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It's the rare girl who doesn't spend a good chunk of her summer struggling with her hair -- what with the effects of heat, humidity, and sun trauma. But maintaining a chic style is easy even on 90-degree days. "A few quick precautions can prevent bad-hair-day drama and reverse damage," says Antonio Prieto, stylist and owner of the Antonio Prieto Salon in New York City. And in a pinch, there's always the ponytail.
Keep your hue true. Stop premature fading with a shampoo and conditioner that smoothes the cuticle to lock in color (try TRESemme Color Thrive Shampoo and Conditioner, $3.99, at drugstores). Protect blond hair from bleaching out and browns and reds from turning brassy with a light spray or leave-in cream that contains a UV filter (try Neutrogena Triple Moisture Smooth Shine Anti-Frizz Cream, $6.99, at drugstores). "The sun's heat causes color to leak out of strands," explains Jennifer J., a Matrix colorist and owner of Juan Juan Salon in Beverly Hills.
Work with humidity. Is your hair doubling in size right before your eyes? Avoid super-straight styles and work with the elements instead. "Heat and moisture can make hair curl," explains Stephen Knoll, stylist and owner of the Stephen Knoll Salon in New York City. To get defined waves, coat damp hair with a conditioning cream, then finger-twist and blow dry with a diffuser. "Less airflow prevents overdrying of frizz-prone ends," explains Prieto. Smooth flyaways instantly with a no-mess wax stick like Charles Worthington Smart Fixx Quick Flick Wax Stick, $6.99, at Walgreens.
Keep strands soft. Combat split ends and fried strands by infusing extra moisture. Saturate wet hair with an in-shower conditioning treatment that contains shea butter or protein, such as Biolage Sunsorials Sun Repair Treatment, $13.95 (biolage.com). Increase the water temperature of the shower for a few minutes to create steam. "Heat opens up the cuticle and allows the treatment to penetrate," explains Marie Robinson, colorist for TRESemme. Rinse with cool water to seal in nutrients and smooth the cuticle for extra shine.
Revive limp locks. Get beach-tousled volume by spritzing a texture spray throughout tresses, then flip your head over, shake out hair, and use your blow dryer to apply heat to the roots at the nape of your neck for lasting lift, says Chaz Dean, stylist and owner of the Chaz Dean Studio in Hollywood (try Garnier Fructis Style Surf Hair Texturizing Spray, $3.99, at drugstores). If your hair is lifeless, shampoo only every other day -- or less -- to avoid stripping natural moisture. "Dry strands lose flexibility and can fall flat," explains Dean.
Decrease grease. Wash your hair every day with a shampoo that contains oil-absorbing botanicals like green-tea extract and soothing ingredients like zinc pyrithione, a mineral that heals irritation, says stylist Jason Hayes. Normalizing the scalp's pH balance can decrease sebum production, which means your roots won't get greasy as quickly. Try Head & Shoulders HydraZinc Citrus Breeze Shampoo, $4.99, at drugstores.30-Second Solutions
1. Refresh your style. For hair that's smooth and bouncy, wrap large sections around medium-size Velcro rollers, blast with hair dryer for 30 seconds, let cool, then remove rollers and rake fingers through hair.
2. Fake a trim. Flip your head over and spritz a shine spray directly on ends to temporarily smooth splits and give the illusion of a fresh cut.
3. Protect your color. Apply a spray with UV filters to dry hair and comb through to create a barrier against chlorine, salt, and the sun's rays.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, June 2006.