Shower Power

The One Thing That Makes Summer Showers Amazing

Evangelizing the awesome power (and beauty benefits) of the cold rinse.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen July 6, 2016

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I said brrr, it's cold in hair. There must be a cold rinse in the atmosphere.

Image: Shutterstock

Built in the 1930s, my house is totally charming most of the year. As the sweltering height of summer arrived, it's become obvious that the giant metal air conditioning contraption—perhaps the first air conditioner ever made?—struggles to keep the interiors cool, faced with old windows that leak cold air and temperatures approaching triple digits.

Obviously the long-term solution is to fix or replace the unit, but until that happens, the short-term solution is as simple as a shower. Any Houstonian knows that summer showers are the quickest and easiest way to get rid of the sticky, sweaty feeling that comes from spending any time at all in 200 percent humidity, and to rid refresh and remove the myriad seasonal allergens in the environment. Two, even three showers a day seems totally reasonable.

But its not just the quantity of showers that counts, it's the quality. And the absolute best way to optimize a summer shower is with a cold rinse. I typically like hot, borderline scalding water, but before I rinse conditioner out of my hair, I turn the hot knob all the way off and brace myself for the cool water to run over me. The benefits are manifold.

Not only does rinsing with cool water help seal the hair shaft and prevent frizz, it exposes one of the key areas of temperature regulation—the back of the neck, which holds major blood vessels close to the skin that spread the cool to other parts of the body—to a refreshingly chilly environment. And while I wouldn't recommend this move in the winter when what comes out of the pipes can be truly frigid, its generally not unpleasant this time of year, when the cold nozzle really produces water that's merely cold-ish.

Once you've finished a cold rinse, hold on to its chilling benefits by applying light product and letting hair air dry, if you can, instead of heat styling. If your mom ever warned you about catching your death of cold from wet hair in the winter (just me?), you can understand the benefits of leaving it damp on a hot day. 

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