Dry hair is a common problem that most people will experience on and off throughout their life.
Hair can become dry and unruly for several reasons, usually related to your lifestyle or haircare routine.
Over-processing, heated styling tools, synthetic hair care products, the sun, and pollution can all cause hair to become brittle and dry over time.
If your parched, dull, and unruly hair has you dreaming of smooth and sumptuous locks, we’ve put together this guide to help you to rehydrate your hair and protect it from becoming dry again.
Identifying hair that’s too dry
Dry hair usually has a coarse or brittle texture, it may be damaged with split ends and become frizzy and unruly very easily.
If your hair is lacking hydration, it may lose its softness and shine and instead look dull and dry with a straw-like texture.
Dry hair isn’t very supple or flexible, making it prone to breaking easily and becoming damaged.
Why does my hair feel dry in the summer?
Whilst we’re all wise to the damaging effect that the sun can have on our skin, fewer people consider the harm that UVA and UVB rays can have on our hair.
According to a scientific study from 2008 titled UV damage of the hair, ‘UVB radiation is responsible for hair protein loss and UVA radiation is responsible for hair colour changes.’
When your hair absorbs radiation from the sun it causes damage to hair lipids and the hair’s disulphide bonds, which are the proteins in your hair that give it elasticity.
Sun-damaged hair will quickly become dry, brittle, and damaged.
If you tend to swim more during the summer months, then chlorine and seawater can also damage and dry your hair out. It’s important to cover your hair with a swimming cap or wash it thoroughly after you have been swimming.
How to protect your hair from the sun
Going outside in the sunshine can do wonders for our mood, but not so much for our skin or hair. When you’re enjoying time in the great outdoors it's important to remember to make sure that your hair is protected to keep it looking and feeling healthy and hydrated.
Use products with UV protection
Whilst you’d end up a sticky, greasy mess if you tried to put regular sunscreen on your hair, fear not, there are plenty of leave-in haircare products out there that contain UVA and UVB filters to protect your hair and scalp.
Wear a hat
Choose a wide-brimmed hat during the summer months to protect your hair from the sun. Invest in a brand that has a UPF number to ensure that it provides adequate protection.
Wash your hair less frequently
Your hair’s natural oils help to protect it from the sun, so try to reduce the frequency with which you wash your hair during the summer months to help prevent it from drying out and becoming damaged.
Tips to hydrate hair
Before choosing products or treatments to rehydrate your hair, you need to identify what hair type you have. Thick and curly hair will require a different product to very fine and thin hair to get the best results.
It’s also useful to know whether your hair has low, medium, or high porosity as your hair’s porosity affects its ability to soak up and retain moisture.
To find this out, simply pull out a strand of hair and place it in a bowl of water. High porosity hair will quickly sink, low porosity hair will stay at the top for a while before sinking, and medium porosity hair will float around the middle of the bowl for a bit before sinking to the bottom.
Low porosity hair has a tight cuticle which prevents it from soaking up moisture, whereas high porosity hair has a wider cuticle, allowing it to soak up moisture easily but preventing it from retaining that moisture for very long.
Low porosity hair may need treatments to be left on for a little longer to give it more time to absorb the ingredients. It will also benefit from heat treatments that open the cuticle a little to allow the oil or conditioner to be absorbed easier.
High porosity hair needs help sealing in moisture, so finishing any treatment with an oil can help it to retain hydration.
Once you know your hair type, do your research to discover the most suitable hydrating products for your hair. These are likely to include:
- Leave-in conditioners
- Hair masks
- All-natural shampoos and conditioners
Tips to maintain healthy summer hair
Here’s a summary of our top ten tips for keeping hair hydrated and healthy during the summer months.
- Wash your hair less frequently
- Avoid heated styling tools
- Cover your hair if swimming
- Use natural and hydrating hair care products designed for your hair type
- Use deep conditioning treatments
- Air dry your hair
- Drink more water
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat
- Use leave-in hair care products with UV protection
- Have your hair trimmed regularly
What type of products should you use for dry hair?
If your hair is dry, it’s worth investing in hair care products that ensure that your hair gets the nourishing and hydrating ingredients it needs.
Many popular high street haircare brands use synthetic ingredients that are harsh on the hair and can end up exacerbating rather than improving the dry hair problem.
Some key haircare ingredients to avoid if you have dry hair include:
- Sulfates (strong detergents) including ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).
- Sodium chloride (salt).
- Bad alcohols (most ingredients with ‘prop’ in their name) including isopropyl and propanol.
Instead, look for hair care products that are eco-friendly, organic, and made using all-natural, nourishing ingredients – such as the Nereus London natural hair care range.