Hydrating Summer Haircare Picks for Dry Hair and Sensitive Scalps
Updated: Jul 27
Summer heat + Sahara-dry strands...
I often joke that my hair is the lowest-maintenance part about me. While my skin is sensitive and prone to hormonal acne, my hair thrives with a laissez-faire approach: I'm a fan of the undone, messy-pretty looks championed by French-girls, and accordingly, the less I do to it, the better. I typically let it air-dry and wear it with a wavy texture, although my bangs can pose a bit of a challenge without some additional styling. On days when I do straighten it or blow it dry, it feels extra soft and looks put-together, but I never curl it or need to add texture.
That being said, I am always seeking more moisture for my locks. The summer heat combined with more time spent outdoors doesn't help, and the air in Southern California can be rather dry. My hair texture is fine, but present in massive quantities; without regular trims and layers, it can become thick and difficult-to-manage. While prone to dryness and scalp eczema, my locks can become coarse without the use of deep conditioning masks and leave-in conditioners used every time I wash it. I have to steer clear of synthetic fragrance, stripping sulfates, and conventional preservatives to avoid flare-ups.
There has been a supply issue with my favorite hair mask — a five-minute, CBD-infused in-shower treatment — so I've had to branch out. The interesting part about the regimen below is that I didn't even have to use an in-shower mask, which I previously combed through my ends every time I showered. Why? Probably thanks to the magical hair oil below — but more on that later.
Here's what's been working for my dry hair and eczema-prone scalp, as evidenced by the picture above. If you also need extra moisture, check out these haircare brands next.
This clean, crystal-infused, Black-owned haircare line has been such an exciting find for me this summer. This particular formula imparts undeniable shine, courtesy of non-corrosive, non-stripping, pro-hair health ingredients. Hydrating aloe, soothing chamomile, flower extracts, and even the superfruit amla combine to make this a nourishing haircare experience without the use of potentially toxic, synthetic ingredients.
Plus, the founder has thoughtfully infused each bottle with amethyst crystal extract. As she explained to me, the hair possesses spiritual significance, said to be an extension of the nervous system that communicates energy from our surrounding environment to the brain. Because of this — and our hair and scalp's close proximity to our crown and third eye chakras — I love the added dose of energetic protection that this crystal-infused shampoo provides.
Shea butter, flower extracts (rose, geranium, jasmine...), and — my favorite — CBD provide hydration and antioxidants to the hair and scalp. The brand features natural fragrance and is made without silicones or sulfates to keep the experience gentle and good for your hair. The added CBD is particularly soothing, and great for treating, irritated, sensitive scalps that are prone to eczema.
Typically, I would apply a hair mask to the ends of my hair for added moisture. My favorite is the miraculous, five-minute Emera Reparative CBD Treatment, but my last order was sadly cancelled. I have a new launch, the Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfoods Hair Mask on the way. (Incidentally, Briogeo is another Clean at Sephora, Black-owned brand to try!) Conversely, for a more balancing effect, the Playa Healing Hair Mask contains Kaolin clay to absorb excess scalp sebum and also boasts the wonderful benefits of amla.
While in the shower, I always recommend combing the conditioner through your hair using a wide tooth comb. The one I use is from a French hair salon called Déssange, but you can try an affordable brand like HYOUJIN Wide Tooth Comb stateside. Once you get out of the shower, reach for a microfiber, moisture-wicking hair towel or turban like the ones by Kitsch or Acquis, as using rough, regular towel on your hair will only exacerbate problems like split-ends and flyaways.
Even though my hair isn't damaged — I don't color it and rarely even treat it with heat — Kevin Murphy's reparative products are among my favorites. I bought this particular leave-in while in Paris, but enjoy his entire line — especially the Re.Store Repairing Cleansing Treatment, which can be used once per week in lieu of your shampoo and conditioner.
Apply the leave-in once you've gotten out of the shower and removed excess moisture from your hair. The formula utilizes jojoba seed oil, green pea protein, bamboo extract, the Papaya-derived enzyme papain, keratin protein, and geranium flower oil to improve the manageability, shine, and health of your hair and scalp.
The leave-in above is paraben-free, cruelty-free, and provides added strength and moisture to the hair. The company's tagline is that it's "Skincare for your hair," and they pride themselves on their scalp-friendliness. I know celebrity hair stylists that swear by this line.
Next, I used the oil blend above — which can actually be used from head to toe, from your follicles to your cuticles (and I am a major fan of body oil). What stands out to me about this formula is the texture, which is velvety but not greasy, making it ideal for the hair (greasy formulas can make strands look stringy) and is also indicative of its high quality. I apply a few drops to the ends of my hair for added moisture and protection, and feel that it works just as well as DryBar 100 Proof Smoothing Oil (which works like a dream and helps you blow dry more quickly, but isn't as pro-health as clean or green beauty options).
The oil blend combines organic argan, sesame and almond oils with vitamin C-rich amla. When used on the skin, or even ingested, amla is such a potent antioxidant that it helps repair hyper-pigmentation, whether caused by sun damage or the post-inflammatory marks from acne scars. On the hair, dermatologists and naturopaths have shared with me that amla promotes hair growth, restores thickness, and may even help mitigate graying. (TBH, some research shows that it can even help fight cancer.)
Lastly, the entire blend is infused is rose quartz, the mystical gemstone of self-love and self-acceptance. Again, the energetic frequency of this natural, crystalline wonder is something I revel in applying near the crown and third eye chakras, especially as a fan of energy work and a lifelong interest in the esoteric.
If and when I use heat tools, I use the luxury line of haircare tools by T3 Micro. While you've probably spotted their pricy merch at Sephora, Costco now offers their dryer, flat iron, and curler for an unbelievable deal. There is currently extra summer savings, too, with a $25 manufacturer's rebate and a Summer Promotion bringing the total to just $74 through July 28 — a pretty epic deal for a high-quality dryer.
If you have bangs, you know that they can require a little extra effort to style, but are still totally worth it. One of my friends in Paris actually told me that bangs "changed her life," and I have to admit that they can bring out a beauty-lover's chic alter-ego. As a surprisingly lazy beauty editor, I needed some help styling mine, so I reached out to celebrity makeup artist Omayma Ramzy, whom I have featured often on FabFitFun. She clued me into this thermal brush, which styles your dried hair with a heated round brush that is the exact shape needed to style your bangs. Edit: This brush does not dry your hair; it is a thermal styler.
This buzzy haircare tool first came onto my radar when a beauty blogger clued me in to Revlon's trending blow-dry brush. After trying Sultra’s version, I was undeniably impressed with the results — it gives you the type of blow dry and wave that typically comes from the salon. Mine broke in France, so I just ordered the Amika brush above to use after my T3 dryer on Ramzy's expert recommendation.
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