Flat or frizz? Summer Hair Tips

During the summer, it might seem as though your hair has a mind of its own.
During the summer, it might seem as though your hair has a mind of its own.

You know how those swimsuit models look so stunning with their wet locks pushed back off their tan, glowing faces? Well, if you stuck around until it dried, you'd probably find their hair looked a lot like yours in the summer time: Frizzy or flat or just generally ravaged by heat and humidity.

Or not. They are swimsuit models. But our point stands: Most women have trouble getting greatness out of their hair in summer conditions.


Whether your mane is thick and curly and looks like you stuck a fork in an outlet, or it's thin and straight and plasters to your head like a beanie, there are ways to control the damage. Here, some tips to help you alleviate your summer hair woes -- without shaving your head.

First up, don't be afraid to ask for help (in a bottle) …

The products you use in winter, spring and fall may simply fail you in the summer. Heat has a drying effect on hair, and humidity can cause the roots to swell and the hair to "poof." So, you may need to adjust your routine to incorporate some products made for these conditions, such as:

  • Extra-moisturizing shampoos and conditioners -- Hydration means less frizz, more smooth.
  • Leave-in conditioners -- These will keep the moisture going all day long and help prevent flyaways for straight hair.
  • Color stabilizers -- UV rays can fade hair color (and/or turn it orange). Shampoos, conditioners and creams made for color retention can help.
  • UV shields -- In addition to helping block color-fading rays, products with UV shields built in can prevent drying and frying in the sun (especially at the beach, where salt is added to the mix).
  • Treatment masks -- For severely dry hair, try an intensive-care mask, which you leave in for 10 to 20 minutes and then wash out. (Only once or twice a week, though for best results.

And avoid these like the plague:

  • Sulfate-based products -- They dry hair out.
  • Alcohol-based products -- They're also drying.
  • Heavy styling products on fine hair -- They weigh it down.
  • Heat-based styling tools if your hair is thick and/or dry -- Frizz, frizz, frizz!

Products can make a big difference on hair hurt by the elements, but great summer hair isn't all about fighting back. One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to beautify is to use nature to your advantage …

Go with the flow. During the summer, it's sometimes easier to let your hair behave the way it wants to.
Go with the flow. During the summer, it's sometimes easier to let your hair behave the way it wants to.

It's simple to add moisture. It's even simpler to not remove your hair's natural moisture in the first place.

We're talking about your hair's natural oils here. These oils are not your enemy, especially in the drying summer sun. They keep your hair looking sleek, your curls looking like curls and your tips looking smooth. To avoid stripping these oils, wash your hair every two or three days rather than every day. You'll find your hair naturally looks better if you just leave it alone a little bit.

Other ways to use nature to your advantage:

  • Harness gravity -- If your hair is thin, fine or flat, go with a shorter cut to reduce weight and add volume. If your hair is thick or curly, keep it long. The extra weight will keep the poofiness in check when humidity hits.
  • Apply styling products away from the root -- Smoothing cream or gel into the root of your hair has the opposite effect of what you're probably going for. Rather than adding volume, it weighs the root down, decreasing its lifting ability. Leave the root natural, and apply styling products from mid-shaft to end.
  • Go with the flow -- Stop trying so hard to tame it: Perfectly styled, stick straight or tightly curled hair is not summer fare. Let your hair go a little wild, with messy waves and a little texture. You'll look like you just left the beach (in a good, swimsuit-model way).

Even using both nature and science, you may find you need to rely on your wits to get your hair in top form in 90-degree heat. Here's where the fun starts …

When all else fails, pull out a sunhat!
When all else fails, pull out a sunhat!

So many styles, so little summer time.

We'd all love to go down and natural in our sundresses and sandals, but sometimes it just doesn't work. Summer's bad hair days can be epic. So do something fun, flirty or bold with your unruly tresses. Just a handful of options include:

  • Headband -- Wide is best. Pair it with a bun for interest, or use it to push your loose locks off your face for a slightly tamed, slightly wild look.
  • Ponytail -- High, low or even to the side, these can be chic. If you go with a side pony, keep it loose so you don't channel the '80s, and put down that scrunchy. Try wrapping a lock of hair around a neutral-color hair band, instead.
  • Braid(s) -- These never go out of style. Try a single, long braided ponytail high up, midway down or at the nape, or wrap a braid into a chignon-style bun for something a bit more sophisticated.
  • Half up -- It's a classic if you do it right. Simply pull some hair back off your face and secure it with a hair band, barrette or multiple bobby pins. Keep it soft, and don't worry about a few loose strands. Messy totally works for summer.
  • Bun(s) -- Again, stay aware from severe (it's so winter-time). A messy bun, at the crown, the very back of the head or low on the nape, looks effortless, takes about five seconds, and can be flattering for all hair types.

And when all else fails, remember: There's no shame in covering it up. God invented sun hats and floral-printed headscarves for a reason, and even swimsuit models get the frizz (we think).

For more information on summer style and hair care, look over the links on the next page.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Dakss, Brian. "Help Your Hair Beat Summer Heat." The Morning Show. CBS News. July 16, 2007. (May 4, 2011)
  • Donahue, Kayleigh. "11 Five-Minute Hair Ideas." Allure. (May 4, 2011)
  • Matthews, Melissa. "Summer Hair Care Tips." Woman's Day. July 7, 2009. (May 4, 2011)
  • Ritterhoff, Gale Hansen. "Summer hair tips & tricks." Harper's Bazaar. June 30, 2008. (May 4, 2011)