6 Natural Ways to Protect Hair All Summer Long

Summer can wreak havoc on healthy hair strands. Extreme heat, the sun’s UV rays, salt water, and chlorine can all rob hair of essential moisture. This can make it more prone to breakage and trigger frizzy fly-aways. That’s why we put together these sustainable, plant-based strategies to keep hair healthy, shiny, and manageable all summer long.

1. Protect hair from the sun. You think about protecting skin from the sun, but hair needs to be protected too. That’s because prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can damage the cuticle, the outermost part of the hair shaft. (It’s the cuticle that protects the hair from damage and, when healthy and hydrated, gives hair its shiny, silky appearance.)

The sun-damaged result: dry, frizzy, brittle hair that feels like straw. Too much exposure to the sun can also lighten hair color.

To keep your locks protected: With fingers, run a dollop of natural Pharmacopia conditioner like our Verbena Conditioner through damp locks and leave in before heading out in the sun.

One of the plant-based ingredients in our conditioners is shea butter, which has a natural SPF of 3 or 4.

Pure coconut oil can also help. It’s been shown to help absorb UV radiation as a natural sunblock. Just warm up a small quarter-size amount of coconut oil (use less if hair is shorter) in between your palms and spread through strands.

2. Cover up with a hat. This is a simple way to protect hair when out in the sun for long periods of time. Fabrics offer natural sun protection. Densely woven fabrics offer more sun protection than mesh fabrics, and unbleached cotton contains natural lignans (protective plant compounds) that act as natural UV absorbers.

Looking for some good hat options? We love hats made from natural and/or recycled or upcycled materials.

3. Suds up sparingly. It may be tempting to jump in the shower and suds up after a trip to the beach (even if you washed your hair in the a.m.), but too much washing can rob locks of essential moisture leaving them dry, frizzy, and flyaway.

A better option: wash hair before heading out with the gentle plant-based suds of Pharmacopia shampoos (invigorating Citrus is a summer favorite). Then use our hydrating Pharmacopia conditioners as a leave-in treatment before you head to the beach. All our Pharmacopia products are made with 100% post-consumer recycled bottles and biodegradable formulas.

Simply towel dry strands and apply one to three pumps of conditioner (depending on your length) onto hair. Then just rinse hair after getting back from the beach or pool, being sure to massage in your favorite Pharmacopia conditioner before giving a final rinse. Using cool water as a final rinse will help seal the cuticle, making locks look glossier.

4. Apply products with plant-based oils. There are so many benefits to harnessing the power of Mother Nature, as we at Pharmacopia know so well! That’s why plant-based oils are found in all our shampoos and conditioners. These oils, below, help nourish hair strands at any time of the year, including during the summer months.

Argan oil, found in our Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, is high in fatty acids like oleic acid and linoleic acid. These help to hydrate and strengthen strands, leaving hair smooth, glossy, and shiny no matter what the season.

Coconut oil is rich in a fatty acid called lauric acid. It’s quickly absorbed into the hair shaft without feeling greasy. And it helps nourish the hair, helping to prevent protein loss from hair strands.

Jojoba oil resembles the natural oils produced by the scalp, helping it to be absorbed easily—without a greasy feeling. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamins B and E that help to nourish hair.

Looking to keep lips hydrated and protected in the summer too? Try our Tangerine Lip Elixir with nourishing olive oil, hemp seed oil, and vitamin E.

5. Brush gently. Brushing—when done right—can increase hair circulation and help distribute hair’s natural nourishing oils. Too much tugging and pulling with a brush, though, can break strands, causing split ends. This is particularly true when hair is wet as wet hair is more prone to damage. (The only exception is for curly hair; brushing when wet helps maintain the curl’s shape.)

A better option: apply a quarter-size amount of our Pharmacopia conditioner to hair strands, as a leave-in conditioner, before brushing to help protect against pulling and tugging. With natural and organic plant ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, aloe, and olive leaf extracts, our conditioners help smooth and protect hair strands.

The right brush can help too. A paddle brush or comb with wide teeth can help it run through strands without snagging. We prefer wooden paddle brushes and combs made from sustainable bamboo bristles. Plastic brushes are not only not good for the environment, they may also increase the static when brushing hair.

6. Opt for an air dry. The heat from blow dryers and flat irons can cause moisture loss from the hair and damage to the cuticle. When your hair strands are already exposed to drying effects from the sun, surf, and chlorine, this can trigger even more damage. That’s why, during the summer months, it’s always best to air dry locks when you can.

No matter what elements you come into contact with this summer, there are natural and sustainable solutions to help prevent damage. Our better-for-you Pharmacopia hair products can keep your locks healthy, shiny, and manageable all summer long.