Skip to main content

Your expert guide to summer hydration

Your expert guide to summer hydration
Holly James
Beauty Writer2 years ago
View Holly James's profile

If you're skin and hair are in need of a little bit of TLC after the recent heatwave, you're not alone. The experts explain how the hot weather can affect our skin and hair, and share their top tips on keeping hydration levels topped up all summer long.


How to keep the skin hydrated

What's the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin?

"Dry skin lacks oils. Dehydrated skin lacks water" clarifies Kamil Nowak, Field Trainer Drunk Elephant. "But what a lot of people seem to forget, is that our skin absolutely needs both", he adds, pointing out that a hydrating water serums work best when sealed in by an oil-based moisturiser. "If you have dehydrated skin, and only using moisturiser, your skin will feel dry and flaky by the end of the day. It is because you need both hydration and moisture".

What causes the skin to become dry and dehydrated?

According to Brynja Magnusdottir, Head Trainer for BIOEFFECT there can be numerous reasons for the underlying lack of moisture and skin´s impaired ability to retain it, including:

  • Exposure to certain climate or weather conditions - "cold temperatures and low humidity levels can affect the skin’s ability to retain moisture".
  • Environmental factors - "environmental aggressors like sun light, radiation, and pollution along with dust, dirt, and smoke all contribute towards skin dryness as they damage the skin barrier, affecting moisture retention".
  • Lifestyle - "using harsh skincare products that strip the skin from its natural oils, insufficient water intake and bathing habits (e.g. long and very hot showers, aggressive scrubbing, bathing in mineral-rich water), all contribute towards skin dryness and dehydration".
  • Underlying health conditions - "in certain cases, dry and dehydrated skin is caused by an underlying health condition (e.g. eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, etc.)".
How does the sun affect skin hydration?

Another major cause of skin dryness and dehydration is the sun, points out Kamil. "The sun depletes the skin of essential fatty acids, leading to dryness and flakiness. As for dehydration, during the summer months, we struggle with heat in certain climates. Higher temperatures make us sweat, and they increase water loss in our bodies, which simply can lead to dehydration".  His advice: "make sure you are drinking enough water and using a great hydrating serum like the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydrating Serum and one of our Umbra’s as sun protection. and one of our Umbra’s as sun protection".

"UV rays slow down our skin cell renewal process which causes a build up of old dead skins cells on the skins surface, leaving our skin dry and dull" adds Molly Nicholas, Field Trainer, Events Manager & National Makeup Artist at Shiseido.

In addition to this, an increase in sweat in the summer months can interrupt the skin's balance further. "Sweating is the body´s natural method of cooling down, releasing fluids and oils from the sweat glands" explains Brynja. "This way of moisture release can cause dehydration if the sweating becomes excessive. For some people, the sweat itself can also trigger dry and dehydrated skin, as it contains salt and other substances that may cause irritation, dryness and even inflammation in the skin". To combat this, she recommends cleansing and moisturising after sweating to remove impurities and top up hydration.

What is the minimum SPF that people should wear in the summer?

"We recommend an SPF of 30-50 during the Summer months" says Molly. "SPF 30 protects your skin from UV radiation by 96.7%. SPF50+ offers a slight increase in protection, up to 98%" adds Kamil. Although all SPFs do provide some level of hydration, Molly points out that their key function is to provide protection from UV rays, and therefore recommends still wearing your usual moisturiser to lock in moisture. "Moisturisers or make-up with SPF are often kept very low (SPF20 and below) and often diluted with other ingredients" adds Kamil who agrees on using your usual moisturiser and a dedicated SPF as well.

The best hydrating skincare for summer

"Summer is the ideal time to look for light and fast-absorbing products, while making sure the skin gets its much-needed moisture" says Brynja. "BIOEFFECT´s Hydrating Cream is ideal during this time. It’s a refreshing and deeply moisturizing water cream, free from oils and fragrances. Formulated with pure Icelandic water, Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E, this wonder worker leaves the skin soft, radiant, and well nourished without that sticky feel".

