With that in mind, Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Neutrogena Hair partner, recommends making a few tweaks to your routine to protect the integrity of fragile strands. She explains that this time of year, it's all about "gentle hair care" that adds hydration, clears buildup, repairs damage, and defends against environmental stressors.
Below, find out her must-follow rules for giving thin hair precisely what it needs from now through Labor Day.
1. Avoid hot tools
"I recommend avoiding heat styling as much as possible," says Dr. Zubritsky. There is already heat in the air, which typically means hair dries faster and smoother, so you may not even need your blowdryer. If you have to use hot tools (we get it!), Dr. Zubritsky recommends using a hair mask one or two times a week. The extra-nourishing ingredients from the mask will help repair damage and add hydration to dry ends, she says. A few of her favorites:
2. Use UV protection on your scalp
Your scalp is just as sensitive to UV damage as any other area of your skin. Since you're likely spending more time outside during the spring and summer, you'll want to protect your scalp accordingly. "Neutrogena's Healthy Scalp Rapid Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner is a great option to switch in during these months when you're outside in the sun," Dr. Zubritsky says. The key ingredient in this shampoo and conditioner duo is pea protein, which she says "repair and help protect hair against UV damage."
3. Add a gentle scalp scrub to your routine
For those looking to stimulate hair growth, it's all about giving your follicles room to breathe and increasing blood circulation to the scalp. And during the months when sweat and pollution exposure are at an all-time high, regularly clearing buildup becomes extra important. "I recommend using a scalp scrub several times a week to remove dead skins cells, residue, and unclog pores," says Dr. Zubritsky. Not only will this clear out any grime and buildup, but "the actual acts of scrubbing and massaging the scalp can stimulate blood circulation and oxygen to the hair follicle, which can help stimulate hair growth," she adds.
4. Increase the frequency of your washes
Speaking of keeping your scalp clean and clear, it's important to adjust your hair washing routine to account for any extra sweat, grime, and chemicals in your hair during the summer. "If you are active, consider increasing the frequency of your hair washing to remove any oil, sebum, debris, and chlorine from your hair," Dr. Zubritsky says. Generally, pros recommend washing three times a week with "sulfate-free shampoos that contain moisturizing agents like aloe vera and hydrolyzed plant proteins," which will cleanse your scalp and strands without stripping them.
5. Turn the tap down
Especially in the warmer months, it's crucial that we don't expose our thin hair to any extra heat, because hot water can leave your scalp feeling itchy and dry, which pros say can prevent optimal hair growth. That's why Dr. Zubritsky recommends keeping the temperature of your shower "between 98-105 degrees Fahrenheit" (which will feel warm instead of hot). This temperature is ideal for washing and won't cause dryness, irritation, or damage to our hair and scalp.
For more tips on how to hack your styling routine to prevent damage, check out the video below.
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