Stylelist May 19th, 2011

Maxine Salon creative director Amy Abramite featured in Behind the Chair May 13, 2011Stylelist

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Summer Hair Care Dos and Don'ts

by Grace Gold 


Like a three year-old made to sit through church service without a nap, my hair throws a fist-flying tantrum come the heat and humidity of summertime.


Defiant, willful and with a mind entirely of its own, my hair will do as it damn well pleases. And just about every woman out there with hair on her head knows how this tune goes, having likely fought that kicking and screaming child inside of her own mane on one of hot summer days.

Fortunately, New York's Mark Garrison, owner of the Mark Garrison Salon, and Chicago's Amy Abramite, creative and educational director of Maxine Salon, have some clever dos and don'ts that will have us all sporting our best summer locks ever.

So ready to finally call a time-out with your hair? Read on for tips on how to make the truce.

Do go sulfate-free. People tend to wash their hair more during the hot summer months, but the heavy detergents in most shampoos can dry out strands, a problem that is then exacerbated by the frying effects of a hot sun. Using a sulfate-free shampoo is a gentler option, or you can try this recipe with products you already have at home. "My DIY cocktail is to combine three parts conditioner to one part normal shampoo. The added conditioners will diminish the power of the shampoo, which is likened to what a sulfate-free shampoo does. This is especially great for dry, colored and frizzy hair, but may be too heavy for fine and thin hair," says Garrison.

Don't color your hair before a beach vacation. Dropping big bucks at the salon or spending valuable time at home touching up color is a waste of your resources, as UV rays will likely change your color, warns Abramite. The dryness caused by something like a fresh highlighting job may also be intensified by the harsh rays of the sun. So clip it up and just enjoy yourself -- the glow you'll have from relaxing on vacation sure beats out a new color job, anyway!

Do rock the ombre trend if you want color. "Ombre hair color is still all the rage, and will continue to trend into summer," says Garrison of the gradual dark-that-fades-to-light color technique. "Girls with color-treated hair can easily wear baseball caps in the summer to protect their roots, while pulling their pony through the back of the hat, letting the sun hit the ends of the hair, and oxidizing the color. You'll have ombre in no time!" adds Garrison.

Do carry dry shampoo. It happens to the best of us -- you get caught in an elevator, bus or store with no air conditioning, and suddenly your hair is flat and greasy with perspiration. Gross! "If you're on the go, refresh and cleanse your style with dry shampoo," advises Abramite. Aim the can about a foot away from the scalp, and spray in 1-inch sections that go against the grain of hair growth. Allow to absorb for a couple of minutes, and then brush out any remaining powder. Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo is a new launch for the drugstore market, and Dry Texturizing Spray is a prestige option that doubles as a styling aid that adds body.

Don't cut bangs on curly hair. During the most humid summer months, it's a good idea to refrain from cutting bangs on curly and coarse hair types. "The 'boing' -- or shrink up factor -- is just too great!" warns Garrison. Instead, curly hair types should keep bangs longer during this time of year, to both look sleeker and save your sanity. When the heat hits, you can sweep longer bangs out of your way, and fasten with a pretty pin for a neat and polished look.

Do blow dry hair plagued by pouf. "Clients say they blow-dry their hair in the morning, and the second they step out the door, they can feel the frizz creeping back in. They say they can actually feel their hair growing larger with every passing minute!" shares Abramite. Oh yes, you bet we can relate to that. Abramite says the cause of the pouf monster is lingering moisture hiding out in the hair. A strong blast with a hair dryer will push frizz out and bring smoothness back. For hair tools that are truly small and light enough to carry along on the go, I've been loving Cricket's hair dryer and mini flat iron.

Do use hair conditioner as a styling product. Manes of thick waves and curls can retain definition without getting crunchy by using this recipe. "The ideal concoction is a mixture of gel and hair conditioner or mask," says Garrison. Swirl the blend into the palm of your hand, and then apply to wet hair and allow it to dry naturally. "The gel gives curls hold, while the mask retains flexibility," explains Garrison. You can finger curl strands around the face and top of your head for more definition as you apply the product.

Don't think head scarves are dowdy. If you have a wedding or other special occasion coming up that requires hair perfection, go Jackie O with a touch of sensible French chic to protect strands from the damaging effects of the sun. "I love hair pulled into a chignon and wrapped with a colorful scarf," says Garrison. The elegant combination will ensure that UV rays don't mess with the shade and finish of your hair, and you'll look stylish while keeping cool to boot.

Do learn how to style a polished pony. "Too often, I see ponytails that are thrown up hastily with no care. A ponytail worn to work should not look like the ponytail you wear to the gym," says Abramite. For a pony that means business, take the time to brush hair back smooth with a natural boar bristle brush to eliminate bumps. Secure at the point of the head where you want your pony to flow from using an elastic or bungee -- the latter of which is a popular fashion week hair tool -- and can be purchased according to your hair color at Rickys NYC or your local beauty supply shop. Control flyaways with a touch of pomade smoothed over with your palms. Optional: Add a headband to keep strands in place if frizz is an issue.

Do wash your hair at night. If you don't want to fight your strands all summer long and instead want to work with the beautiful texture nature gave you, the secret is to wash at night. Shampoo and condition before bed, and allow locks to air-dry overnight, so that you don't have to get sweaty while brandishing a blowdryer in the morning. Upon waking, use a sea mineral spray and scrunch hair to accentuate waves and bring out texture. Spritz a shine spray for a polished look, and you're good to go. If you want a gently styled look, you can run a flat iron or curling barrel on just the ends for smoothness.

If you're looking to save cash for weekend trips and margaritas on the rocks this summer, here's how to trim bucks from your hair care routine.