As anyone with curly Afro hair will attest, the threat of shrinkage is real during the summer months. That's when bouncy, buoyant curls become flat, limp and halve in size thanks to the hot humidity. Not a good look. So to help ease our heat wave struggles, we’ve asked for tips from some of Instagram's most popular curly-haired girls.
Ginny Pettitt, founder of Frogirlginny.com, London
Summer tip: My fro definitely needs more care in the summer months and this summer particularly, I’ve had to upgrade my routine as I travelled around New York and Los Angeles last month, meeting other curly haired girls for my blog. So my tip is to wrap my hair in a pineapple shape, that way it loses less moisture against my pillow. Using an African headwrap, I pull my hair down in front of my face, then tie it up with the new hair bands from Mixed Chicks which are shaped like a phone cord; I find them less damaging as they don’t pull on my hair. If I wrap my hair well, then the next morning I can just style and go. Also the biggest tip I can offer is simple but effective: drink more water. It definitely helps my curls look good.
Must-use products: In London, I’ll use TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner. A good detangler is also a very important part of my hair routine, I like the Tangle Teezer. Kinky-Curly Knot Today is another great leave-in conditioner for when my hair is very dehydrated. Since I have blonde highlights in my hair (which can exacerbate the dryness) after my wash and dry routine, I will also seal my hair with Monoi oil for added hydration. And if you travel Stateside then stock up on DevaCurl, a great conditioner available there.
Celia Smith, founder and creative director of Needle+Thraed, New York and Kenya
Summer tip: My warm weather hair routine definitely starts with what I eat and drink. I eat tons of fruit, vegetables and fish. I also drink a lot of water. I find that a healthy lifestyle yields healthy hair.
I recently cut my hair into a ‘cob’ (curly bob) and it means I spend way less time in the shower combing out my curls now. The style is a bit more sleek and controlled. Also the blunt cut keeps the hair off of my neck; it’s perfect for summer. When the heat and humidity of NYC and Kenya gets to be too much, my style is also still long enough for me to put it up in a high curly ponytail or a topknot, it’s an ideal length.
Must-use products: When it comes to caring for my hair I’m not a product junkie. I've tested a lot of products and now stick to what works for me. I swear by WEN cleansing conditioner. I use it for everything, cleansing, deep conditioning and I leave it in; it just works really well for me. When I am actually styling my hair I'll cleanse with WEN, create a centre part and add HairRules Wavy Mousse throughout, then a drop of HairRules Blow It All Out hair mist for heat protection. I apply all of these products in the shower while my hair is saturated with water. Then, out of the shower I diffuse it dry with my FHI blow dryer and diffuser attachment. The key for me is to allow the curls to dry undisturbed, otherwise they frizz up. Once my hair dries, I flip and shake it out.
Kai Avent-deLeon, owner of the fashion concept store Sincerely Tommy, New York
My hair either shrinks up in the summer if it's in its natural state or frizzes up when straight. So when I want to get my hair out of my face I will opt for a pin up do or a messy bun. New York summers can definitely get hot and humid so when I want more intense moisturise I will twist my hair in small two strand twists and leave them in for a week or so, to help lock in the oil. I love how versatile my hair is. I can do pretty much anything to it- leave it curly, braid it, twist it, etc. There are so many options.
I always use organic or alcohol-free products, and mostly olive oil or coconut oil to moisturise, which I can pick up at the grocery store or in the beauty aisle. I have also been using Giovanni Leave In Conditioner and their Deeper Moisture Conditioner for over 10 years as well as Oyin Whipped Pudding- a rich cream made of shea butter, cocoa butter and castor oil. They're all vegan and Oyin products are all handmade, she used to be based in Brooklyn, I first discovered the brand at a local boutique.
Sade Akinsanya, founder of the blog InMySundayBest.com
Summer tip: I love having colour in my hair but unfortunately it means that during warmer months, it never feels quite moisturised enough. To combat the dryness, I’ve been trying to religiously moisturise and braid my ends before I hop into bed at night.
Every weekend I co-wash [wash hair with conditioner], deep condition, then style my hair into a wet braid, before wrapping it in a headscarf until the next morning.
Also my No.1 fail-safe protective hairstyle for the summer months is my twist-n-bun. I part my hair off-centre and two-strand twist the sections close to the scalp and continue towards the back of my head (a bit like two tight French braids), then I pull my hair into a doughnut shaped bun and voila! I do this almost everyday for work, even when my hair is at its most tangled.
When I’m feeling adventurous I turn to YouTube for summer hair inspo. I love watching Kimmaytube, Naptural85, Natural Metra, Mo Knows Hair, My Natural Sistas, Mini Marley and Fusion of Cultures. Their tutorials are so inspiring, I would definitely recommend them.
Must-use products: My Denman Brush, a good banana clip, and my beloved Shea butter, which leaves my hair buttery soft whatever the weather.
Words: Carlene Thomas-Bailey