Summer can be both a wonderful and challenging time for hair maintenance. For some, the humidity is a blessing, bringing much-wanted volume. Others prefer a sleeker look and wage a difficult battle against the weather. All hair types are vulnerable to damage from UV rays, heat, and pool chemicals, so it’s important to adjust your hair care regimen for the changing seasons. Here are a few tips on how to keep your locks soft, shiny, and healthy.

Hydrate Your Hair
Though this may seem superfluous in the humidity, it’s important to lock in your hair’s natural hydration. Try switching to shampoo and conditioner made specifically for hydration, and find a UV-resistant hair serum to apply shortly after showering.

Try Braids
It’s tempting to put your hair up in a high bun or ponytail all day long, simply to keep it out of your face. However, all that tension can damage your hair and scalp. As an alternative, try hair clips or loose braids. Pigtails (two braids on either side) are a youthful style which will also help keep you cool.

Cut Out Some Volume
One can only take so many showers in a day to stay cool. If you’re struggling with hot, thick hair, ask your hairdresser to cut some volume out of your hair, but retain the length. You’d be surprised at how much weight can be removed from your hair while still maintaining its basic shape! 

Wear a Swim Cap
This tip may or may not apply to you, depending on how you vacation. If you swim in chlorinated pools, it’s definitely a good idea to use a swim cap to protect your hair from chemical damage. If your pool is filled with salt water, or you swim in the ocean, skip the cap! Research indicates that salt is an effective natural shampoo, stripping your hair of excess oils, imbuing it with vitamins, and even helping to combat dandruff!

Avoid Coloring
Heavy chemical treatments can damage and dry out your hair, especially in the summer. Luckily, if you still want to add a little brightness, the sun is on your side. Try applying natural lightening methods like lemon juice and sun exposure – just remember to wear sunscreen!

Wear a Hat
Though there are some specialty hairsprays that contain SPF, the easiest thing you can do to keep your head safe from the rays of the sun is to wear a hat. Baseball caps are timeless, and safari-style bucket hats are also very cute and trendy these days. When your roots are happy, so is your hair!

Get a Dramatic Cut
There’s no time like summer to debut a new you! If the season is just too hot to stand, and you’ve been dying to try a shorter cut, seize the season and go for it. You can rock any look with the right styling, and if it’s not your favorite, there’s always next summer!