No matter what type of hair you have, straight and thin, fuller bodied with a natural wave or tight coils, summer weather can be difficult to navigate in terms of a hair care regimen. Once the heat kicks in it’s hard to avoid the summer-long ponytail, but when you want to mix up a bit a few simple tips can help harangue the frizz using items found around your house.
There are many different types of hair out there, but usually the same underlying issue causes frizz: Lack of moisture. During the winter you fight flyaways, and while it can seem unusual, you still can’t keep everything in place during the humidity of summer, even though the air is full of moisture. Hair is porous, so when overdried (often as a result of chemical processing), it will absorb the outside moisture which can result in frizz and flyaways.
The first step to fighting the frizz is to avoid stripping your hair’s natural oils with over washing.
Hair types are different but experts generally agree that washing your hair once a day can simultaneously produce more oil from the sebaceous glands which leads to more washing and, in effect, dry out your hair. Most hair needs a good washing once or twice a week, but when you’ve got kids and a busy schedule, trying to wean your hair off of everyday washing can feel, well, a little gross at first. So while you’re moving from a daily wash to a weekly wash, start by creating an at home cleanser that doesn’t have the same harsh ingredients of most shampoos (or the cost of the anti-sulfates).
Vinegar and baking soda are a great combination for adding natural oils back into your hair while still maintaining a healthy shine and avoiding grease.
Start with the baking soda by mixing one part baking soda to three parts cold water (for shorter hair, I suggest starting with 1 tablespoon of baking soda to three parts cold water, for shoulder length hair use about two to three tablespoons and longer hair up to five or six tablespoons). It can be applied to wet or dry hair as you normally would with another shampoo and then let sit for about 2-4 minutes depending on the length of your hair before washing with lukewarm water. Next, follow up with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and five parts water. I usually dilute a bit more because the smell is a bit strong for me, but you can also a drop or two of essential oils into the mix – lavender and peppermint are said to be great for hair shine and I have found that lemongrass works nicely to cut the harshness of the vinegar. Work the mix into your hair and let sit for about a minute before rinsing out with cold water. (Note: cold water helps keep hair from becoming too porous and overdried which, you guessed it, leads to frizz).
Another great habit to get into in order to restore moisture is using a hair mask a few times a month.
Like with washing there isn’t a perfect science to how often, but more than once a week is overkill; my hair is pretty long so I do one every three weeks focusing mostly on the ends where hair is most brittle. There are a few different methods but for fighting frizz, I like a combination of honey, egg yolk and olive oil using a one-to-one ratio with ingredients increased based on hair length. The egg helps restore proteins to your hair without stripping the natural oils, while the olive oil provides moisture and the honey will help seal in the moisture. There’s a number of variations on this combination, you can add avocado, coconut oil, greek yogurt or even (oof) mayonnaise to add some shine. The mixture can be applied to dry or wet hair, and can stay on anywhere from thirty minutes or wrapped in a scarf or shower cap overnight if your hair is in desperate need of some TLC.
If it’s an especially busy or humid day, try your hand at a new braid style, headband or a combination of both.
Once I got my mind around how to do a fish-tail braid I saved myself a ton of time blow drying, straightening or trying to create a perfect curl using a wand-roller combination. Adding a cotton summer scarf also adds a polished look while also hiding flyaways and giving you another day to avoid a washing. Whatever you choose to do, remember that the goal isn’t to make your hair fit into a box, but to restore health to your hair without breaking the bank or using a ton of products that you can already find in your pantry.