top of page
  • Writer's pictureJess D

Protecting Your Hair and Skin from the Summer Elements

Keep your hair and skin beautiful with these tips for protection during the summer months!

beach friends. summer sun healthy skin and hair

 After a long winter (especially in the northeast of the United States), it’s amazing to get outside and feel the sun on your skin. I love summer because I get to be half naked in a dress or a bathing suit, sitting by the pool or the beach, or out at some rooftop event where I can meet new people.


 Being outside in the sun does take a toll on your skin. If you’re constantly in the water, your hair and skin will suffer, too.


Because I want to look younger than my age until I’m 80 with flourishing and thick hair, I always protect my hair and skin as much as I can. If you’re also looking to retain your youth by taking precautions, here are some ways to protect your hair and skin from the summer elements.


Protecting Your Hair

afro texture hair. black woman nice smile and hair

I am a fanatic when it comes to protecting my hair. When most people think of protection, they think of protective styling and less hair manipulation. But you should also protect your hair from the sun and water. Here are some ways you can keep your hair protected:


How to Protect Your Hair from the Sun


1.        Use the Right Shampoo, Conditioner, and Hair Products

Everyone has their hair washing routines but it’s so important that you use quality products to shampoo and condition your hair.  You want to make sure that your hair products don’t strip your hair and that you aren’t using a product with a lot of oil, so your hair doesn’t fry in the sun.  Whatever products you like to use are what you use but here is a list of products I use to wash, condition, and style my hair:


Shampoo and Conditioner:




Hair Mask/Deep Conditioner:


Leave-In Conditioner:



Styling products:

-            Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil(only on my scalp and at the end of the day when the sun is going down)




2.        Wear a Hat When Possible

Hats are always in style in the summer, and you can always find something to match your vibe. But, when wearing a hat, you’re not only being trendy, you’re also covering your head from the elements. Some people aren’t hat people but if you know you will be outside for a long time, you need a hat.


3.        Use a Heat Protectant

A friend told me she uses a heat protectant when she goes out in the sun, and I thought she was crazy. But it makes sense. If you straighten or blow-dry your hair, you should put a heat protectant, so you don’t fry your hair. If you’re going out in 90+ weather and staying in the sun for a long time, spraying on a heat protectant makes sense. In addition, you can consider putting shea butter on your hair, as it does protect your hair from UV rays to an extent. It’s a new idea for many, but it’s a good one.   Here are some of my favorite heat protectants:


-            amika blockade heat defense serum




How to Protect Your Hair from the Water

floating in the water. afro hair curls river floating


1.        Wear a Swim Cap When Swimming

Wearing a swim cap is most people’s go-to when protecting your hair from the water.  The issue that most people have is that most swim caps don’t look flattering. It’s no problem if you’re swimming laps or doing water exercise, but no one wants to have a swim cap on to relax. There are brands like YGN that have these stylish swim turbans that really keep your hair dry. My YGN cap frequents vacation with me, and it does a great job of protecting my hair. Here are some caps to consider:







2.        Protect Your Hair Before Going into the Water

If you’re not a fan of wearing a cap while in the water, you can protect your hair before you get in. To protect your hair, especially from chlorine, wet your hair with fresh water first and then add oil or hair butter to lock in the fresh water.  The reason why you wet your hair with fresh water first is because your hair will absorb the fresh water and won’t absorb as much of the chlorinated, ocean, or lake water.


3.        Wash/Rinse Hair After Being in The Water

As soon as you know you’re done with being in the water, rinse your hair as soon as possible. Some people don’t like bathing outside of their home and that’s okay. But, if you want to keep your hair healthy, at least rinse your hair and throw in a leave-in conditioner. Some shampoos are meant to remove chlorine from your hair. Here are some that I’ve used and that have great reviews:



Bonus: You can also use your regular shampoo with a bit of baking soda to make your own clarifying shampoo that removes chlorine from your hair.



