By Kirstie Boone
From hair dryers to curling and straightening irons, our hair takes a lot of heat throughout the year, not to mention the damaging hair products we often use. Summer is the perfect time to revamp your beauty routine and ensure your hair remains healthy all year long. There are many tips on keeping your skin safe from the sun, but how do you keep your hair healthy while lounging on the beach in the hot summer sun? How do you protect your hair from the chemicals found in chlorine pools? Refresh your beauty rituals this summer to have healthier hair. From hats to hair masks, we’ve got tips from the experts on the most effective ways to protect and rejuvenate your tresses.
Like your skin, your hair can be easily damaged in the sun. According to Blair Wessinger at Studio SB, the best way to keep your hair safe from the sun is “hats, hats, hats!” Wearing a hat while lounging on the beach or by the pool protects not only your face from harmful UV rays, but also your hair. Hats will also protect colored hair from being tinted to undesirable shades.
Kelly Odom, owner of Kalikō Salon, advises the use of leave-in repair serums. “I always have one in my beach bag,” says Kelly. “The heat from the sun actually helps open the hair cuticles for better penetration.”
While many people use products such as lemon juice to “naturally” lighten their hair in the sun, this can actually be very harmful. I’ll never forget the summer my younger sister opted for “natural” highlights from the sun and sprayed a product called “Sun In” in her hair before we went to the pool. She continued this ritual for an entire month, but her hair turned more of a brassy orange color as opposed to the soft blonde she was hoping for. It also became very brittle and began breaking off around her roots. She quickly made an appointment at the salon, and to her dismay, learned that the product she was using to “naturally” lighten her hair was actually a combination of bleach, hydrogen peroxide and some other not-so-natural ingredients. Combined with the harmful rays of the sun, these ingredients temporarily ruined her hair. She was forced to cut the dry, brittle patches out, but her hair thankfully grew back healthy and in a natural color.
While results of using such products may vary from person to person, it is strongly encouraged that you check with a trusted salon before using any product. Everyone’s hair is different, so making sure you’re using products that are safe for your hair is key.
In addition to the sun damage that occurs while you lounge by the pool, the chlorine in the water can also be harmful to both your skin and hair. Wearing a swim cap is one way to prevent hair damage, as is fastening your hair in a high pony-tail or bun before taking a dip.
However, if there is no way around getting your hair wet, there are some options to reduce the damaging effects of chlorine. One way to minimize damage is by wetting your hair before getting in the pool, says Lex Moore of OCCO Luxury Spa + Salon. If your hair is dry when it comes into contact with pool water, the chlorine has a better chance of soaking into the strands of hair. By wetting your hair pre-swim, you’ll minimize the amount of chlorine that soaks in.
Another helpful tip is to rinse your hair as soon as possible after you come into contact with chlorine. Even if it’s only in a poolside shower, it’s best to rinse as much of the chlorine out of your hair and off your body as soon as possible. Later, to make sure all chlorine has been removed, you can use natural remedies such as baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of water for an at-home remedy. Or mix one part apple cider vinegar and four parts water to create a natural method for removing the chlorine post-swim. Lex suggests using L’Oreal Professional Nutrifier Series after swimming. This is a new formula that’s silicone-free and contains glycerol and coconut oil. Its lightweight texture is perfect for dry and undernourished hair.
Also, hair masks are great for repairing hair after exposure to pool chemicals. Lex suggests doing a hair mask at home once a week to keep your hair healthy and stronger between salon visits. Blair also encourages the use of hair masks as a source of extra conditioning, but advises users to get the right mask for your hair type. “With fine hair especially, you don’t want to get anything to heavy,” says Blair. Many hair masks can be applied in the shower after, or in place of, your regular conditioner. Let it sit for several minutes before rinsing it out, or for hair in dire need of repair, leave it in for longer. Others should be applied to washed and towel-dried hair and left in for at least 20 minutes before rinsing.
Hair dryers, straightening irons, curlers, oh my!
When using styling tools, it’s important to be mindful of the heat setting. Kelly advises you to consider the texture of your hair when choosing the temperature for styling tools. Blair says that you get what you pay for when it comes to choosing styling tools. It’s worth it to spend a little extra to get high-quality, salon-brand tools. Joye Fowler of Ashley’s Alley recommends only purchasing ceramic hot tools that have the capability of exceeding 400 degrees, and the higher above that the better — even if you don’t need that level of heat, it ensures that the ceramic is high-quality and thus safer for your hair. Lex advises her clients to go no higher than 410 degrees, however it’s best to stay around 350 degrees. “Play it smart. Start lower and, if you feel like you need to go up more, slowly turn your iron up. This keeps your hair from getting singed!” Lex also says it’s best to use a heat protectant, such as the Infinium 3 spray, when using styling tools.
The possibility of avoiding heated styling tools completely isn’t a realistic option for most. However, summer is an excellent time to take a break from the nonessential tools. There are many fun, summer up-dos that don’t require styling. After drying your hair, try braiding it or putting it in a chic bun for the day instead of using a straightening iron. Bonus points if you can avoid the hair dryer all together for a day or two. Blair suggests using a sea salt spray like R&Co Rockaway when your hair is wet. After using the spray, scrunch your hair to give it a nice “beach wave” without having to use styling tools. When you’re on vacation, give your hair a vacation as well. Ditching the styling tools for a bit will give your hair a much-needed break, and the time you’d normally spend styling your hair can be spent enjoying a vacation. It’s a win-win situation!
Kelly says that the amount of time between washes will vary from person to person. However, washing your hair every day prevents your natural oils from doing their job. If you find that you have an extra oily scalp, try a hydrating shampoo instead of stripping the natural oils with harsh shampoos that often cause your scalp to overcompensate from being stripped and produce even more oils. Kelly also suggests using dry shampoos between washes. They absorb oils and add texture! Blair suggests only washing your hair two to three times per week. In regards to the application of dry shampoo, Joye says the best way to use the shampoo is to shake the can before spraying at the roots. Massage the dry shampoo into your hair, then lightly blow dry on low to get rid of the dry shampoo residue.
The frequency with which you get a haircut usually depends on your styling methods. If you use heated styling tools or chemicals in your hair, Blair suggests visiting the salon every six to eight weeks. Lex says that although it is often assumed that getting your hair cut makes your hair grow faster, that’s not necessarily the case. Getting you hair cut on a regular basis keeps your ends healthy, which makes your hair grow longer and healthier because it prevents splitting and breaking. In the long run, if you don’t maintain a regular haircut routine, you have to cut your hair shorter to get rid of more damage.
Follow these easy tips and hints to ensure your hair stays healthy all summer long. Whether you plan on spending the summer by the pool, on the boat or on the beach, make sure you take the necessary steps to protect both your skin and your hair. Now let your hair down and enjoy our beautiful, South Carolina summer!