Ah, summertime: the season of salt, sand, sun, and…supreme hair damage.
While using eco-friendly shampoos and conditioners is one way to heal hair from exposure to the elements, sometimes summer hair care demands a little more.
You’re already in your sustainable swimwear, so hold your breath and get ready to dive into how to keep your hair healthy during the scorching sunny months.
How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?
Summertime equals sweat and all the au naturale smells that go with it. And no matter how good your eco-friendly deodorant is, your showers per week ratio will no doubt increase.
But is that a bad thing?
Besides the environmental considerations of using more water, showering can actually be detrimental to your hair. And frequent washing strips your hair and scalp of its natural oils, which are critical for its health.
Two to three washes per week are plenty.
Even if you’re putting your organic body wash to work more often, you don’t have to wash your hair every time you shower.
Tie it up in a bun or don a fashionable shower cap so you can scrub the sunscreen off with your sustainable face wash without unnecessarily drying out your hair.
Or if your scalp feels a little sweaty, go ahead and rinse it without the lather. Cold water will do enough to wash away surface-level dirt while maintaining your hair’s natural moisture.
Just be sure to always wash your hair after salt and chlorine exposure.
Washing after the latter is especially important for those with blonde or bleached hair, since the copper algaecides present in many chlorinated pools may cause a greenish tint. If you notice this, try rinsing your hair with lemon juice.
Style Your Hair with a Little SPF
SPF? Isn’t that just for your skin?
We’re surrounded by constant reminders of the importance of donning sunscreen on our skin, but few seek to remind us that the sun is equally damaging to our heads.
Not only does it dry out and potentially bleach hair, but it’s even more damaging to the skin beneath. If you’ve ever had a sunburnt scalp you’ll know it’s THE WORST, especially when it begins to peel.
Just as zero waste sunscreen can prevent the bleaching of coral reefs, sun-protective hair care can prevent unwanted bleaching of your hair and cell damage to your scalp.
The first layer of protection should be to keep your hair shaded, so befriend the braided look and break out those wide-brimmed fair trade hats!
It’s okay to flaunt your favorite hairstyle unobstructed, but if you’re doing it under the sun and on the daily, be sure you’re using products that protect your hair and scalp from harmful UV rays.
While many mainstream UV protective shampoos are filled with chemicals and other ingredients to avoid in skincare and haircare, organic and natural shampoo brands instead rely on plant-based formulas that contain natural SPF properties.
Plaine Products’ refillable shampoo, for instance, contains red algae extract, green tea, and Vitamin E, all of which bear natural SPF ratings to shield your hair.
Its other Vitamin C-rich ingredients—such as organic aloe, camellia oil, and papaya and pineapple pulp extracts—further protect the scalp’s cells from free radical oxidation.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Just like your plastic-free water bottle should be your constant companion in the dehydrating heat of summer, a solid hair hydration plan should be, too.
Hair can’t sweat but that doesn’t mean it’s not losing moisture as quickly as your skin on a 100° day.
Sun, salt, and chlorine are the trifecta of a dehydrated ‘do.
So if you’re planning on spending a day at the beach or your local pool, plan to either wear a protective conditioning mask while you’re out (just make sure it’s natural so as not to pollute the water) or give your hair a healthy rehydrating treatment after.
A good zero-waste conditioner not only contains ingredients that hydrate, working symbiotically with your hair to seal in its own natural oils, but is also a waste-free alternative.
Look for things like aloe vera, shea butter, vegetable glycerin, and seed oils—all present in Plaine Products’ conditioner!
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, as that helps with skin and hair hydration, too.
How to Deal With Sun-Damaged Hair
If you spend the majority of your summers outside soaking in the sun, your hair will inevitably endure some damage by the time the leaves begin to turn color.
So, in addition to mitigating sun damage by following the steps above, there are a few post-sun repair strategies that can help restore your hair’s natural moisture barrier.
First, stop using heat treatment. Hair dryers, straighteners, and curling irons exacerbate the damage so give your locks a loving break from the heat.
Be gentle about brushing, too.
Between the wind, salt, and chlorine, tangles and bird’s nests are an inescapable summertime fact, so be patient when using your eco-friendly hair brush to work out the knots. Because your hair is generally more dry (and brittle), you risk breakage.
In addition to using clean eco-friendly hair products, you can also treat your hair with the occasional pure ingredient mask. Aloe Vera, banana, egg yolk, coconut oil, and olive oil can each individually be added directly to the hair to remedy sun damage.
Massaging into the scalp for a few minutes increases blood circulation which can also heal damaged skin underneath.
Final Thoughts on Sustainable Summer Haircare
Summer is about being outside, lying on your sustainable beach towel while soaking in some Vitamin D (and Sea), and having fun—but your hair shouldn’t have to pay a price.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to. Besides, summertime isn’t synonymous with dry, damaged hair.
With the right natural products and a little bit of hair-ful forward thinking, you can strut into autumn with a natural bronze glow and a shiny head of nourished hair.
This was a guest post by Sustainable Jungle. Sustainable Jungle shares sustainability-related ideas, tips, tricks, products, brands, and stories about people & organizations doing meaningful work to better our planet.