protect my skin from the sun, I need to protect my hair AND my scalp. UV rays can indeed dry out and "cook” the hair. Even hair that is not colored will quickly show sun-induced damage. So when out on the sun, I make sure to wear my grosgrain-trimmed straw hat, which not only protects my scalp but adds a “bellissino” Italian flair to my outfits.
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT, FROM “HAIR” TO TOE
We have all heard that eating healthy food is necessary for healthy hair. Furthermore, there are some foods that have been identified to specifically nourish the follicles and help them to produce more natural oils and prevent hair breakage. Some of these are: dark green vegetables for vitamins A and C; salmon, walnuts, chia and flax seeds for omega-3 fatty acids; and eggs and poultry as key sources of protein. And when I add to these the best-kept beauty secret: drinking (lots of) water, my hair is thankful and it shows it in no time.
LESS IS MORE
Wash less. Washing my hair every two or three days usually keeps my hair clean without stripping away the scalp’s natural oils. Still, I always rinse after swimming to remove salt or chlorine, both of which can dry hair out. If you simply cannot resist washing it more often, then the best hair products will be those that don’t contain sulfates that strip the scalp of oils like Wake Up Call Volumizing Shampoo. Remember to shampoo only the scalp, letting the suds gently clean your hair while going down during rinsing.
Style less. ‘Tis the season to let hair air-dry and say ‘au revoir’ to styling tools. I love letting my beautiful beach waves flow freely, or wearing a sleek ponytail for a more polished look. If a blow dry or heat styling is needed for the occasion, I always use a heat-protection product.
Protect Your Hair Color. The sun, wind, salt and chlorine can make color fade faster (it can lighten as much as four shades), so protect your hair color with hats or beautiful scarves and use products safe for chemical- or color-treated hair like Second Chance Repairing Shampoo and Conditioner for Dry/Damaged Hair.
They say: “every summer has a story”. I’m definitely ready for this summer to become “the summer of great hair days”. I think that with some extra love, the help of my revamped routine and the right products, this can happen. Are you ready too?