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When it is so hot that lipstick melts in your dresser drawer, your peanut butter turns to sauce and your hair falls from fluffy to flat, it is time to heat-proof your hair.

The combination of hot weather, outdoor activities and intense sun can make your once-controlled hairstyle swerve out of control.Bu, you do not have to look like a hair-salon refugee if you learn a little about how hair reacts under summertime stresses.

You might consider a new haircut that follows the natural tendencies of your hair, one that will not shift shape when perspiration unsticks your hair spray, said Soonie Paik, a stylist and partner in the Bruno and Soonie salon in Beverly Hills, Calif. She often suggests that clients avoid styles that require mousse or hair spray and opt for a cut that makes the best of their hair, curly or straight.

``A lot of women don't follow their own hair texture, so when their hair gets wet, it totally changes shape,' she said.

For hair that is straight and resists curling in summer's heat and pool-side humidity, the temptation may be great to shellac it with hair spray. Helmet hair isn't the solution because using more hair spray or a stiffer mousse literally adds weight to the flat-hair problem, said Patricia Traba, director of technical training for the Glendale Supercuts Inc., a chain of no-frills hair salons.

Traba said already-straight hair or curls forced into straightness can collapse when paired with heat and perspiration. Instead, she recommended skipping the heat of a blow dryer in favor of a sculptured style, one set into place with gels or mousse. Use your usual amount of gel or mousse on damp, straight hair, comb it through, flatten out the comb marks with your hands, and leave it alone to air dry. A layer of hair spray can help keep the look in place.

In truly desperate situations, a braid may be the only cure for long, limp hair. ``It's best to go simple,' Traba said.

Curly hair that has been coaxed into staying straight often sprouts like alfalfa when the humidity is high.

``Curly hair becomes frizzy because the (outside layer) of your hair is rough and loses moisture,' said Dan Garvey, consulting director of education for Supercuts Inc.

``When you're out in humid weather, the moisture level on the inside of the hair isn't the same as on the outside, so the hair frizzes,' he said.

To offset the imbalance, Garvey suggested this routine:

Use a moisturizing shampoo daily.

Follow with a moisturizing conditioner.

Use a styling foam or gel with a moisture base.

Top it all off with a hair spray that works almost like a vapor lock.

Don't brush or comb your hair vigorously (it causes curly hair to become frizzier).

Use a wide-tooth comb or a wide-bristle brush, and stroke gently.

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