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Should you wash your hair more frequently when it's hot out? We asked an expert

Here's how often you should wash your hair in the summer, plus a few other tips for warm weather hair care.

I've been told countless times that you shouldn't wash your hair every day, but with oily skin and greasy, fine hair, I feel like I have to! I've done my best to cut back, using dry shampoo or slicking my hair back into a bun every other day. But in the summertime, when I'm putting sunscreen on my scalp, jumping in the pool, using sea salt spray on my waves and feeling a little extra sweaty, I'm tempted to wash it daily. I'm always striving for healthier hair, so I had to ask an expert: Can you wash your hair more frequently when it's hot in the summertime, or will it damage your hair?

Mandy (B.) Buechner, Certified Trichologist and Hair Loss Practitioner, informs me that yes, you can safely wash your hair every day, and she actually recommends washing it more in the summer.

"You want to keep your scalp as clean and clear as possible for healthier hair growth. Think of your scalp care as skin care," she says. "I always recommend not going longer than three days without washing your hair all year round, however, in the summer, if you are swimming or sweat a lot, you can safely wash every day or every other day as needed."

Keep in mind that in the summertime, the sun's UV rays can damage your hair, making it a little dryer, and prone to breakage. If you color your hair, it could also cause it to fade faster. To combat dryness, Buechner recommends choosing hair care products that are moisture-based. She says, "These have essential lipids in the formula to restore moisture and hydration lost during harsh hot summer months."

That said, if you like to take steaming, hot showers, you might want to dial down the temperature a bit too. Experts say you should use lukewarm water to wash your hair, because it can open the hair cuticle to allow shampoo and conditioner to penetrate it properly, but it also won't dry your hair or scalp out, and that's important for healthy growth.

Woman washing her hair in the shower.
The answer: Wash your hair with a moisturizing shampoo in lukewarm water for healthy summer strands. (Getty Images)

In the summer, you can also apply sunscreen to your scalp and strands. My scalp is prone to burning, so I like to wear a hat at the beach or apply sunscreen directly where my hair parts on my scalp. There are a lot of hair and scalp sunscreens on the market, however, there are also some leave-in conditioners that provide sun protection. Buechner says regular shampoo can help remove whichever product you choose and prevent build-up. However, a scalp massager could also be beneficial (and somewhat soothing).

All in all, the key is to keep your hair and scalp moisturized and protect it from the sun in the summertime. If that means you also have to wash it more often, go ahead and lather up.

Need to upgrade your summer hair care? Take a look below at a few top-selling products to help moisturize your hair and protect it from the sun.

Native is known for its sulfate and dye-free formulas, and its shampoo and conditioner set is Amazon's No. 1 bestseller. It makes a coconut and vanilla-scented moisturizing duo that has a beachy scent, ideal for summertime hair-washing. Even better: It's only 20 bucks for two bottles.

"I like how the shampoo made my hair softer and it wasn't frizzy," said one happy Amazon shopper. "I color my hair and it can get a little dry. It doesn't strip my color either. Good natural shampoo and conditioner."

$20 at Amazon

More than 14,000 Amazon shoppers give this hydrating shampoo set five out of five stars and say it really helps hydrate dry hair. It's luxe, too: It's enriched with elastin protein and a green caviar complex — both are lauded for being moisturizing and strengthening.

"I’ve had dry hair for as long as I can remember and every product I’ve tried works for a week and then the dryness comes back — this shampoo and conditioner has exceeded my expectations and I LOVE how healthy my hair feels and looks!" said one shopper.

$37 at Amazon

Unlike a lot of other scalp sunscreens, this one isn't a sticky spray — it's a powder! Think of it like a dry shampoo but with SPF for sun protection. You can spray it directly on your scalp. The only downside is that it comes in just one color, so if you have dark hair, you may have to rub it in a little more. 

"I use this for my daughter with white blonde hair," explained a five-star reviewer. "I spray this powder along her part and rub it in and you never know she has product in her hair. Does not make the hair greasy or change the color."

$34 at Amazon
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$34 at REVOLVE$34 at goop

Another popular pick on Amazon for protecting your hair from the sun is Coola's Scalp Spray and Hair Sunscreen Mist. It's water-resistant for up to 80s minutes, so you can wear it while you swim. It also has a light "ocean salted sage" scent that smells divine. 

One Disney park-goer said: "I sprayed this several times throughout the day and felt like it did not make my hair greasy and our scalps never burned. And it smells great and doesn’t damage the coral reefs."

$23 at Amazon

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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