Summer-proof Your Hair
Summer is a great time to be outdoors, but all that fun could wreak havoc on your hair. Here’s how to protect your locks from the harsh outdoors.
Wet Hair Before the Beach
Hair can absorb up to 30 percent of its weight in water, so drench it to prevent salty sea water or chlorine filling up those strands. “Chlorine and blonde hair can spell trouble, so wet your hair before and after swimming with fresh water and apply a UV treatment,” says Sally Brooks of London salon Brooks + Brooks.
Use Hair Sunscreen
Just as you’d never venture into the sun without slathering SPF over your face, protect your hair against sun damage by using specialist hair sunscreen. “Hair can get really affected by the sun,” says hair stylist Benjamin Ahrens from London salon Hari’s. “It can bleach the hair and make it frizzier, so you need to protect it properly by using a UV filter spray before leaving the house.” Re-apply after swimming.
Invest in a Hair Mask
They say prevention is better than cure so give your hair a health boost by massaging a nourishing mask into your follicles before you hit the beach. Smooth a generous amount of mask through your hair, leave in overnight then rinse out to quench thirsty hair and prevent damage. “You can also put a treatment on before going to the beach,” says Ahrens. “Massage it in, then slick hair back into a ponytail. Hair will be intensively conditioned during the day, leaving it smooth and sleek.”
Wash Hair Thoroughly
“Leaving salt and chlorine on the hair for extensive periods of time and avoiding washing can affect the colour of the hair and reduce condition,” says Akin Konizi, HOB Salons' International Creative Director and current British Hairdresser of the Year. Try a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup of salt, chlorine or product, then follow with a nourishing conditioner to restore moisture and add shine.
Avoid Heat Styling
It may sound obvious, but heat styling your hair after a baking-hot day in the sun won’t do your locks any favours. “Reducing the use of heated appliances is ideal for helping to protect the hair and maintain healthy condition,” says Konizi. “The reduced heat applied will encourage high shine, glossy manes and motivate vibrant locks.” Can’t live without your hairdryer or straightener? Make sure you mist in a heat protection spray. If your hair is looking a little sun-dulled, reach for the shine spray or nourishing mist to get it looking glossy again.
Avoid brushing your hair when it’s wet -- a wide-toothed comb will tease out tangles after swimming and avoid stretching and breaking your strands. And if you must tie your hair up, steer clear of tight elastic bands. Instead, loosely pile hair on top of your head and fasten with a head band or grips, or wear in loose braids instead to avoid sun-brittle hair becoming damaged or broken.
Michelle Margherita is a freelance beauty writer, who covers beauty for mirror.co.uk, and is a contributor to Elle UK. She has written for magazines from Cosmopolitan to Glamour, as well as industry hair magazines.