There’s no way around it: summer hair takes a beating. “The sun, sea salt and chlorine all dry the hair out, big time,” says New York-based celebrity colorist Rita Hazan. “It’s the most common type of hair damage I see.” But, unlike hair that’s over-processed from frequent bleaching, heat-styling and chemical relaxers, which all break rather than dehydrate the hair, the damage done by the summer elements is largely repairable. Read on to find out how…
Does your hair need repair?
Your hair type, length and whether you color it or not all dictate how damage-prone it is. “You’ll be able to spot damaged hair by its rough feel and lackluster appearance,” says Glen Lyons, clinical director and trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic. “Plus the longer the hair, the older it is, so the lengths have already been exposed to many years of sun, sea and chlorine and are therefore more prone to even more damage.”
“It’s important to note that curly, wavy or afro hair is in fact weaker than straight hair,” says Hazan. “And the less pigment you have in your hair, whether natural or not, the lighter it is and the more damage you’ll be victim to.” The best thing to do, says Lyons? “If it’s splitting and breaking, the damage is extreme and often irreversible – so cut it off.”
It’s all about hydration
“More often than not, your hair won’t be badly damaged, just dehydrated,” says Hazan. If this is the case, a deeply hydrating hair mask or treatment will work quickly to plump up hair follicles. Apply it all over, pull your hair back into a loose bun, low ponytail or braid to avoid pulling on already-fragile hair, and leave it on until your next shampoo. “These styles give hair the time to heal and absorb natural oils,” explains Hazan.
Use the right tools
Avoid heat-styling your hair as much as possible. If that’s a deal-breaker, when you blow-dry your hair, blot it with a microfiber towel beforehand (rather than rubbing it), then use a low heat setting and a heat-protective spray or serum. Do this when straightening or curling your hair, too. And to avoid your hair bleaching in the sun? “Add some extra UV protection whenever you’re outside with a sunscreen hair mist such as Lock+Block Protective Spray,” says Hazan. And avoid styling products that contain silicone. “They dry hair out even more,” says London hairdresser Michael Van Clarke.
Boost your color
“Darkening your hair by just one shade with a gloss is a great way to revive hair,” says Hazan. London-based colorist Sally Northwood uses this approach with her clients: “For blondes, a glossing treatment will soften the overall tone and add shine. For darker shades, it will neutralize brassy tones and make hair feel and look healthier, too. It’s a great way to tweak your color and add shine. It will also give your hair a healthy boost if you’re planning another sunny vacation in the fall and want to avoid even more damage with a full color treatment.”
If you need a quick fix…
How damaged your hair is will dictate how long it takes for it to return to health. Most deep-conditioning products will help resolve dehydration quickly. “However, a smoothing cream or shine serum will give an instant superficial sheen to the hair by flattening a rough cuticle,” says Lyons. You can achieve this same effect with a hairdryer and a round-bristle brush but, again, keep the heat setting low to prevent more damage.
The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown