Caring for your hair throughout the year is a bit like trying to bag a pair of designer heels come sale time: the same strategy won’t always work.
Dry, hot days mean you may want to go easy on blow-drys during summer months to retain moisture, for example.
But heading outdoors without drying your hair fully in winter (either naturally or with a hairdryer) will cause it to freeze and snap.
“As it is with your skin, every season presents a different challenge for your hair,” says Latenda Kalimba, of Latenda Hair Salon.
“It’s important to switch up your routine because the change in temperature (think air conditioning and central heating) can often cause chaos to hair,” adds Craig Taylor, creative director at Hari’s Hair.
Here, Latenda, Craig and some of Britain’s other leading hair visionaries share their seasonal advice for nourishment and glow.
Spring to summer
Book in for a trim
“Trim dry ends from the winter months and keep hair up during rainy days,” says Frankie Moody, senior hair stylist at Jo Hansford salon.
“Coming into a new season calls for a re-fresh,” says Craig. “Ensure you keep hair looking in peak condition with regular, seasonal trims to help keep split ends in check and helps add movement to the hair, making it easier to style and manage.”
“The tips of your hair take a lot of beating during the summer,” says Tiff J., owner of 3Thirty hair salon in Shoreditch. “This is when you see split ends and dry tips, and this is neither healthy for your hair, nor do they look good. Summer is the ideal time to give yourself a new haircut, but if you don’t want to shorten your hair, opt for a small trim or the dusting technique that will take care of the ends and bring back life to your hair.”
Ward against frizz
“A fine mist of rain can make your hair become full of fly-away hairs and leave it frizzy, which results in using more heated appliances to control it,” says Natalie Allen, founder of Harvey Luke Hair. “Priming your hair with a leave-in oil can give internal moisture whilst finishing with an anti-humidity product will reduce the effects the unpredictable weather has on your hair.”
“I recommend anti-frizz serums,” says Nigit. “Apply to damp hair before you blow-dry to help seal and smooth the cuticle. Always apply conditioner and serums from mid-length to the ends of hair.”
Practise protective styling
“In the summer months, more intense UV rays, chlorine, styling and colour combine to strip locks of moisture; aggravating breakage and leaving hair parched and brittle,” says Kerry Larcher, owner and art director at The Vanilla Room salons. “Summer is the time to dial down the blow dry and heat styling. There's plenty of clever ways to cheat a chic finish. Allow hair to dry naturally, then finish locks only where it is needed most.
“Take a round brush to the fringe or crown to add volume and shape, then you're done. Another trick is to coat the hair with intensive conditioner, before winding into plaits and braids, intensifying moisture time and creating a look that is totally on-trend.”
“During the summer months, your hair is much more susceptible to UV/UB damage,” says Latenda. “I advise covering up your hair using a scarf or hat. You could also increase your efforts to protectively style your hair by doing a messy braid or chignon to minimize exposure to the sun.”
“Why not opt for a protective style such as twists, braids, Bantu knots or an updo,” says Tiff. “A protective style will prevent shrinkage and keep your precious tresses out of direct sunlight.”
Tie your hair up with care
“A tip I give clients in summer months is how to tie hair up properly in heat,” says Skyler McDonald, creative director for Skyler London. “Many clients with long hair usually tie their hair up on very hot days. I always get a client to show me exactly how they are tying their hair up as this can cause a lot more damage than you think, especially if you have already have sensitive, fine or weak hair.
“Heat and tension will always cause breakage, the heat exacerbates this. Many people tie their hair tightly, creating breakage on their hairline and throughout the hairs on the crown of the head. I advise clients to think about wearing a braid when possible and tying hair up with softer bands to reduce unnecessary tension to the hair.”
Pay attention to how you treat your hair
“Those with Afro-Caribbean hair should concentrate more on co-washing and the use of heavy oils like Shea Butter,” says Latenda.
“European hair textures should avoid too many colouring jobs and wash hair less frequently. The use of homemade dry shampoos using corn starch or sea salt helps in keeping the hair less greasy and eliminates the need for a daily wash.”
“Many products aimed at Afro hair are barrier creams that work by locking moisture into the shaft, but during the summer this eventually evaporates and quite often they can also prevent moisture from the air getting to your hair,” says Tiff. “As a result, the hair gets dry and begins to feel hard, leaving it weak and prone to breakage. By using natural emollients and ingredients such as shea butter, your scalp can breathe, stay hydrated for longer, and thus less breakage occurs.”
