What’s not to love about summer? To many, it’s barefoot, beach waves and barbecues as far as the eye can see. From your hair’s perspective, however, there’s hardly a more threatening season. Between drying chlorine and frizz-provoking humidity, the elements are ready to wreak havoc on your strands. Better take these simple steps to ensure your styles shine through your summer vacay.
To block chlorine
Think of it this way: Your hair is like a sponge. If you dive into a chlorinated pool with dry hair, your strands will absorb the chemicals and hold onto them, says N.Y.C. hairstylist Tyler Colton. He suggests pre-soaking strands with tap or bottled water or a leave-in conditioner. "Both will help create a barrier against the chlorine.” If you're honey highlights have already faded or have a green tinge, try using a clarifying shampoo to remove all mineral build up, says Colton who likes Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Three ($10; paulmitchell.com) “This formula was designed to remove chlorine and minerals so it’s ideal for people who swim often,” says Colton. Once or twice a week, apply a repair mask (try AG Reconstruct Intense Anti-Breakage Mask ($30; ulta.com) to help prevent breakage. “It contains shea butter and silk proteins which really help to rehydrate and strengthen hair which can become brittle and weakened over time from chlorine,” says N.Y.C. hairstylist Wesley O’Meara.
To protect against sun damage
Just like rays can cause damage to your complexion (hello, dark spots), they can also dull and fade your hair color. If you’re outdoors frequently, your first line of defense is to wear a hat, suggests N.Y.C. hairstylist Antonio Prieto. On fine strands, apply a lightweight UV protective mist like StriVectin’s spray ($29; sephora.com). If you have medium hair, try a cream like Kerastase’s Elixer Ultime Crème Fine ($42; kerastase-usa.com). “It’s light enough to apply throughout the day and also gives your hair shine,” says Prieto. If you have thick strands, you may want to consider coating them in sunscreen. That’s right, the formula you put on your face. “Most sunscreens have a tack to them, and can work like a grooming cream,” says O’Meara. “Dampen hair a bit so the sunscreen is easy to comb through. Then tie up hair in a bun or braid.” And don’t forget that your scalp is an extension of your skin, so “apply sunscreen on part lines and around the hairline where hair is finer and sun damage can occur,” says Colton.
To sheild against salt water
Even though we love how a day at the beach can give us Gisele-like waves, “salt water will dehydrate your hair,” says Prieto. Keep your beach bag stashed with a hydrating oil or leave-in conditioner. Try Prieto’s favorite, Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil ($26; shuuemuraartofhair-usa). Slick it on before you hit the water so it creates a protective coating that helps repel the salt water. "It will rebalance the hair's moisture level and it also comes in a travel size so its perfect for the beach,” says he.
To stop frizz
If you live in a humidity prone climate, hair can get big real fast. To prevent roughing up the cuticle when washing hair, coat strands with oil as a protective layer, says N.Y.C. hairstylist Adel Chabi. Then, if you're blow drying hair, make sure you keep going till it's completely dry- leftover moisture can cause frizz. If you are letting your hair air dry, apply your favorite anti-frizz product on damp hair and twist your hair into a loose low braid, says L.A. hairstylist Kylee Heath who relies on Iles Formula Serum ($44; sephora.com). Keeping hair bound in a braid on a bun give strands some structure and control so strands don't go errant. If you have ringlets, try maintaining a hands off approach. “Running your fingers through your hair breaks up curls and will make hair look frizzier,” says Colton.