How to Handle “Dog Days” Hair

Ah, the “dog days” of Summer are truly here!  The phrase is used to describe what are typically the hottest, and often the most humid days of the summer, from about  July 3 to Aug. 11. You might think, as I did, that the term “dog days” means the heat and humidity aren’t even  fit for a dog, but actually, the term comes from observers in the “old days,” living in countries bordering the Mediterranean, and calculated  from 20 days before, and after, the conjunction of Sirius  (the dog star), and the sun in the sky.

For most of us, “dog days” just mean: “bad hair days, ” due to excess heat and humidity.  If there are miracle treatments for frizz and heat-fried hair, I haven’t found a foolproof one.  But the good news is that there are lots of products that can help tame frizz and over-worked hair, and help you handle “Dog Days” hair.  There are so many products, the choices can be overwhelming.  The key is to find the products that suit your particular hair type and issues.  While my fairly long, frizzy, thick hair treated with product,  and a flat iron can be tamed with two simple items, your hair may not respond exactly like mine. What follows in this review are some nifty products that suit a variety of hair types and issues. Read on to learn what they are supposed to do. Some may be just what you’ve been seeking.  If  you have used any of these, or try them and like them, or have other suggestions, please leave a comment below, and share!



There’s nothing more discouraging than washing and styling your hair, only to go outside when it’s hot, and find that your hair looks flat, greasy and dirty by the end of the day.  But there are ways to give your hair a little more mileage.  KMS Makeover Spray, (avg. Price around $17.00 6.7 fl. oz) is not just a classic dry cleanser. Shake well and spray the product about  4-6″ from the roots, working it through hair to absorb oil. This tames, and conditions. KMS California Hair Play Dry Touch-Up (avg. price $17.50 4.5 FL. Oz.)  also provides an instant pick me up with shine for dry, overworked hair. It is waterless,  and therefore won’t mess up a previously created style. Simply spritz it into dry hair, concentrating on mid-shaft to ends, or wherever additional care is needed. It is good for color-treated hair, and any hair that is dry or damaged, to fight limpness and frizziness/flyways. Featured ingredients include: grape peppermint (a free radical scavenger, antioxidant). And a lightweight silicone (to fight frizz and smooth hair). Visit or your favorite mass market retailer. TIP:  dry shampoos and conditioners can also give hair a bit more volume —  something for hair pins to cling to, so layer it through to mid-length and to the ends to add bulk for a finished style.   A dry shampoo won’t really cleanse your hair, but it will make it look less greasy, less flat, and more fresh.

Suave is known for making products that work like the higher-ends ones, but at affordable cost. Their products tend to tout a phrase such as: “works as well as…”  I really don’t like the comparisons. A product should just work, without qualifiers. But that being said, many of the Suave products are quite good. One to tuck into a tote for the beach, or a weekend away, or just a hot day at the end of a hot day, is the Suave Dry Conditioner spray. 3.2 fl. oz. It isn’t a dry shampoo but, like the KMS dry conditioning product above, this one adds shine and life (plus softness) back into over-dried, frizzy, damaged hair. It gently conditions hair for renewed shine and smoothness between regular washes.  The bottle says:  “Salon proven to condition hair as well as Orlando Pita. This made me laugh, because it is bad grammar. Maybe Orlando Pita can condition hair since he’s a stellar stylist, but Orlando Pita isn’t coming to my house to spruce up my lackluster locks (assuming I have any) any time soon (so by default, this product cannot condition hair as ell as Orlando Pita)!   However, while I haven’t tried Orlando Pita’s dry conditioner (it is about $20.00),  cost isn’t everything. The shea butter and sunflower seed extract in the Suave version turns dry straw into better looking hair, and at under $3.00 for 3.2 fl. oz. in a spray bottle, it is cheap. Get Suave at food, drug and mass market retailers nationwide or visit




Another inexpensive and enticing product from Suave is their heat-powered, Keratin Infusion Leave -In conditioner 5.1 fl. Oz. For a couple of dollars, even long, heavy, coarse hair can be blown dry and straight ironed as sleek and soft as silk.   In-salon keratin treatments can smooth and straighten hair, but they are not inexpensive, and some aren’t all that safe.  Sauve’s simple solution is a luxe cream that smells fruity. You smooth it onto the hair from mid-shaft to ends, and then dry and style as usual.  People are raving about it!~  The product is supposed to control frizz for up to 48 hours. It will, depending upon how badly your hair tends to frizz, and how humid it is.  But this new product can give your frizzed out hair a boost back to smooth. Suave boasts that it will: “prevent frizz as well as Kerastase®”   right on the front of the bottle. There is really no need to indulge in that kind of advertising as the product works well on it’s own merits.  It has a formula with what Suave calls “Keralock™  Technolog” and if you’re wondering, it, does work.  It both infuses keratin inside the hair fiber for moisturization and helps protect hair while heat styling.   If you want a nice and inexpensive way to silken and smooth hair, give it a try.


On the high end of things is Alterna Winter RX for Hair ($20.00  4.o fl. oz. ).  I am including it in this Summer review, although it’s touted as one for the Winter. But  for people who are prone to dry, frizzy hair, or who are living (or visiting) cold, harsh climates,  the season isn’t the reason to buy it.  I can’t see why you would not want to use this product in the Summer, too! Thermal Treatment Oil  is what youre getting. It’s an in-shower treatment that helps elimiinate frizz , and smooth hair. After shampooing, distribute liberally from roots to ends,  through the thin-tipped nozzle of a deep blue can. Leave it on for about 1-3 minutes, then rinse well. The product has “Enzymetherapy” which is a proprietary technology from Alterna that helps guide the beneficial ingredients where they need to go, and helps the hair follicle absorb it. The product is a “thermal” oil, which means the product feels a bit warm on contact, helping to infuse moisture into the hair.  Ingredients include ultra-rich and emollient hair loving jojoba, rosemary, almond, and sunflower oils. What it doesn’t have is parabens, phthlates, gluten, mineral oil, parafin, DEA, TEA, petrolatum or paba. As you might expect from a high end product like this, the scent is a dreamy gourmand (but light), not too obvious, but delicious. If your hair is dry, dull and brittle, and prone to static, you’ll be ecstatic over this product. If you need it, the minor investment can take your look a long, long way It is available at, ulta and plus Fred Segal and high end salons worldwide.

If you just need something to smooth frizz and add shine, especially if you are on the road, a good product to consider is the Nexxus Frizz Defy. Frizz Defy Leave-In Oil Shine Treatment (avg. $15.69 2 fl. oz.). It offers a quick fix to frizzy hair, and adds shine, thanks to lightweight Moroccan Argan Oil and coconut extract.  This is best used on damp hair, not totally dry hair, but if you rub a tiny bit onto the palms of your hand and smooth the product through your dry flyaways,  (remember I said a little bit), and flat iron, you will renew already frizz-challenged hair. The 2 fl. oz. pump bottle is somewhat flat on the sides, and therefore is good for stuffing into that tiny, quart zip lock you’re allowed on planes.

I am also a big fan of the Nexxus Frizz Defy Styling Cream ($11.5.5 fl. oz.) that adds moisture, reduces frizz for hours, and protects against heat styling. The lightweight ingredients include Moroccan Argan Oil and Coconut Extract. While the fruity floral scent doesn’t appeal personally,  the gold tube with black flip top dispenses a product that works, but doesn’t overtax hair with too many oils and emollient silicones. If you find that your hair is getting a bit greasy, and you still need frizz protection, try NEXXUS Frizz Defy Shampoo, 13.5 Fluid Ounce and Conditioner (about $10.00 each). This duo cleanses nicely, but also helps to fight frizz with lightweight Moroccan Argan Oil and Coconut extract. Your hair will feel super-soft. It might not stay as squeaky clean as if you used a more harsh cleanser, but that would also leave your dry and even more frizzy. All in all, the shampoo and conditioner will get you ut the door, looking good.   visit or your favorite salon selling Nexxus products.


In-Salon Salvation:    When quick fixes aren’t enough, there are some more intense do it yourself and in-salon treatments that are like bringing out the “big guns” against frizz and other Summer hair saboteurs.  These are more complicated (and expensive) than a simple tube of anti-frizz, but you might find yourself smiling into the mirror more often between treatments.  There are several of these and they have great potential, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I haven’t had the time to personally try them. I am suggesting two enticing ones in this review,  based on what I’ve been able to find out about the products. If you have tried them, please share your experience in the comments section.