For a hydration boost on-the-go, Brynja recommends BIOEFFECT´s OSA Water Mist. "The refreshing facial mist is formulated with pure Icelandic Water, Hyaluronic Acid, and Orthosilicic Acid; a geothermal extract shown to support the skin’s structural integrity".

Kamil recommends a mix of both a water based product, followed by an oil based formula. "The Drunk Elephant B – Hydra Intensive Hydrating Serum -is an ultra-hydrating serum that replenishes the complexion and improves the look of skin tone and texture". Pair this with the Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil. "Rich in critical antioxidants and omegas 6 and 9, Marula nourishes and balances while restoring a youthful glow and remains in its purest form".

For oily skin types, Brynja stresses not to skip on moisturiser. "Oil and moisture are two separate things" she explains. "Those with oily skin should be on the lookout for certain ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Salicylic Acid, and other mildly cleansing or hydrating substances. The BIOEFFECT Hydrating Cream is oil-free and rich in Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E, making it the ideal moisturizer for oily skin types" she suggests.

What are the best exfoliators for dry skin?

Effective in removing the build up of dead skin cells that can block pores, preventing other ingredients from penetrating deep into the skin, exfoliators can help with dry skin types. "Exfoliators and scrubs combat rough, dull, and dry skin and actively remove build-up of dead skin and impurities. They leave the skin clear, expediting the absorption of moisture for any hydrating cream, serum, or moisturizer to follow" says Brynja. She recommends the BIOEFFECT Volcanic Exfoliator which "gently but effectively cleanses, buffs, and refines the skin with micro-crystalline lava, ground apricot seeds, and Azelaic Acid".

How to keep the body hydrated

What are the best lightweight body moisturisers for the summer?

"The NEOM Magnesium Body Butters are wonderfully light but seriously nourishing" says Nicola Elliott, founder of NEOM. "Not only do they soften your skin and help to boost your wellbeing, but they’re really fast absorbing and a little really does go a long way". If you tend to struggle getting to sleep, especially during the warmer nights, Nicola recommends the Perfect Night’s Sleep Magnesium Body Butter. "It’s packed with our signature sleepy scent of 100% natural lavender, sweet basic and jasmine, it also helps me to fall asleep too" she admits.

What are the best ingredients to keep the skin on the body hydrated?

According to Nicola, products formulated with wheat germ oil are a great option for keeping skin hydrated in the summer. "Wheat germ oil contains vitamins A and D that help to protect and nourish, soothing dryness. If uneven skin is a concern, wheat germ could be the answer, helping to leave you with a lovely even tone" explains Nicola. "Wheat germ oil also contains ceramides, the fatty acids that create a barrier to lock in moisture, and is also high in vitamin E. Vitamin E helps protect from environmental stressors and also helps to brighten your skin to give you a natural glow" she adds.

What are the best body exfoliators?

If you're looking for softer, smoother skin, Nicola recommends adding an exfoliator into your routine. "If you suffer with dry skin on your body, it can be all too tempting to avoid body scrubs in fear that they’re only going to make the matter worse, but there’s no need to worry. Integrating regular exfoliation into your skincare regime helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin for an overall improvement in tone and texture". The NEOM Body Scrubs are not only cleverly created to gently polish and buff away dryness, but they’ve also been infused with antioxidant-rich organic jojoba oil and safflower oil to moisturise and soothe" says Nicola, adding that the 100% naturally formulated scrubs are even suitable for use on body blemishes, made with organic sugar, a natural and gentle physical exfoliant. "Massage onto dry or damp skin starting at your feet and moving upwards in circular motions" advises Nicola.

How to keep hair hydrated

What causes dry hair?

"Hair naturally absorbs and emits moisture dependent on the environment it is in" explains Scott Evans, Wella commercial education manager in care & style. He adds that hair is more prone to absorb more moisture in high humidity and in a dry environment, lose moisture. "When hair becomes damaged, these effects on the hair happen faster, and are more noticeably visible. During the hot summer months hair can be dramatically dehydrated by the sun and the environment, so protection is key" advises Scott.

