March is here and winter is on its last legs. Spring and summer will be here before you know it – surf, sand, sun – and summer-ravaged locks if you don’t protect your hair.

Even if you’re not headed to the beach, simply being out in the sun can have ill effects. Swimming in pools can also totally wreak havoc on your hair. With threats like UV rays, chlorinated (or salt) water, and humidity, healthy hair falls under siege. But we’ve got some pro tips to help you keep it strong and vibrant.

22. Wear a heat-proof hairdo.

Protect your hair from summer

Some styles just seem to weather better in the summer than others. Wearing it up in a messy bun or a low chignon will help keep you looking stylish and fresh.

21. But let it down to relax when you can.

Protect your hair from summer

While it’s advisable to wear hair up in the summer for a number of reasons, it can also be damaging. Updos should not be worn for extended periods as taught styles can damage your hairline. Plus, hair ties aren’t always so gentle on your hair either. When you’re not out and about, let your hair down and give it a rest.

20. Use a protective spray.

Protect your hair from summer

If you have brightly colored hair, this is an absolute must to avoid fading. Of course, even if you don’t have a vibrant salon color, it can still be beneficial. These UV shielding products are designed to protect your hair from sun damage, which includes breakage.

19. Cover your coif.

Protect your hair from summer

If you don’t plan to go swimming or get your hair wet, you should keep it covered. Avoid color fading and UV damage by wearing a cute scarf or a hat.

18. Be careful with your sunglasses.

Protect your hair from summer

Sunglasses are an absolute summer essential, but you should be careful as you put them on and take them off. This is especially true if you tend to wear them on your head when not in use. When pulling them down to cover your eyes, or taking them off, hairs can get caught in the metal bits. As hairs close to your hairline get ripped out by your shades, this can actually damage the follicles.

17. Going swimming? Wet your hair ahead of time.

Protect your hair from summer

Before jumping in the pool, wet your hair with fresh water or water and a conditioning spray. There’s only so much your hair can absorb, so it’s better to get it saturated with clean water first. You’ll soak up less pool water and do less damage to your hair. This also goes for the beach – you’ll soak up less salt water if you wet your hair first.

16. Coat your hair with oil before swimming.

Protect your hair from summer

Protect your hair from pool chemicals and/or salt by giving it a protective oil coating. Coconut oil is a favorite of many. After wetting your hair, rub on some oil.

15. Alternatively, apply a hydrating mask.

Protect your hair from summer

If you’d prefer not to use regular old oil in your hair, a treatment mask will also do the trick. After the hydrating mask soaks into your hair, it’ll keep chemicals out and healthy moisture in.

14. Wear a protective style, like braids.

Protect your hair from summer

Once you’ve coated your hair with oil or a hydrating treatment mask, it’s time to style it. Styling your hair braids or twists is a good way to help keep your hair healthy. Plus, you’ll get those super-desirable, effortless beachy waves when you let it down, too.

13. Consider donning a swim cap.

Protect your hair from summer

If all that pre-treating sounds like too much effort, you can always wear a swimming cap. It may seem a little old fashioned, but retro-chic never really goes out of style.

12. Wash and rehydrate your hair after swimming.

Protect your hair from summer

Always wash your hair after going swimming – even if you’ve protected it as best you can. It’s important to get any salt or chlorine out asap. If you’re downright exhausted or don’t have access to a shower, you should at least apply a hydrating mask.

11. Don’t over-wash.

Protect your hair from summer

With all that heat and humidity, and even sweat, we tend to want to shower more often in the summer. That means it’s easy to end up washing our hair more often than we should. Unfortunately, washing too much can lead to breakage, not to mention it can fade your color. Ideally, you should not wash your hair every day.

10. Dry shampoos are your new BFF.

Protect your hair from summer

Redbook

If you’re not washing your hair daily, you may notice it getting oily. That’s where dry shampoos and cleansing powders come in. On the off days when you don’t wash your hair, these products will soak up the oil. They can also provide you with some great styling textures. Win/win.

9. Use specially formulated products.

Protect your hair from summer

Sephora

If you have colored hair, you should be using a sulfate free shampoo that’s formulated to prevent fading. If your hair is damaged, use a reparative, hydrating shampoo.

8. Always remember to condition.

Protect your hair from summer

Hydration is important year-round, but especially in the summer. Conditioning will help protect your hair from sweat and combat breakage caused by other summer elements. For heavily damaged hair, you may want to use a leave-in conditioner or conditioning spray.

7. Be patient with tangles.

Protect your hair from summer

Wet brushing can do a lot of damage, especially if you’re mindlessly going after tangles and knots. Tend to them with your fingers before going at them with a brush, and use a dentangling or smoothing product.

6. Drink lots of water.

Protect your hair from summer

We just mentioned hydration, and we mean it! Not only is it vital for your body, your skin, and your overall health, it’s important for healthy hair, too.

5. Don’t DIY highlights.

Protect your hair from summer

You’ve probably seen the Pinterest pins that offer up suggestions for creating DIY summer highlights. Pro tip: don’t do those things. Suggestions like putting lemon juice or peroxide in your hair can be seriously damaging. And those spray-in lighteners honestly aren’t worth using either. If you want summer highlights – and to keep your hair healthy – you should definitely go to a salon.

4. Protect your hair by staying inside.

Protect your hair from summer

If you’re worried about heat or UV damage, you could always just stay indoors. With minimal exposure to humidity, sun, salt, and chemicals, you should be able to maintain your favorite styles. If you’re trying to extend a blowout, we highly recommend staying inside as much as possible.

3. Avoid too much air conditioning.

Protect your hair from summer

Of course, if you do stay inside, you should know not all damage comes from the sun and chemicals. When it’s hot outside, many of us have a tendency to crank up the AC. Running it, however, pulls humidity out of the air and can dry out your skin and hair both. As refreshing as it feels, make sure you don’t overdo it and that you stay hydrated and keep hair moisturized.

2. Avoid heat styling.

Protect your hair from summer

With all the sun (and heat) your hair is already getting just from being outside in the summer, why add insult to injury? Keep the use of hot styling tools to a bare minimum to avoid damaging your hair further. Besides, neither blowouts nor flat ironed straight hair tend to hold up very well in the summer humidity anyway.

1. Use the sun to your advantage.

Protect your hair from summer

Want to do a deep conditioning treatment? Why sit under a dryer for 30+ minutes when you could soak up some sun instead? Next time you plan to sit out in the sun for a while, pack on that treatment. Just be sure you’re wearing sunscreen.