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How 7 Editors with High-Maintenance Hair Make It Through Summer

The products and techniques they love for curl and color care.

beauty editors share summer haircare routines
Any woman with curly, wavy, or color-treated hair knows that the summer can wreak havoc on her ’do. Relentless sunshine plus humidity and tons of travel causes everything from frizz to breakage if you’re not careful. We’re always on the lookout for new tricks to maintain our preferred style, as well as product recommendations from editors who legitimately have every option at their disposal, so below, seven women in the industry on their tried-and-tested summer hair-care routines.


Maya Allen

Digital Beauty Editor, Marie Claire

“In the summer, I’d much rather be maximizing my time doing important things, like laying out on a beach drinking a frozen marg, than doing my hair. To ensure I live my best life when the sun is on my side, I take a literal hands-off approach and wear heat-protective styles like box braids and cornrows. I don’t touch my natural hair for four to six weeks at a time while it stays protected underneath braids.

“With box braids, I experiment with color (right now I’m a blonde!), and this style allows me to wear my hair in a variety of ways since the size of my braids are so small. The only maintenance this requires is laying down my baby hairs when they curl up. I use Hick’s Edges Pomade, a mini boar bristle brush, and a silk scarf for a smooth finish.”

Katie Becker

Beauty Director, Elle

“Luckily, I can use the weather to my advantage because I have curls! So I usually let the humidity keep the curls alive. However, to keep them from separating into fluff, I need moisture and soft hold. I always use a mask instead of conditioner (right now I’m using Oribe Moisture & Control Deep Treatment), and then I use Sachajuan Hair Mousse right out of the shower on towel-dried hair to stick the ringlet pattern together from the get-go. On top of that, I’ll layer R+Co Turntable Cream and Shu Uemura Fiber Lift Hair Gel mixed together for, again, some of that soft-hold goodness. Finally, once it’s air-dried, it’s time for Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray to lock it in.”

Faith Xue

Editorial Director, Byrdie

“Now that I’m platinum, I try to wash and style my hair as little as possible (breakage is a real thing—I’m still recovering from the time I shampooed and pulled out an entire fistful of hair...) During the summer months, I rely on restyling sprays to keep my hair looking (and smelling) fresh without needing to shampoo, condition, and blow-dry.

“I love Philip B.’s Conditioning Water because it smells like a jasmine garden; Playa’s New Day Mist and Tresemme Between Washes are great, too. Think of them as a face mist for your hair—just a few spritzes is enough for your hair to feel soft and smell nice again.

“To keep my hair color from yellowing, I use hair oil with UV filters in it. ColorWow’s Pop & Lock seals in shine; I also love the OG Bumble & bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil because it never weighs my hair down. In the shower, it’s all about Christophe Robin’s Baby Blonde Hair Mask. It makes my hair so soft and gets rid of any brassiness. If I know I’m going to wash my hair, I’ll load it up with my personalized Prose Hair Oil the day before and gather it into a low bun. My hair soaks up the oil throughout the day and feels so silky after I shampoo and condition.”

Harling Ross

Fashion Director & Brand Strategist, Man Repeller

“With naturally curly, big hair, my main strategy for summer is to simply leverage the greatest gift the weather consistently gives me: humidity! In that sense, I try to embrace the extra volume and frizz by using products that enhance instead of fighting it. I love a combo of IGK Hair Mistress Balm and Davines This Is a Curl-Building Serum on wet hair right out of the shower. After that, I let it air-dry.”

Khalea Underwood

Beauty Editor, The Zoe Report

“This summer my hair routine is pretty lax, as I’m opting for protective styling. I committed to doing a year of box braids and twists in January anyway, but even if I were wearing my natural hair, I’d probably still have braids May through June since they’re so easy.

“The only downside of wearing a protective style is an itchy scalp. Oftentimes the stylist has to section off your hair and pull it taut to add in the extensions. When the itching becomes unbearable, I use a little bit of this soothing scalp treatment from Head & Shoulders. It’s so effective (and cheap!) that I keep some at my desk and at home.”

Devon Abelman

Digital Beauty Reporter, Allure

“The nape of my neck is probably the sweatiest part of my body, so I wash my hair nearly every day during the summer. To make sure my curls don’t dry out, I make sure to reach for a moisturizing shampoo like Carol’s Daughter Coco Crème Sulfate-Free Shampoo.

“To maintain the definition of my ringlets when New York turns into a swamp, I double up on my usual products. During the colder months, I usually use either a mousse or gel. I start off by saturating my towel-dried hair with a huge dollop of the SGX NYC So Whipped Hair Mousse, then I rake through a quarter-sized amount of the Amika Curl Corps Enhancing Gel before scrunching. I’m a night showerer, so I let my hair air-dry while I sleep on a silk pillowcase. When I wake up, random pieces of hair tend to be straight or wonky, so I spritz them with my own curl-refreshing spray (actual ones make my hair crispy). The recipe consists of adding 10 pumps of the Ouai Curl Jelly and water to an empty spray bottle.”

Chloe Metzger

Senior Beauty Editor, Cosmopolitan

“My ultra-fine, 2c/3a curls tend to frizz up and poof out in the summer, but this lightweight curl cream, Beyond The Zone Noodle Head Kick Up Your Curls Curling Creme, keeps them clumped and spiraled without weighing them down. To stave off frizz and flyaways in hella-humid temps, I always, always top off my curl cream with this moisturizing, coil-enhancing mousse from Herbal Essences. I rake a few pumps through my plopped hair when it’s about 30 percent dry, then let the rest of it air-dry.”

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