Summer’s on the way and while your hair might not burn the same way as your skin does, the sun (and swimming) can still have a huge effect on the health of your scalp and locks. There’s plenty of ways you can, but these are the best tricks we can recommend to maintain your health and colour.
Protecting against chlorine:
Scientific studies have found that chlorine in pools actually causes chemical changes to your hair. The natural oils that your scalp produce help to protect the cuticle (outer layer of hair strands) and give the hair its healthy, shiny appearance. Chlorine strips the hair of these natural oils, making it: porous, dull, dry and more susceptible to further damage.
While it may seem counter-productive, wetting your hair before you go for a dip in the pool is an amazing way to prevent chlorine from stripping out colour and natural oils. The best way to think about this is that like a sponge, your hair will only absorb so much water. By allowing your hair to absorb fresh water, this will minimise the amount of chlorinated water getting into your hair shaft.
Leave-in conditioners are your best friend. After rinsing your hair with fresh water, leave-in conditioner (or even a small amount of normal conditioner) will create a barrier around your hair to further prevent chlorine penetrating the hair shaft.
Wear a swimming cap
Repairing chlorine damaged hair:
Clarify: Using a clarifying shampoo will help to remove chlorine buildup. If it still feels like there might be chlorine in your hair you can either try adding a small amount of bi-carb soda to your second clarifying shampoo, or using a mixture of white vinegar and water. The acidic mixture will help to strip any remaining buildup.
Treat/condition: Deep conditioning treatments are a must when trying to replenish the moisture in your hair.
Cut: Unfortunately some hair is just too damaged to revive, in this case a good chop is the only thing that will get rid of chlorine buildup.
Protecting against the sun:
Start summer with a good trim. Whether your hair is long or short, the summer sun will make your ends dry and brittle.
Again, condition!! If the damage is already done and your hair feels dry after a day in the sun, a deep conditioning treatment may just be able to revive your limp and lack-luster locks.
Take care when shampooing. Being too rough when you shampoo your hair can cause the cuticles to break and over-shampooing will just dry your hair out even further. Try to shampoo 1-2 times a week and only focus on removing the oils from your scalp, there’s no need to shampoo the ends of your hair. Pro tip: when drying your hair use your towel to squeeze the water out; don’t scrub or rub the hair, as this can also cause cuticle breakage.
Put down the hot tools! If the sun has already damaged your hair to the point it feels brittle, applying straight heat from a flat iron or curling wand will only add to the problem.
Wear a wide brimmed hat; and if that’s not your style, find a good leave in conditioner with added SPF, this should also be applied to the part of your hair or any area your scalp might be exposed to the sun.
Protecting against Seawater:
While salt water can have amazing detoxifying benefits for your skin, overexposure to salt water can wreak havoc on your hair. Your hair’s water content is what makes it stretchy, elastic and moisturised -kind of like your skin- and, similar to your skin your hair can become dehydrated. If you think of your hair like a sponge again, imagine what soaking up all that salt might do to the hydration.
All of the tips we’ve already laid out in “protecting against chlorine” also apply to seawater.
These steps are the best way to prevent irreversible damage to your hair (and having to cut it all off)