3 Lessons Learned: Summer Hair Mishaps

Published in: Beauty Tips, Hair

Yesterday I came to the shockingly wonderful realization that the official start of summer is less than one week away, and judging by the rising temps and lack of rain in the 10-day forecast, it looks like the weather has finally gotten with the program.


Ah, summer… Such great memories, but when I think back to the summers of my youth, I’m surprised I remember them at all. There were no far-flung adventures backpacking through Europe or sailing trips around the world. Nope, my childhood summers were much more mundane. I spent most of them hanging out at the local Thrifty drugstore, where you could get a free ice cream for returning a shopping cart to the store, and watching videos on MTV (back when MTV actually played videos). For the most part, I spent my summers doing absolutely nothing.

Gawd, I miss those days!

Despite doing very little over those summers, I still managed to learn a few things, like these important lessons about hair…

1. Don’t make rash, heat-induced decisions

Resist the urgeIf the heat is getting to you and the sweat is trickling down from your scalp into your eyes, you might feel like your only relief is to cut off all or most of your hair, but resist the urge.

You don’t want to regret it later. Start by putting your hair up into a bun or ponytail, and give yourself a couple weeks to think it over.

One summer heatwave I showed up at my BFF Jen’s house to find her previously waist-length hair suddenly sitting at her shoulders. In an overheated state, she had cut her long locks herself, and it ended up looking like it had been cut by a three-year old wearing a blindfold.

We laugh about it now, but she felt pretty crappy at the time.

The lesson? No matter how hot it gets, step away from the scissors! Take time to think it over first.

2. Pat sunscreen in your part

sunscreenIf you plan to be out in the sun but don’t have a hat to cover your head, dab a bit of sunscreen at the roots where your hair parts.

On a camping trip when I was 17, I got an awful sunburn right smack dab down the middle of the part in my hair. It was miserable. It hurt so much I thought I’d lose my hair. Oh, and later it peeled, which was like the icing on the cake.


3. Ditch your blowdryer (at least for a little while)

hairdryerLike heat styling with blowdryers and flat irons, sun, chlorine and saltwater also exact their revenge on hair.

I would blow dry my hair straight daily when I was in my 20s, and then one summer I joined a gym with a pool and started swimming to get in shape. The chlorine coupled with the regular blow drying pretty much fried my locks beyond repair. By August, I had a head of dry, brittle straw that looked and felt like haaay.

This summer, consider putting your blowdryer away (at least for a little while), or ditching it completely if you can. Your lovely hair will thank you. πŸ™‚

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Hafsa says:

    ooh i didnt know about the sunscreen in your hair trick, that is good to know! I also try to keep my hair au natural during the hot months. Not only are waves “in style” right now but its good to let your hair breathe sometimes too!
    Hafsa recently posted … Baby Pink

    • Karen says:

      Good for you! I bet keeping your waves au natural takes less time to style too.

      • Hafsa says:

        It def does! My sister, a curly haired girl, actually introduced me to a product line called Deva Curl, have you heard of it? Its a line made for curly/wavy girls, and the shampoo is cool because it doesn’t lather! which means your curls stay curly, and that combined with their styling gel gives me the best curls/waves ive ever had in my life, no joke.

        Whether I let it air dry or use a low heat, quick diffuser, its pristine, beautiful curls. So happy with it, and def helps in hot weather for a quick look and upkeep!
        Hafsa recently posted … Baby Pink

        • steph b says:

          I love the Deva An-gel in my wavy hair. Doesn’t get crunchy and keeps frizz down.

        • Karen says:

          Yes! I use the the Deva No Poo Cleanser and love it (which reminds me, I need to review it, stat!).

          Which shampoos/conditioners/stylers are you using from the line?

          • Hafsa says:

            I use both the No Poo and the Low Poo. I was finding that the No Poo wasn’t cleaning my hair as thoroughly as I would have liked it to, and I had read else where that its good to use every other day.

            But I use both, first the Low Poo, rinsed out, then No Poo, almost like a conditioning treatment. That and their One Condition conditioner. Sounds like a lot, but honestly using both makes my hair tamer.

            And then I style with An-gel, its a lightweight gel, a little goes a long way. The perfect amount to hair dampness is crucial, but once you figure it out, the results are beautiful!

            Can’t wait to see your review!
            Hafsa recently posted … Baby Pink

          • Karen says:

            I just finished a bottle of No Poo a few weeks ago. I need to restock! An-gel is great too.

            Have you ever had your hair cut at a Deva salon? I used to go years ago. It was great, but I eventually stopped because it was a pain to get to the salon (it’s in SF).

