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Best Summer Hairstyles

We don’t blame you if your summer hair schedule has traditionally been something along the lines of “just get it up and out of my face.” When hotter weather and humidity starts rolling in, most people probably aren’t eager to try a complex new hair tutorial: they just want to keep cool and keep their locks under control. But there are actually a ton of different summer hairstyles that let you look your best without having to spend time under the blast of a blow dryer when it’s 90 degrees out.

There are a lot of reasons why you probably need to switch up your usual hairstyles in the summer; here are some of the key things that make up a good summer hairstyle:

  • Cool and frizz-free — Wearing your hair down might look glossy and luxe in the winter, but humidity and heat can leave your locks looking frizzy and lifeless, come summertime. And having hair sticking to the back of your neck when you’re sweaty and hot… not ideal! That’s why many summer hair ideas involve updos that can help cool you down.
  • Helps avoid sunburn — While you should try to wear sunscreen year round, it's especially important in the summertime. Pulling your hair up can help in providing additional protection for your scalp against UV rays.
  • Summer fashions — whether you’re going to a music festival or a long weekend at the beach, summer activities encourage specific hair color (ex. highlights) and hairstyles, both for function and fashion. Summer is all about taking time to relax, so the looks should be as easy to manage as possible.

Best hairstyles for summer

Ready to get inspired? Here are some of our favorite summer hair ideas that let you relax and enjoy the season.

1. Topknot

The topknot is a classic way to keep your hair up during warmer months that still looks put-together. Frizz is a common enemy this time of year, so using products formulated for frizzy hair to wash and condition will help your style stay smooth and controlled (and be sure to check out our post on how to fix frizzy hair to learn more). Once your hair is dry, rub a small amount of frizz cream onto your hands and smooth it over the surface of your hair to fight any remaining flyways, and pull your hair into a ponytail. Smooth and twist the ponytail in your hands, and wrap it around the base, securing the end with bobby pins. Finish with hairspray for a more secure hold. 

2. Braids

Learning how to braid your own hair gives you a ton of flexibility in the summer: you have the benefit of pulling your hair up and away from your face, keeping you cool while your hair is neat and ready for any activities. If you’re planning on having an active summer, you can’t go wrong with the functionality of a braided look. Check out our blog post linked above for seven easy tutorials, from rope braided hair to the waterfall or french braid.

3. Pigtails

A staple of many childhoods, the pigtail can have a chic adult makeover with just a few tweaks. We love this tutorial from Mane Addicts for a half-up, half-down pigtail look that feels current and fresh.

4. Beach waves

When you think of classic summer hairstyles, long hairstyles with beach waves probably come to mind — and you don’t need to spend the day at the seaside to get this look for yourself. The most important product to achieve this look is a sea salt texturizing spray: you can simply spritz it over wet or dry hair, and let it air dry to get a tousled wavy look with a little hold. Check out our blog post on how to get beachy waves for three different ways to easily get the beach waves of your dreams.

5. Half-up half-down

This summer hairstyle lets you keep your hair up and out of your face, while still letting flattering tendrils hang loose at the bottom. To get the half-up half-down style, start by dividing your hair horizontally, pulling the top portion up. Secure it with an elastic hair band, and use a light hair oil to smooth any flyaways.

6. Pixie cut

The easiest way to stay cool this summer? Chop your hair off and get a pixie cut! This closely-cropped short hair style is definitely a huge change and commitment for most people, but it can look incredibly sleek and sophisticated while keeping you cool. Bring some reference photos to your local salon and your stylist can suggest the right short haircut to compliment your hair type and texture.

7. Loose ponytail

For a fast fix (and especially if the summer heat hits you out of nowhere), simply pull your hair up into a loose ponytail. For a little additional hold against humidity, spritz on a few sprays of a brushable hairspray as a finishing touch.

