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Like many Washington women, we hate our hair in summer. Heat and humidity can make thin, wavy hair limp and frizzy. Curly hair explodes in volume.
It isn’t just the climate that causes summer hair headaches. Add sun, salt, and chlorine and you have a recipe for tress distress.
Although hair can’t get sunburned, the sun does cause damage, says Arlington dermatologist Michelle Rivera. “By breaking down the protein bonds that make hair strong and oxidizing the melanin, the sun can give us months of bad-hair days,” she says. “This is especially true for those who color, perm, or straighten their hair.”
Many products promise protection from ultraviolet rays, particularly leave-in conditioners, says Salvatore Piazza of Designing Image salon in Bethesda. Piazza advises washing hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and using a color-protecting conditioner after each sun, saltwater, or chlorine exposure.
Rivera also cautions that products that protect hair don’t protect the scalp. Spray sunscreen on your part and anywhere thinning hair exposes the scalp to the sun, Rivera says. Better yet, wear a hat.
Even if you never go near the water, there’s enough humidity in Washington to ruin your hairdo. We tried products that promise frizz-free hair no matter the weather. These are the ones that worked for us:
Elie Elie Curl Definesse No. 4 Leave-In Conditioning Spray ($20 at the Elie Elie Salon in Tysons Corner Center) proved to be an effective frizz fighter for thick, curly hair when used daily. When the humidity really climbed, we added Curlisto Systems Control II Gel ($26 at curlisto.com). On really hot days, a midday spritz of Jessicurl Awe Inspiraling Spray in citrus lavender ($12.75 at jessicurl.com) kept curls in control.
Another good option is the line of No Frizz sprays and creams for fine, coarse, straight, or curly hair ($14 to $24 at Sephora), which were created by scientists at MIT. Because they don’t contain silicone, the products don’t weigh down fine hair—and they repel dirt, so you can go longer between shampoos. We tried No Frizz in the rain and emerged with a few flyaways but no frizz.
When your bangs get sweaty—and you don’t have time for a shampoo and blow dry—try this quick fix: Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo by TIGI ($20 at area salons). It saved our do for another day.