For the DIY group, there is Simply Smooth Touch of Keratin Complete Kit. This is a fairly quick, at-home, keratin treatment that leaves hair smooth for up to 30 days.  The thing that is note-able about this kit is that there isn’t any Thio, Lye or Formaldehyde or other things that can harm you, or your hair, in it.   That’s a real plus. You can shampoo after 24-hours, but you probably should wait a few days (up to 10) between coloring your hair, and Touch of Keratin. The formula is safe, but it is a good idea to check with your doctor before you have any treatment or color, if you are pregnant or nursing.   Simply Smooth Touch of Keratin Complete Kit has everything you need including:  1 2oz pre-clean purifying shampoo; 1 2oz touch of keratin; 1 2oz xtend keratin replenishing shampoo; 1 2oz xtend keratin replenishing conditioner; and 1 2oz xtend keratin reparative magic potion. It isn’t difficult to follow the directions, but since I didn’t get a chance to review this personally yet, and I wanted to include it in this review, I am suggesting you check out this video that shows the process. Those who tried it, liked it.  It seems like it should do a decent job to restore hair’s natural keratin without removing volume (no one wants flat hair).  Results have been a bit mixed, from what I read, but like most things, you should keep your expectations about what this can (and can’t) do, reasonable,  Most keratin treatments are supposed to help you style your hair more easily, not to give you pin-straight without some maintenance and assistance (from a flat iron).  If you want that kind of style, you have to go for something stronger, not just a “touch” of keratin, like what you’d get from a Brazilian or Japanese treatment.  But for $50.o0, with a little patience and time,  you can help make your hair smoother and shinier, and generally, easier to manage for weeks, maybe more. You can get the Simply Smooth Touch of Keratin Complete kit (srp. $50.00) at: .


When the quick fixes don’t do enough to satisfy you, there’s another way.  Redken just launched “Smooth Lock,”a new, semi-permanent treatment that you do in a salon (with at-home products to maintain the look). Unlike the complicated and potentially unhealthy keratin straightening treatments, “Smooth Lock offers you ease of straightening with less frizz, and  cuts styling time almost in half, but it isn’t a straightening system that will give you completely maintenance-free, pin-straight hair.  That means you don’t end up with an awkward “grow out” look as you would from a Japanese straightener.  The Smooth Lock treatment features a “Heat Fuse Complex”  that provides a “protective” block against humidity.   A “thermal active polymer” helps to keep humidity out, and therefore, frizz.  The treatment also has nourishing almond oil to help keep hair smooth and shiny.  The best part about Smooth Lock is that it doesn’t take long and the 2 step treatment can last up to 10 shampoos.  Imagine that! There are five excellent at-home products for maintenance and these, I’ve tried with great results. There’s no reason why someone who didn’t have the in-salon treatment couldn’t try these, too: Smooth Lock Shampoo, Smooth Lock Conditioner, Butter Silk Intensive rinse-out treatment, Stay Sleek leave-in cream and Heat Glide leave-in protective smoother. The cost of the treatment will vary with the salon and your location, but if most places, for less than the cost of a new bikini, easier to manage hair that is soft and shiny, can be yours!  Visit to learn more.

one side of this model’s hair was treated to “smooth lock” by Redken — it is easy to see which one!

Based on the results I saw in person on the model at a Redken launch event, and on Rodney Cutler’s comments (he is a Redken brand ambassador and owner of the fabulous Cutler Salons in NYC), and due to Redken’s great reputation for styling solutions,  I know it’s going to be good. Visit to learn more and to find a Redken salon near you.







Find the right potions, use them correctly, and you’ll look like you have no hair worries at all!   When all else fails, there is always a powerful flat iron and a ponytail!

About Advicesisters

Alison Blackman Dunham aka. “Advice Sister Alison” and “The Advice Sisters” is a writer, photographer, online advisor, and lifestyles consultant. She has built her reputation offering readers a unique perspective on life, in print, in person and through the camera lens. Her focus is on advice, beauty, fashion, lifestyles, relationships and things that help make life easier, more successful and more fun. Please follow Alison on Twitter @advicesisters and check out her other web (advice-related) sites: &

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