Heat, humidity, and the scorching summer sun all lead to one thing: hair behaving badly. While Southerners are known for great hair, battling brutal humidity is an everyday challenge for all types and textures. We called on New Orleans dermatologist Dr. Deirdre Hooper to share her best tips for beating the bad kind of big hair.
Protect Color-Treated Locks
The key to restoring parched strands is to lock in moisture. For a semipermanent solution, ask your stylist for a post-highlight gloss, which boosts shine and smoothness for up to 28 washes. (Off-the-shelf products provide more temporary coverage.) "Silicon-based products fight frizz by clinging tightly to the cuticle and sealing out humidity," says Dr. Hooper. Check labels for this silkening ingredient. Wash with a clarifying shampoo once or twice a month to avoid product buildup.
Enhance Natural Waves
Before heat styling, set tools no higher than 400 degrees and spritz hair with a heat-protective product. "Too much heat harms hair just as it does skin. However, unlike with the epidermis, hair can't heal itself," explains Dr. Hooper. Smooth the ends of long, previously damaged hair with reconstructing and moisturizing products, such as split end salves. Beware of tightly bound ponytails, which also can break outermost strands and cause flyaways.
Strengthen Aging Strands
Once the scalp produces less hydration, hair loses luster. Scale back on washes to replenish natural oil. Reducing hair's exposure to friction is also an effective method— and it's one that starts in the shower. Rather than brushing out towel-dried tangles, use a wide-tooth comb while you've still got conditioner in your hair. This reduces the breakage of particularly vulnerable wet hair. You can also try swapping your cotton pillowcase for a satin one; resting hair on a smoother surface can reduce hair breakage as you sleep.
Boost Beautiful Curls
Frizz-free curls are really dependent on two things: hydration and hold. The first step is preserving the natural moisture your scalp produces by washing only every two to three days. Each time you do wash, massage a curl cream through towel-dried hair. When hair is wet, product disperses more evenly, adding long-lasting hold without the dreaded "crunch" effect. Between washes, work in a leave-in conditioning treatment, which focuses on hair's mid-shaft to its ends.
Frizz-Fighting Hair Products
Protect Against Heat: Your Hair Assistant Blowdry Primer, $34; davines.com
Restore Color-Treated Hair: Pureology Smooth Perfection Shampoo, $19; amazon.com
Optimize Curls: Bb. Curl Anti- Humidity Gel-Oil, $34; birchbox.com
Rejuvenate Ends: L'Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Extraordinary Oil Lustrous Oil Serum, $7; drugstore.com
Smooth Strands: Cupuaçu Anti-Frizz Smoothing Hair Mask, $32; jcpenney.com