    • Mary says:

      I also didn’t even think about using sunscreen on my hair part. But it totally makes sense since your scalp can still get a sunburn.
      Mary recently posted … Nail Art Tutorial- Archie Comic Nails

  2. Brooke says:

    The sunscreen is a great idea! My “head crack” always burns and eventually ends up peeling and looks like I have a crazy case of dandruff! Pretty embarrassing!

  3. lia says:

    hahaha, I always go for the scissors (not myself! I let my hairdesser do all the work :p) in summer. Can’t stand having thick, wavy shoulder length hair in this heat- drives me nuts, lol. I always go for a bob, though I’m thinking about the pixie cut this year!

    • Karen says:

      Do it so I can vicariously live through you, LOL! I’ve always wanted to do a pixie cut but don’t feel like I could get away with it.

      • Amanda says:

        Me too! My friend just got a pixie cut, but she has a completely different body type/head shape than I do. I’m so jealous.

  4. Amanda says:

    I usually let my hairdresser chop all my thick curly hair off each summer but not this year. I’m trying to stay strong and resist the scissors. I really dislike having my thick hair against my neck when it’s super hot. Hopefully my hair can make it thru the summer still intact. Wish me luck!
    Amanda recently posted … Chipotle Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

  5. Nina says:

    ive given up the flat iron for a few months now …. and im working on giving up the blow dryer too. im just waiting for my hair to get a little bit longer. πŸ™‚

  6. gio says:

    I never use a blowdryer in the summer. My hair looks and feels better when I let my hair air dry anyway. And putting sunscreen where your hair parts is a great idea!
    gio recently posted … Product Review- Ecotools Bamboo 6 Piece Brush Set

  7. Kelly says:

    I try and try and try to not touch the blow dryer and flat iron in the summer (especially because my blazing hot bathroom has no window) but my hair is the type that has to be blown out or it’s frizzy and horrible. Plus having this straight bob cut doesn’t help!

    Great idea about using a spray SPF on the part!
    Kelly recently posted … Anastasia Beauty Express for Brows and Eyes- Swatches- Photos &amp Review

    • Karen says:

      Do you have a good dry shampoo? That might help you extend the life of your blow outs so you don’t have to hit it with the heat as much.

  8. Trude says:

    You couldn’t have posted this at a better time – I’m so close to chopping my bob super-duper short again! I’ll check myself for a few days instead of just showing up at the salon. πŸ™‚

  9. steph b says:

    I wish I could air dry my curly-wavy hair most days. It just takes too long to dry and I don’t like to go into work with wet hair. But I am a big believer in sunblock on the part. Only takes one big part burn to learn that painful lesson.

  10. Nina says:

    Oh my God, I was just trying to do what you suggested, lol. I decided to have my hair cut but instead of an impulse visit to my hair dresser I tried to stop and think about it and I guess it’s working. If I had gone to the hair dresser I would be supporting a pixie crop right now, which is definitely not for my hair (thick, wavy, frizzy, untamable hair type, hello) and now I guess I want a shoulder lenght cut. Well, we’ll see in two weeks, I think.

    • Karen says:

      Pixie crops are cute, but a HUGE pain to grow out. I had a friend who did it and the grow out process was INTENSE. I think it’s a good idea to wait a couple of weeks. πŸ™‚

  11. Sami says:

    I hate not straightening my hair. And the humidity is making my hair so frizzy, I’m ready to go get a keratin treatment! Any other ideas?

  12. Lilly says:

    Karen, can you suggest treatment for damaged hair, or when you swim daily ? Many thanks

  13. It is OKIE to blow dry your hair every day rite?
    Bun Bun Makeup Tips recently posted … Stage Cosmetics Photo Pro Foundation Review Foundation For Glowing Skin

  14. Natalia says:

    I have one concern. How do you manage to make you hair look good without using a blowdryer? Dried naturally, my hair have no volume, my natural curls look good on one side and are a total mess on the other. Not big deal on days off but looks unprofessional during work hours.

  15. Stephanie R says:

    I usually just put my hair in a clip for bed after a shower. Other than that, it pretty much is left to air dry. I loved the comment my stylist made last time I got a haircut…”Your hair is so healthy. You have no split ends and no damage!” (I rarely ever blow dry or straighten my hair.)

    And this was after my last haircut was August 2010. My haircut was May 2011.

  16. ann says:

    A little trick I like to use during the summer is to put some oil in my hair before swimming. I use either almond or Argan oil (make sure it’s 100%!). After my swim, my hair is soft and not dry at all! It’s also not oily. Perfect! πŸ™‚

  17. Gauri says:

    I agree. I hate how those blow dryers fry your hair after using them in summer. This post is really helpful. Thanks!!!
    Gauri recently posted … 7 Job Interview Beauty Dos &amp Donts

  18. Serena says:

    While I do agree that it’s best to skip the rash decisions, cutting hair (a little or a LOT) can be a huge relief πŸ™‚ (and a lot of fun)

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