“Boost your hair's moisture intake by avoiding harsh shampoos and apply a leave-in conditioner during the night and then braid the hair in medium sized plaits,” says Nosa Lyobhebhe, senior stylist at Darren Scott Salon in Maida Vale. “In the morning, unravel the braids for a beach waved effect. Buy a plastic spray bottle and mix water and leave in conditioner in it and mist throughout the day sparingly whenever needed.”
Wet your locks with fresh water before swimming
“When you plan to go swimming in the pool or ocean, wet your hair first so that your hair is saturated with fresh water,” says celebrity stylist Rita Hazan, who looks after clients such as Beyoncé and Madonna. “This way, the chlorine or salt will not penetrate as much and, in turn, will lead to less harm. The less heat you use in the summer, the better. Try hairstyles like braiding and top knots for an effortless summer vibe.”
“If you swim whilst on holiday, rinsing your hair after every dip in the pool or ocean is crucial,” says Tiff. “Even if you don't regularly have fun in a chlorinated pool or ocean, if you're out and about more and perspiring, as a result, washing salty sweat out of your tresses helps to keep them healthy and flourishing. Focus on cleansing your scalp when co-washing so that you don't manipulate your hair too much.”
“It's also a good idea to try to rinse your hair after a swim. If there isn't a shower nearby, keep a spray bottle filled with fresh water,” says Nosa.
Protect your tresses from the sun
“The summer seasonal elements can wreak havoc on the hair and scalp,” says Craig.
“Hair acts as a barrier to the sun and protects the scalp. Try to not have your parting exposed when out and about in the sun but if this isn't possible, apply SPF to the scalp parting line using a Q-tip. This allows the scalp to be protected, but won't cause the hair to look greasy at the roots."
“Protect the health of your hair and prolong the vibrancy of your colour by investing in hair products which contain SPF,” says Nosa. “If you'll be spending lots of time outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat. Not only will it keep your strands from getting scorched, it will also protect your scalp and ears, areas that are vulnerable to skin cancer.”
Autumn to winter
Change up your parting
“As the weather gets cooler at the start of autumn, humidity decreases which may cause your hair to look flat and lifeless,” says Craig. “For some extra volume, try changing up your parting. Most people have a favourite place to part their hair which is usually where it falls naturally.
“The problem with this, is that it’s also where your hair lies the flattest and by keeping the same parting day in day out, you're training it to stay that way. Try flipping your parting to the opposite side, to create instant volume at the crown.”
“Autumn is the season to begin toning down your hair by adding subtle warmer or deeper tones,” says Natalie.
“Ask your stylist to boost your colour with an in-salon treatment that can create new bonds deep within the cortex of your hair. This will enhance the elasticity and condition of your hair that may have been affected during the spring and summer months. Using a colour-lock shampoo and conditioner will allow the new tones to remain in your hair for longer.”
“Go one to two shades darker with your colour,” agrees Rita. “Use a gloss or colour to add some depth into it, since it probably got much lighter in the summer with the sun. Once the sun is gone and your skin tone is getting back to a paler tone, it’s time to richen your colour.”
Limit the temperature of your hair wash
“Limiting the amount you wash your hair and your use of heat appliances such as dryers, curling wands and straighteners is strongly advised,” says Natalie. “Reduce the temperature of the water you wash your hair in, as the fluctuating temperate from the cold outside to any form of heat can cause serious damage.”
Use a light hairspray
“During the winter months, central heating can cause your hair to become static and flyaway, making it difficult to style,” says Craig. “I recommend using a fine hairspray to calm any static and to reduce flyaway hairs. The light film of hairspray also acts as a barrier, protecting hair from the elements and the surrounding temperature changes. Try spraying a light hairspray onto your brush before you run it through your hair."
Keep your hair hydrated
“Winter is all about gloss,” says Kerry. “The key is to push as much moisture into the hair as possible. The warmth of a steamy bathroom is the perfect place for this. Run a long hot bath and allow a moisturising masque to soak for up to half an hour. Rinse and then gently towel dry before layering oil through mid lengths and ends.”
“In the winter months your hair will become really dehydrated, so drink plenty of water as this will keep your hair hydrated,” says Nigit. “During this time of year it's important to blow dry your hair or let it dry naturally - hair takes longer to dry in the winter months, so make sure you don't leave the house with wet hair as it will ‘freeze’ and ‘snap.’”
Be careful of hats
“Wearing hats can give you static in your hair,” says Rita. “Spray an anti-static spray on your hair or hat before you wear it. Using an ionic blow dryer can also reduce static as well.
“Make sure you use good shampoo and conditioner to cleanse your scalp from the dry heat. Wearing hats outdoors in the cold can cause your scalp to be dry and flaky, even if you don’t colour your hair.”