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    Don’t let hair care go out the window: 5 tips to protect your hair this summer

    Guest Author: Afope Atoyebi

    With summer round the corner and quarantine easing up around the world, if you’re anything like me you’re already planning meet ups with your friends, be it at your local park, beach, or favourite outdoor restaurant.

    We’ve been at home (bored in the house, and in the house bored) for what seems like forever, and now that we are finally able to enjoy the outdoors again, hair care can easily go out of the window.

    So, here are 5 tips that you can adopt to care for your hair this summer, so you’re not playing catch up come winter.

    1. Use sunscreen…for your hair

    Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. You read that right. We’re all familiar with wearing sunscreen when we’re heading out into the sun to protect our skin, but not so much our hair. Our hair is made up of the same proteins our skin is made up of (collagen, keratin etc.). So just as our skin needs protection from UV rays to prevent damage, so does our hair.

    Now before you grab your Nivea SPF 50 and apply it to your hair, it doesn't quite work that way. Here are a few great UV absorbing ingredients that you can look for when selecting your summer hair products:

    Quaternium-95 (for UVA + UVB protection)
    Cinnamidopropyltrimonium chloride (for UVA + UVB protection)
    Octinoxate (aka Octyl methoxycinnamate) (for UVB protection)

    These ingredients will not only protect your hair from damage, but if you have dyed hair, they will help to prevent your hair colour from going dull due to UVA absorbance.

    If you’re not too keen on label scanning, here are some products I’ve found that already contain these ingredients:

    Sun Bum Beach Formula Shampoo & Conditioner
    Sun Bum Beach Formula - 3 in 1 Leave in
    Kinky Curly Pool Party Leave-in Conditioner
    Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer
    Paul Mitchell colour care protect locking spray

    2. Kaolin clay to remove chlorine

    Who doesn’t love a good summer pool party? But the same chlorine that keeps your pool clean can easily build up on your hair and cause it to become hard, dull, and chronically dry. To remove mineral build up on your hair, you can typically use a shampoo that contains chelating ingredients such as EDTA or citric acid. The problem here, however, is that these shampoos often also have sulphates in them, making them too harsh to use on anything more regular than a weekly-fortnightly basis.

    Opting for a kaolin clay wash, is a natural and nourishing alternative for cleansing and removing chlorine and from the hair without stripping it of its natural oils and nutrients. Simply mix some kaolin clay with some water and a bit of aloe vera juice to your desired consistency, apply it to your entire head and scalp, wait for it to dry completely, and then rinse it off.

    Be sure not to use any metal in the mixing or application process, as this will activate the clay before it gets to your head - by which point its efficacy will have reduced significantly.

    3. Use film forming humectants and plant gels for long lasting moisture

    This hack is by far my favourite hair hack of all time. Whether your hair is straight, wavy, curl or coily, I guarantee you this will change the way you moisturise your hair forever.

    You may have heard of regular humectants like glycerin, sorbitol, or honey that are great at attracting moisture and water to themselves when used on hair. Film forming humectants, on the other hand, are to moisturisers as Micheal Jordan is to basketball, as Beyonce is to music, and as the RevAir is to hair dryers. I think you can see where I’m going with this.

    Not only do they attract water to themselves, but they also create a flexible film around your hair that can store far more water than regular humectants, AND release that stored moisture into your hair if/when it begins to get dry.

    Examples include, aloe vera, flaxseed gel, slippery elm, marshmallow root, panthenol, and many others. If you have straight or wavy hair, you can look for these ingredients in hair masks and rinse off conditioners. For curly and coily hair textures, you can also use leave-ins, creams, and gels with these ingredients. You’ll be amazed how moisturised your hair feels, and for how long it stays that way!

    There are so many more amazing miracle ingredients that fall into this category that I just cannot fit into one blog post, so here’s a video for you* for more on this topic.

    4. Opt for Heat Free Hair Styles

    I’ll be honest and say that I already have my summer hair looks picked out. Yes, all seven of them. Nothing makes me want to switch up my look regularly more than the summer sun.

    The fact remains, however, that styles which require low to no heat to achieve will always be better for our hair than styles that do. But if you're someone with super curly/coily hair, like me, you’ll know just how tedious it can be to stretch out our hair without the use of heat. This is especially exasperating when you have a last minute event to attend, and want a quick hairstyle change.

    Then came the RevAir dryer. Not only does it allow me to stretch my hair with little to no heat (in preparation for my next look), but it also lets me do it in half the time, with half the effort.

    Needless to say, I’m RSVPing to all the last minute summer get-togethers this year.

    5. Don’t forget to get in your vitamin D

    The ‘D’ stands for daily. Amongst contributing to other very vital bodily functions, vitamin D is an essential nutrient that also contributes to the stimulation of new and existing hair follicles. It’s no wonder that deficiencies in vitamin D have also been linked to hair loss.

    Whilst you can try to make up your daily recommended vitamin D intake from your diet, remember that the best and easiest way to meet this requirement is through daily sun exposure. Taking as little as a short 15 minute walk in the sun every day will go a long way to making sure you’re meeting your D-aily needs.

    For those of us who live in the UK, sunlight is a luxury. So whilst you’re living your best life this summer, make sure you’re taking the time to get your moment in the sun every day.

    It’s been a wild year, you’ve earned it.

    Afope Atoyebi (IAT) is a certified trichologist, speaker, and innovator seeking to transform the haircare industry through education, science, and tech.

    Visit Afope at afopeatoyebi.com or youtube.com/c/afopeatoyebi