How can you tell when the hair has become dry or dehydrated?

"Hair becomes less manageable, styling becomes harder, strands look & feel less silky and smooth" Scott points out. "Dehydrated hair tends to look a little straw-like, especially on blondes. You’ll see this more so through the mids and ends of your hair" he adds.

Can the sun dry out the hair?

"UV rays have the power to penetrate to the deepest core fibres of hair, damaging the building blocks of hair ‘keratin’" explains Scott.  "The simplest way to think of this is if you removed bricks from your house in time the walls would fall and it’s the same with hair, it becomes dry, brittle and breaks". He stresses that protection is key for preventing this damage and recommends daily UV protection with a product such as the Wella UV Color Protection Spray which acts as the hairs UV protection (like sun cream) and would be applied before and during sun exposure".  Scott also recommends using a nourishing conditioner after washing and recommends the System Professional Solar Hydro Repair Conditioner which he explains "rehydrates and repairs hair after sun exposure and smell like a dream!"

How to keep the hair protected and hydrated in the summer

According to Scott, just like we change our skincare for the summer, we should all be adding UV protection into our daily haircare routines during the hotter months. He recommends the System Professional Solar Hydro Repair Cream for keeping hair shielded and shiny; "a combination of sun protection and after sun rehydration are key to keeping hair hydrated and in excellent condition during the summer months".

What are the best products for curly hair?

"Hydrating curly hair is a must as it is differs in structure, molecular formation and durability to straight hair and needs a different approach to care". Scott recommends the Sebastian Professional Whipped Cream Hair Styler, "for increased hydration and styling support especially on tighter curl formations. Whipped cream can be used before and after styling, before for added styling support and defining curls pre drying and after drying to define shape and reduce frizz".

 What are the best products for straight hair?

"The same as curly hair straight hair has its own needs and additional support in keeping hydrated" explains Scott. Naturally straight hair needs great hydration but alternatively not as rich as curly hair due to the reduced need of taming its shape". He recommends the Sebastian Professional Hydra Range to rehydrate hair without weighing it down.

How to prevent frizz

"Frizz comes from a multiple of factors to natural hair type, damage and dehydration" says Scott. "The best way to reduce frizz and keep hair hydrated and supple during the hit summer months is to use a nourishing hair oil such as System Professional Solar Sun Oil or Sebastian Professional Dark Oil which are amazing at rehydrating and nourishing hair whilst taming frizz and flyaway hairs that are a caused by damage and dehydration".

Scott adds that it's particularly important to take care of heat damaged hair during the summer; "if hair has been dehydrated or damaged from the sun using heated styling appliances without protection, it will accelerate dehydration in the hair and cause irreversible damage" he warns. To avoid this, Scott advises using a heat protection spray such as the Sebastian Professional Trilliant shine and heat protection spray that offers both heat protection and moisture, minimising damage caused by heated styling.

What are the best hair SPFs?

"During the summer months or when we go on holiday, we actively get much more exposure to the rays of the sun, so we need increased UV protection" says Scott. The Wella Professional and System Professional suncare ranges contain increased UV filters (SPF) to reduce the effects and fatigue caused by increased or intense sun exposure. Scott explains that this works the same way as skincare, "a higher SPF number means more UV protection. Wella Professional Invigo Sun Range and System Professional Solar Products as your SPF50+ for summer hair protection" however, he warns that these do not replace your usual sunscreen and skin SPF should always be applied alongside your haircare.

Shop all hydrating skin and haircare on LOOKFANTASTIC.

Holly James
Beauty Writer
View Holly James's profile
Working with brands at LOOKFANTASTIC for over two years I have developed my knowledge of all things beauty from key skincare concerns to niche makeup tricks and haircare hacks. I have a major passion for finding effective solutions that are easily accessible to everyone so that we can all achieve our best, glowing complexion.