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Ah, summer. After a long winter complaining about the snow and cold, it’s once again time to complain about the heat and sun. Like any extreme weather, the heat of summer can do a number on your skin and hair. Excess humidity and excess dryness can both damage the hair in their own ways, depending on your hair type; not to mention all that sun and sweat.

You don’t have to sit back and watch your hair turn into a tumbleweed, though. Here are two DIY hair masks options for the summertime — one for humid climates and one for dry climates. Your hair is going to be photo-ready in no time.

DIY Hair Mask for Humidity

Humidity usually means one thing for natural hair: frizz. A natural hair mask smoothes the cuticle of the hair and creates a natural sheen. Use this DIY mask before you proceed with your regular styling routine.

2 ripe bananas

1 tablespoon honey

1-2 teaspoons of almond oil as needed*

Blend the bananas in a blender until smooth. Then add the honey and almond oil, and blend into a puree. Apply to your hair, working from roots to ends. Apply a shower cap to minimize mess and maximize nourishment. Leave for 15 minutes. For extra benefits, add heat. Rinse and wash.

*If you don’t have almond oil on hand, substitute avocado, jojoba, or olive oil.

DIY Hair Mask for Dryness

Dry, hot climates leave your hair absolutely parched. Regular moisture is key, and the most important moisturizer for your hair will always be water. When you need a deep, penetrating dose of moisture, though, reach for this hair mask.

½ small ripe avocado

1 tablespoon coconut oil

½ cup fresh coconut milk

1 tablespoon raw honey

Blend half of a ripe avocado in a blender until smooth. Stir in the coconut milk, coconut oil, and raw honey. Apply to your hair, working from roots to ends and massaging into the scalp. Apply a shower cap to minimize mess. Leave for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse and wash.

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How to Choose Natural Hair Products Like a Pro

The natural hair industry is booming. That’s good news for curly- and kinky-haired women, but it can also be really overwhelming! There are so many brands, and every brand has multiple lines of products for different things. If you feel paralyzed by the sheer number of options, here are a few guidelines to help simplify things.

Learn to decipher the ingredients

This is the most empowering thing that you can do as a consumer of hair products. Don’t just buy products based on what they claim that they’ll do — check out the ingredients on the back. Pay special attention to the first five ingredients, since those are the most highly concentrated.

You don’t have to learn all about hair chemistry to figure out which ingredients to look for. If you have a few products that have worked well for you—or, conversely, products that you hated—you can start there. Which ingredients are in those products? Some specific things to look for include:

  • Does the product contain oil, and if so, what kind?
  • Is there glycerin?
  • Is there protein? Is it one of the main ingredients or further down?

These are just 3 of the most common love/hate ingredients. Figure out what your hair loves and hates, and branch out from there.

Get to know your hair

A lot of women have multiple curl patterns on the same head of hair, but knowing your overall location on the hair type spectrum is helpful. If you have a very loose curl pattern, creams and butters will wreak havoc on your hair. Conversely, if you have tight coils, you can skip any conditioner that comes in a spray bottle—chances are, it simply won’t pack enough oomph.

Aside from how your hair looks, how does it usually feel? Most hair falls into the “high porosity” or “low porosity” camp. Low porosity hair needs tons of moisture, preferably with heat. High porosity hair needs less moisture but with plenty of oil to seal it in.

Does your hair become frizzy a lot? If so, a strong conditioner or gel is your new best friend. Do your strands break off easily or become limp? Then you may actually need less moisture. Instead, go for a product with protein.

Knowing what your hair needs will help you target your search.

Experiment, experiment, experiment!

Still, it’s impossible to know what results you’ll get until you’ve gone through the whole routine. Even the same products can have different results on different days. Curly hair is mysterious if nothing else!

You might be thinking, “I don’t have the money to spend on products I might end up hating!” I feel the same way. A couple tips for experimenting on a budget:

  • Buy travel sizes at your local beauty store.
  • Let other folks experiment for you. Read or watch some online reviews to get a head start.
  • Start exchanging products with friends so you each get to try new things.

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