Jen Atkin Told Us Her Top Summer Haircare Tips

Most importantly: Protect your hair when it's wet, people!

While the summer of 2020 may look *a little* different than those of the past, one thing remains the same: summer can still wreak havoc on your hair. From visits to the beach to distance hangs by your local pool, chemicals like chlorine and salt water, not to mention the sun itself, can dry out and damage your luscious locks. Enter: Jen Atkin. The celeb hairstylist is no stranger to great hair; she’s in charge of the coifs on some of the most famous heads in Hollywood, not to mention has a pretty enviable head of hair herself (and years of experience, plus a popular digital magazine about hairstyling).

Here, the Dyson Global Styling Ambassador shares the two hair products she can’t live without, the super common haircare mistake everyone makes, and how best to care for your hair in the summertime (spoiler alert: it’s kind of different for everyone).

When it comes to haircare, we’re all making the same mistake

Whether you’re Chrissy Teigen, one of Atkin’s celeb clients and BFFs, or just a regular person like the rest of us, chances are you’re probably making this common mistake when it comes to taking care of your hair: not taking care of it (or at least not as diligently as you *should* be). “The first mistake people make is not taking care of their hair the way they do their skin or their body,” Atkin says. “The number one thing that I’ve heard complaints from clients [about] is damage from hair colour, environmental damage, or damage from salt and UV rays.” (This is especially applicable in the summer when you might be swimming and laying out in the sun). Luckily, there’s an easy fix—and the secret lies in the way we view our hair. “The number one thing is to really treat your hair the way you would your skin,” she says. “It’s so important to hold on to the health [of your hair], because unlike our skin, once you lose that health and your hair’s damaged, it’s damaged until you cut it off.” This is because our skin can repair itself and produce new collagen, Atkin says. “So it’s really important to invest in a routine and in tools that are going to help preserve the health of your hair.”

Protect your hair when it’s wet

And the need to treat the health of your hair the same way we do our skin is especially important in the hot summer months. Because if there are three things that can wreak havoc on your hair, it’s sand, chlorine and salt water. While the first of the trio can just be straight up annoying (ever tried to get sand out of anywhere? It’s trying), the latter two can actually have a really negative effect on your hair. Chlorine and salt water both strip hair of natural oils and dehydrates your strands, which can ultimately lead to damage and breakage. “Your hair can be damaged from salt, from sand, from the sun and chlorine, there’s so many summertime factors that can damage your hair,” Atkin says. “Especially if you’re out by the pool or at the beach; when our hair’s wet, it’s the most vulnerable.”

Luckily, for anyone planning to hit the pool or the beach this summer, there are some quick and easy ways to ensure your hair is protected from potential harm. To combat chlorine, experts recommend soaking your hair in fresh water before getting into the pool (according to ELLE UK, this is because your hair can only absorb so much water, so soaking it before means it’ll absorb less of the chlorinated water, and hence, less damage!) or putting in a moisturizing hair mask. For fans of salt water, a leave-in conditioner is the way to go. Spritz it on your locks before jumping in the ocean. Then top it off with a moisturizing hair mask post-swim.

And, to help retain your hair’s moisture, Atkin recommends switching up your bed linens. “I love using a silk pillowcase to help keep the moisture in your hair when you’re sleeping,” she says, “because cotton pillowcases, as you’re sleeping and moving, can cause friction and damage your hair.”

Combat humidity with cool air

With rising temperatures, it’s also inevitable that you’ll face more humidity in the summer than any other season. For those who use hot tools to style heir hair, only to have your perfectly coiffed curls expand and frizz up once you step out into the heat, Atkin has a hot (or cool) tip, and it’s right on your hairdryer. “My biggest trick is to use the ‘cool shot’ button,” she advises. “So when you’re blow drying your hair, finish each section with a cool shot and a boar bristle brush with that cool air; it helps to get the cuticle to really stay calm and smooth.” (So, like AC for your hair?)

“I don’t think people really think about that, but that cool shot makes all the difference.”

But a little heat can go a long way

With so many of us quarantining inside for the past five months, people have *finally* given their hair the break it deserves during lockdown—with great benefits. As Atkin notes, with reduced exposure to hot tools and heavy styling products, lots of people are noticing healthy changes to their hair. ”There is a desire to maintain this improved hair health and healthier look and feel of hair after we leave lockdown,” Atkin says. While air-drying your hair is still the best way to give your strands a break from heat, if you’re looking for a bit more of a polished look as we head back to work, you’re in luck. Atkin recommends the Intelligent Heat Control technology within Dyson’s range of hairstyling tools (this includes the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer, Airwrap styler and Corrale straightener), which limits the hair’s exposure to extreme heat and in turn reduces heat damage.

Quarantine has been great for finding out what works for your hair type

One upside to quarantine is that all this time inside has given people the opportunity to experiment with their beauty looks—and that includes their hair styles, colour and care routines. While Atkin herself is a fan of using mood boards, Pinterest and Instagram to map out her favourite cuts, ’dos and hues, “I’ve just been trying to encourage everyone to embrace their natural [hair], whether it’s curls or waves,” she says of quarantine. (That won’t stop her from using Snapchat’s face swap filter to try out potential hairstyles on her face shape—genius.)

When it comes to summer hair care tips, for all hair types, Atkin encourages people to take this time to figure out what works best for their hair type.”I think embracing and figuring out with product what you can really do to embrace your natural hair is really key,” she says. “Lockdown is a really fun time for us to play around with different looks; whether it’s trying different styles or playing around with your texture and different tools to see what kind of looks you can get.”

And *this* is the most important hair trend of 2020

With all that said, the most important hair trend of 2020, at least according to Atkin, isn’t fun-coloured hair or buns: “I think the most important hair trend is healthy hair, I really do,” she says. “This is the  first time that we haven’t really over-processed our hair, gone in for colour, we haven’t really been able to keep up with the haircut we’ve been used to having for a long time, [and] personally, I’ve had a really great time just watching my hair grow and the different stages its gone through,” she continues. As have her clients, who Atkin says have enjoyed seeing their hair get longer and healthier during lockdown. “If anything, they want to try and preserve that health,” she says of life post-lockdown, “Healthy hair never goes out of style.”

Atkin’s final piece of summer quarantine style advice? “If you can, try not to cut bangs at home!”

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