Summer is here and whether you’re staycationing or sun searching abroad, remember, while you’re living your best life, your hair is not!
Summer, even a British one, can wreak havoc on your hair with sun, chlorine, and salt-water conspiring to dry and damage your coveted tresses.
Just like sunscreen is your constant companion during long days in the great outdoors, your hair needs protection too. No one likes stringy, dry hair strands blowing about after a full-on surf, splash and sun day.
So why not take some easy precautions. We’ve curated 10 ways for you to enjoy the summer elements without worrying about – gasp - hair damage.
But first… Let’s understand why the sun, chlorine, and saltwater can be so disastrous to your summertime styles.
As important as hair is to us and our identities, we don’t always treat it with the care we do our skin or our bodies.
The dangers of sun to our skin in terms of aging, sun burn and worse are well known. During long days in the sunshine we are wise to slather on the sunscreen to protect ourselves.
But what about our hair and the things about it that we value most? Without protecting it, hair goes from shiny and luscious to dry and brittle. Not to mention that sun exposure can also dull hair’s natural colour.
And with dyed hair, colour oxidizes from UV exposure, causing a rather bland, faded look.
When you think about chemicals your hair may endure, high on the hazard list are probably dye, bleach, and keratin treatments. Guess what, chlorine should be well up there too.
Chlorine is one of the harshest chemicals your hair encounters in the summer. Even after just a quick head to toe pool dip, the same chlorine that keeps our bodies safe damages our hair.
When hair is exposed to chlorine, it is stripped of its natural oils (essential for softness and shine) and can cause cuticles to break. So, whilst diving in may cool you off, without proper hair preparation a pool swim will leave your hair dry and brittle making it vulnerable to split ends and breakage.
Those with dyed hair have even more to fret about as chlorine quickens the fading process and strips hair colour. Just think of all the stories of how pool water has turned blonde hair green. Oh, and don’t forget your scalp.
Chlorine exposure can cause scalp dryness, irritation, and excessive dandruff.
Although, saltwater can affect hair types differently (want to learn about your hair type? Click here), who doesn’t love a bit of the surfer girl look after a day at the sea.
Well, quite a few, actually. Or, at least, those who worry about their hair health. When overexposed to saltwater, hair can become damaged, frizzy, and just a mess.
These effects are even worse if your hair has been recently dyed or processed. Saltwater is damaging because it dries out hair and scalp, stripping it of moisture and leaving it rough and dehydrated.
This leads to split ends, breakage, and dandruff. Imagine…the hair you work so hard to keep healthy going all dull and lifeless…an absolute tragedy.
Remember, dry damaged hair sticks around even after the last of your summer tan fades.
Finally, some relief! You can jump into the lake or loch without the same fear of hair damage. Fresh lake water is often among the best and safest water for your hair.
Being naturally occurring, fresh water has lower levels of calcium and magnesium, therefore your hair is less vulnerable. This though, is only the case when the fresh water is considered “soft water”.
Fresh water with a higher mineral content (“hard water”) is damaging in almost the same way as chlorine or saltwater.
So, stick to the lakes that are considered “soft water.” Just do your research! Now then, since we all are experts on summertime hair dangers, let's get our feet wet with ways to protect and take care of our hair while having summer fun.
10 Ways to Protect Your Hair
1. Wet it first
When having that dip in the pool or sea, chlorine or salt water soaks up your hair’s natural moisture leaving it dehydrated.
Showering beforehand will ensure moisture fills your hair so it has less room to absorb dehydrating chlorine or salt. You can also apply a leave-in conditioner to help retain that moisture.
2. Spay on protection
The next time you shop for sunscreen, pick up some UV hair protection spray.
They are simple to use and help protect against the sun with some even protect against chlorine.
3. Cap it
They may not be for everyone, but swim caps are a great way to protect your hair.
A well-fitting cap will help prevent your hair from coming in contact with the salty or chlorinated water in which you are swimming.
4. Hats on
Okay, a swim cap not for you? What about a hat for all the time you, and your head, spend out of the water?
Wearing a wide brim hat will not only help protect your face and neck, it will also keep your scalp, and possibly most of your hair, shaded from the harsh sun.
5. Throw it back
If hats simply aren’t your thing, throwing your hair into a breezy up-do, or back into a bun, is the next best thing. Be proactive by applying argan oil or conditioner to the ends of your hair before you put it up or in a braid.
6. Shower after
It’s best to always rinse your hair after swimming to prevent salt or chemical build up.
If you use a shampoo, try using one that is super hydrating to rejuvenate your locks.
7. Mask or treat it
A hair mask or oil treatment are perfect ways to re-hydrate, replenish, and soothe your hair and scalp.
You can find plenty of hair masks on the high street whilst an oil treatment is as simple as taking your favourite hair care oil (like jojoba) and leaving it in for 20-30 minutes.
Do remember though, with oils, a little goes a long way so take care not to overdo it.
8. Postpone a big chop
Going shorter for the summer may seem tempting but it isn’t the best move for your hair.
Longer and heavier hair deals better with humidity and the stresses of salt, chlorine, and the sun. So maybe hold off till next season for that fabulous bob or crop.
9. Go minimal with hot tools
Keep the use of hair dryers, straighteners, curlers, or any other hot tool to a minimum this summer.
Hair tools using excessive heat in combo with summer sun and swimming will seriously dry out your hair and leave it with major breakage and split ends.
10. Dry right
Gentler on your hair, all are great alternatives to the excessive drying heat of a blow dryer.
Stay Unscathed by the Summer Elements
In the season of beach bound holidays and outdoor fun, it’s only natural to want to be more care free.
But do spare a bit of care for your hair so it takes you into the autumn unscathed by damaging summer elements.
Use these tips to protect your hair through long summer days and preserve its year-round gorgeousness.
We love to chat and give you all the tips and tricks you need for great hair.