8. Wet look

We spoke with stylist Tommaso Incamicia of the Milan salon My Place Hair Studio, and he shared four simple summer hair tutorials for us to try. Here’s a quick overview of his tutorial for a sleek wet look:

  • After washing your hair, pat it dry with a towel to remove any excess (but not too much, since your hair needs to stay wet for this look!)
  • To add body and hold to your hair, combine a texturizing serum and modeling gel in your hands. Distribute the mixture evenly through your roots to the ends.
  • Starting at the roots, comb your hair backwards with a wide tooth comb, running your hands over the top to smooth out any big bumps.
  • Secure your hair back with large clips, and set the style with a strong hairspray. Dry your hair with a diffuser until the top seems set, then remove the clips.

9. Space buns

2000s style is seeing a resurgence in popularity, and with that came space buns! To try the most basic version of this look, start by parting your hair down the middle and pulling your hair into two high ponytails on either side. Twist up each ponytail into a mini bun, and secure with bobby pins. But from box braid buns to a custom look for fine or curly hair, check out these 15 space bun tutorials

Davines messy bun summer hair tutorials

10. Messy bun

A “perfectly-undone bun” captures the carefree vibe of summer, while still keeping your hair up and off of your neck. Before you gather your hair into a bun, spray a volumizing mousse on towel-dried hair to help add a light and natural-looking body.

11. Random braids

If you want to wear your hair down but still want to add a little something to the look, adding in a few random braids is a cute boho way to elevate your hairstyle, whether you have long hair or short.

12. Air dry

For a truly effortless hair tutorial, you can’t top the air dry. This is especially true if you’re toweling-off from a dip in the pool, ocean, or just don’t have time to redo your hair after rinsing off in the shower. Spraying your hair with a UV protective hair milk works double duty in the summer: it helps keep your hair and scalp protected against the sun’s harmful rays, and also makes your hair softer and easier to detangle when you’re letting it air dry. And like we said before, a sea salt hair spray is another great product to use after washing your hair when you want it to air dry into mermaid-y, tousled perfection.

13. Fishtail

For a fun and functional look, try the fishtail braid. To start, rub a modeling gel between your palms and run them through your hair to tame flyaways, then pull your hair into a smooth ponytail. Divide your ponytail into two smaller ponytails, and separate a half-inch section of hair from the outside of the left ponytail. Pull this piece across the top of the left ponytail over to the right one. Next, separate a half-inch section of hair from the outside of the right ponytail, and pull this piece across the top of the right ponytail over to the left. Repeat this until you run out of hair, and when you’re finished braiding, secure the ends with final hair ties.

Different hair accessories to add to your style

Since summer activities can be sporadic and unpredictable depending on the weather or your schedule, it’s a good idea to keep a few staple styling accessories on hand. This will give you the gift of flexibility: quickly pulling your hair up before a swim, adding additional sun protection midday, or to upgrade your look going to dinner after the beach.

  • Claw clip — this 90’s staple is having a comeback! A simple way to utilize this tool is to gather your hair in the back and twist it up until the ends are facing up at the top of your head, then secure the look with a large claw clip.
  • Scarf — Hairstylist Tommaso Incamicia also shared a cute tutorial for hair scarves: after pulling your hair into a ponytail, pull a few strands out in the front to give it a more effortless look. Twist the ponytail into a bun and secure it with bobby pins. Then wrap a scarf around your head, tying it at the base of your neck, or as a cute bow at the side of your head.
  • Bandana — a bandana can be used in place of a scarf for most hairstyles, and is another smart way to keep your hair neat and tidy while also protecting your scalp from the sun’s rays.
  • Hat — let’s not over think it, when in doubt, a good hat can disguise even the worst hair days. Keep a baseball cap or floppy sun hat on hand to always be prepared!
  • Bow or hair clip — these classic accessories can both keep your hair out of the way and add a little pop of fun to any hairstyle.
  • Headband — a classic for a reason!

Smoothing shampoo for coarse or frizzy hair.

Smoothing conditioner for coarse or frizzy hair.

Dry shampoo that cleanses without water.

Final thoughts on summer hairstyles

Summer style doesn’t have to be complicated to look good! Investing in a few frizz-fighting styling products, along with complimentary hair accessories, mean you have a ton of options to switch up your style all season long. And if you have any other easy summer hairstyles that you turn to this time of the year, be sure to let us know in the comments below! We see many summer days of beautiful hair ahead.

By Lauren Hannel, staff contributor

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