4.        Do Protective Styling

Protective styling isn’t just for the BJJ mats. They are great for protecting your hair from the water. Consider styles like braids, twists, and cornrows to help protect your hair from the water. But also, be sure to rinse your hair in the protective style and cleanse your hair as best as you can.



Protecting Your Skin

wet skin, tan skin, tendrills of hair

Since I want my skin to be youthful, I take extra care of my skin in the sun. A lot of the tips I have about protecting your skin came from living in Asia for a long time. I know that many of the practices come from the belief of being darker as being poor, but it does help to keep your skin healthier and youthful. These practices also protect you from hyperpigmentation and discoloration on the lighter side or developing skin cancer on the serious side.


How To Protect Your Skin from The Sun


1.        Wear Sunblock (Every 2 Hours)

I believe that this is the most important step in protecting your skin from the sun. I remember traveling and one of the people in my group asked me why I was putting sunblock on all the time and proceeded to ask me if I hated being dark. This question was crazy to me. This person believed that you put on sunblock once and be good for the day and if you’re black you don’t really need sunblock. I am here to tell you that you NEED to put on sunblock every 2 hours or so.  If you don’t feel like rubbing yourself down with a cream sunblock, then there are spray sunblocks that are great for getting it on quickly.  Here are a couple of my favorites:





Make sure sunscreen is at least SPF 30. In addition, make sure that your sunblock can go on your face and body. 


2.        Cover-Up (If You Can)

As a person who likes to be practically naked in the summer, this is a hard one for me. But this is a big one to protect your skin. I noticed that in many Asian countries like Vietnam and China, women wear light UV protection jackets or arm/hand covers to protect their skin when riding scooters.  If you’re at the pool or the beach, this option might not be viable. But if you’re walking around consider covering up.


3.        Use Parasols and Sun Umbrellas

Japanese woman in kimono with umbrella

An umbrella on a rainy day keeps you protected from the rain. A parasol on a sunny day keeps you protected from the sun. If you love being in the sun, this might seem silly. But if you must walk around, you’ll want one.  People walk around with umbrellas in Panama and many did while I lived in China. If you don’t want to carry a bulky umbrella, they have some mini ones you can fit in your purse or pocket right when you go out.


4.        Wear a Hat

This goes without saying but if you have a hat on, your face, the back of your neck, and your shoulders will be covered from the sun (style dependent).  As mentioned, when protecting your hair from the sun, many stylish hats can go with any outfit.




    How To Protect Your Skin from The Water

1.        Use a Great Moisturizer Before Swimming

If you swim in a pool or the ocean, the water tends to dry skin quickly. If you want to prevent your skin from drying out, prep it with a great moisturizer before. Consider using a heavier moisturizer like a body butter or thicker lotion. I use shea butter.  It helps keep my skin moisturized before and after I swim. There are other body butters that you can consider like the ones below:

-            NIVEA Cocoa Butter Body Cream 




2.        Bathe/Rinse as Soon as You Get Out of The Water

When you’re done with a day of water activities, go to a shower or a place you can rinse off. This will help your skin recover after the salt, chlorine, or lake water you’ve been swimming in. Also, it gets the smell off you fast.


3.        Use a Good Moisturizer After Swimming

After you’re done swimming, rinsing, and washing, putting a water-based moisturizer with an oil helps your skin stay moisturized. In addition to my normal shea butter, I love putting baby oil or argan oil on my skin. This combo helps nourish your skin and keeps you from being ashy.



Keep Being Beautiful by Protecting Your Skin and Hair from The Summer Elements

women, friends jumping into a lake

  When summer comes around, it’s nice to be out, soaking up the rays, and enjoying some water activities. But taking the extra precautions to keep your hair and skin protected will yield long-term benefits for your skin and hair health in the future.




Question: Are you an outdoor activity fan? What are your favorite ways to protect your skin and hair from the elements? Tell me in the comments or on my Instagram @blackgirlwhitegi_bjj.



bottom of page