By Katie Wright
Whether you’re heading abroad on holiday this year or enjoying a staycation, there are lots of factors that can compromise the health of your hair during the warmer months.
“The main causes of damage I see on my clients’ hair during the summer months are heat and salt water damage, and harsh colourants,” says Ken O’Rourke, celebrity hair stylist and Charles Worthington ambassador.
Hairdresser Michael Van Clarke says hair is “a mirror of our inner workings” but once it leaves the scalp, it is exposed to these harmful elements.
“The hair loses moisture and the protein structure of the hair breaks down. The protective cuticle lifts, leaving the hair feeling rough or frizzy, and more exposed to further injury,” he says.
But with the right preventative measures and products you can ensure your tresses remain shiny, healthy and hydrated. Here are five expert tips on how to look after your locks in summer…
Use sun protection
“When UV rays penetrate the hair’s outer cuticle, they create highly reactive free radicals which damage the melanin pigment causing colour changes, and attack the protein structure of the hair, leading to thinning, breakage, and split ends,” says Van Clarke.
The best defence against UV rays is to wear a hat, but if you are going out in the sun be sure to apply sun protection, he says.
O’Rourke suggests “using a heat protection spray, especially if you are blow drying your hair regularly”.
Repair with a mask
“A good hair mask is a must in order to keep your hair healthy during the summer months,” says O’Rourke. “Your hair needs protecting and nourishing to keep those dry ends under control.”
He suggests looking for a mask enriched with oils “which penetrate deep into the hair”.
Care for your curls
For those with curly hair, O’Rourke says leave-in conditioner is ideal for keeping moisture levels up, and it should be applied before you flop down on your sun lounger.
“You need something that will coat your hair gently and protect it from damage if you’re swimming in the sea and sunbathing.
Rinse hair after swimming
Whether in the sea or a pool, swimming can wreak havoc on your hair.
“The bleaching effect of chlorine changes the structure of the hair making it vulnerable to further damage and less stable for further colouring,” Van Clarke says.
“Beach waves are trendy but this can be bad news for hair health if created by seawater or salt sprays – salt is corrosive to hair, so you may look like a Bond girl today but probably won’t by next week.”
Therefore, it’s important to always rinse hair under the shower after swimming and reapply your sun protection, as you would sunscreen on your skin.
Be careful with your hairdryer
Blowdrying your hair can be damaging at the best of times, but in summer the effects can be even worse, Van Clarke warns.
“These can go way beyond just dehydration to actually melting the hair – there is no recovery from that until it has grown out or been cut out,” he says.
If possible, give your hair a break and let it dry naturally, but if you must blowdry, do it gently.
“Throw away your nozzle, keep a one inch distance from the hair and stop drying once that section is dry.”