Condé Nast Traveler June 26, 2023

CondE Nast Traveler


How to Prevent Hair Damage During Your Summer Travels, According to Experts


Experts share their favorite products and best tips for healthy hair in the summer. 

Between the warm weather, relaxing dips in the ocean, and long, sunny days spent exploring the great outdoors, there’s lots to love about summer. The only caveat? The sun, heat, and humidity all wreak havoc on our hair. With this in mind—and to prevent potential damage and breakage while on summer vacation—you’ll want to add a few new products to your toiletry bag or dopp kit. Besides, who wants to spend extra time getting ready in a hotel bathroom when you can be out and about exploring a new city or soaking up the sun on a beautiful beach?

To find out how to keep your hair healthy this summer, we asked a handful of stylists for their expert recommendations, tips, and product picks. We see more good hair days in your future. 

Hydration is key

LA–based hairstylist Bradley Leake says hydration is, “the most pivotal step to maintaining healthy and beautiful summer hair.” What’s more, he explains, “hotter weather typically comes with dryer air, more direct heat, and less moisture.” Because of this, it’s crucial to incorporate hydrating hair products into your summer hair-care routine. Leake especially loves using the Hidden Crown Argan Oil Hair Serum, which he says, “will keep your hair velvety smooth, healthy, and hydrated.” Its protective formula, which features, you guessed it, Argan oil, is packed with fatty acids and vitamin E.

Laurabeth Cabott, a hair stylist based in Los Angeles, California and Kansas City, Missouri, echoes Leake’s sentiments, telling Condé Nast Traveler that it’s so important to use oil and moisture serums all summer long. For the ultimate hydration boost, the stylist likes to combine R+Co High Dive Moisture + Shine Creme (loaded with ingredients like vitamin E and provitamin B5, also known as panthenol, a powerful humectant) with the R+Co Bleu Optical Illusion Smoothing Oil (which contains a slew of noteworthy ingredients like moisturizing meadowfoam and glycerin). 

Pre-moisten your hair before jumping in the water

If you plan on spending time in the ocean or the pool, Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, says to, “make sure that you get your hair wet before [because] your hair is like a sponge and it absorbs moisture.” Those with dry strands may benefit from applying a leave-in conditioner, such as Oribe's Leave-In Conditioning Detangler before diving into the water. Ideal for those with medium to thick hair, this frizz-fighting staple features a handful of beneficial ingredients such as glycerin, fatty acid-packed olive oil, vitamin-laden avocado oil, and a blend of nourishing murumuru, mango, and cocoa seed butters.

“Chlorine is not only harmful to your hair health but to the color as well, causing breakage and fading” says Leake. With this in mind, he urges those with color-treated hair to use a leave-in conditioner—which will “create a barrier between your hair and the summer elements.” Per the pro, the Redken One United All-In-One Multi-Benefit Treatment is a great option that has detangling properties as well, which is always helpful after swimming.

Snag a hair mask (or two)

An excellent hair mask is a must during the summer months. Like leave-in conditioners, hair masks create a barrier between your hair and the sun or water. Carrie Capalbo, a stylist a Salon YOSHIKO Palm Beach, is a fan of the Kérastase Masque Après Soleil Hair Mask, which she says is, “easy to use and great to apply to your hair while you are in the sun for a beach day.” Cabott, on the other hand, loves the R+Co Bleu Bleu De Luxe Reparative Masque for its sulfate- and paraben-free formula that's great for every hair type, thanks to its nourishing oils like sunflower, olive, and avocado.

Brush often

According to Leake, “routine brushing throughout the day can be a game-changer” when maintaining healthy hair since it reduces product build-up and removes the risk of tangles growing through the day. While you can’t go wrong with any brush or comb, he particularly loves the BRDY JAY Comb Collection, which has a variety of comb sizes you can easily slip in your purse, making them ideal for on-the-go use. Babba Rivera, founder and CEO of hair-care brand Ceremonia, also emphasizes the importance of regularly brushing, telling Traveler, “I always carry my wide-tooth wooden comb from TEK and try to detangle my hair while it’s still damp from a swim.”

Use a heat protectant

Since you’ll be spending your days soaking up the sun, it’s key to use products that offer heat protection, which will help shield your hair from harmful UVs. The Hairdresser's Invisible UV Protective Primer from Bumble and Bumble is a favorite of UK–based hairstylist Kieron Justin, who calls it, “a travel must-have for ultimate hair health on the go.” He describes the product as a multitasking leave-in treatment for all hair types since it’s specially formulated to protect hair from the sun—while also defrizzing, detangling, and conditioning.

The Moroccanoil heat protectant spray is equally noteworthy: Per Justin, it contains “a blend of antioxidants to neutralize free radicals generated by UV, pollution, and other stressors that can cause damage to the hair.” Plus, it helps prevent color-treated hair from fading or turning brassy. Meanwhile, Rivera suggests using her brand’s signature Guava Rescue Spray, which pulls double duty as a detangler. The multipurpose hair-care staple—which is chock-full of botanicals like avocado and coconut oils, guava, and safflower—also protects strands from the chlorine in the pool and the salt in the ocean. Its tropical guava scent is a bonus.

Don’t forget about your scalp

“In addition to protecting the hair from the sun, you need to be concerned about your scalp" says Aguirre. It’s worth noting that wearing a hat ultimately offers the best protection. However, you don’t want to forget about good ol’ SPF, either. Capalbo recommends the Supergoop! Poof Mineral Part Powder, which she says is, “the perfect product for people who don't like to mess up their blowout or pony.” Simply apply the powder directly to the scalp for instant sun exposure protection and you’re good to go.

Skip wash day

“Washing your hair more frequently can strip away natural oils from the hair, which, as a result, can cause dryness to the scalp and hair,” says Justin. This—combined with the fact that sun exposure can dry out the hair—is reason enough to avoid washing your hair every day in the summer months. What’s more, to help stretch out the time between wash days, consider snagging some frizz-fighting staples like the Olaplex No.6 styling cream and the Virtue Frizz Block Humidity Proof Smoothing Spray, both of which are Justin–approved. Justin also recommends the Virtue 6-In-1 Styler for its weightless, non-greasy texture and the Oribe Mystify Restyling Spray to revitalize your curls without applying water. 

Additionally, it goes without saying that a good dry shampoo is another must-have for summer travel since it helps extend the time between hair washes. Leake likes the L’Oreal Dream Lengths Air Volume Dry Shampoo, which offers a lightweight formula that adds volume to your ‘do. When it does come time to (eventually) wash your hair, look no further than the Ceremonia Guava Shampoo and Conditioner set, which Rivera says is her, “go-to for keeping my hair protected from summer stressors.” According to Rivera, the combination of guava and aloe vera not only repairs the hair, but protects it from further damage.