While most of us don’t think twice about protecting our skin during the summer months, protecting our hair can be another story. Just think about what you’ve put your gorgeous locks through the past few months, from swimming pool chlorine to endless hours in the sun. Sadly, with summer fun comes post-summer hair damage; it’s no surprise your hair isn’t looking as healthy as it did a few months ago!
“If your hair feels like cotton candy when wet, that is a sure sign that your hair is damaged,” says Catherine Hinckley, a stylist at Kekei Salon & Beauty Lounge in Boston. Know the feeling, collegiettes? Follow these tips to make sure your hair looks as gorgeous as ever post-summer!
1. Restore Softness With a Hair Mask
We all know the benefits of using a face mask for our skin, but many of us wouldn’t think to use a hair mask. So think again! Hair masks are one of the best ways to make sure you inject moisture back into your locks. These are either used instead of conditioner on wet hair when you’re in the shower, or applied to dry hair and left on for a few hours before washing it off. Hayley Denker, marketing and PR officer for Dellaria Salons & Spas, recommends using these products once or twice a week if you’re looking to repair damaged hair.
Be sure to check out Aveda’s Sun Care After-Sun Hair Masque ($26) as well as the rest of Aveda’s Sun Care collection for products to combat sun-damaged hair. Denker recommends using It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask ($19.89).
2. Use a Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner
It might sound like a simple suggestion to use conditioner on your hair when it’s damaged, but it’s one of the most important things you can do. Christie Jean-Baptiste, owner of Kekei Salon & Beauty Lounge, recommends using a moisturizing conditioner with a moisturizing shampoo because “the combination is powerful and works together to aid and repair dry or damaged hair. A moisturizing shampoo starts the process by helping to gently detangle and improve manageability, while a moisturizing conditioner finishes the job by replenishing the hair shaft with much needed coverage, leaving your hair soft and giving it much needed moisture to restore shine and body.”
Hinckley recommends using products such as ARROJO’s Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, which cost $6.50 and $16, respectively. Both the shampoo and conditioner are rich in nutrients and moisture, which hair needs. Not to mention, both products smell great!
3. Reduce the Heat
We all know blow-drying, straightening, and curling your hair can be damaging, but they can be worse if your hair is already damaged by the sun. In the summer, it’s humid and the air is moist, so it can take longer to blow-dry your hair, which can cause even more harm. Using heated styling tools fries your hair’s cuticle, which leads to frizz (and no one likes frizz!). Even worse, if you continue to use heat on damaged hair, it will become brittle and eventually start to break. Try to limit the use of your hair dryer and flat iron as much as possible, even if this just means letting your hair dry naturally two or three days a week. One of the easiest ways to style your hair without using heat is to try an updo after you’ve let your hair dry by itself.
If you really can’t avoid using heat on your hair, be sure to use a heat defense product liberally to minimize the damage. These products help to evenly distribute heat and condition already damaged areas. Angelo David, the owner of Angelo David Salon, recommends trying products from Redken’s Heat Styling Thermo Actif line, which “reduces thermal damage while eliminating frizz.” Redken’s Thermo Actif Satinwear 02 Ultimate Blow-Dry Lotion is available at Mat&Max for $24.99, but you might also want to look in your local salon.
4. Use Clarifying Shampoo or Swimmer’s Shampoo
Even your regular shampoo, conditioner, and hair products will leave buildup on your hair. You need to cleanse your hair of these products regularly, but even more so in summer. Being in the pool frequently can lead to a buildup of chlorine in your hair, and it’s important to get rid of it since chlorine strips your hair of its natural oils, which leads to dry, brittle hair.
Denker recommends using Bumble and bumble’s Sunday Shampoo ($23) to remove a buildup of chlorine. Nicole Williams, beauty expert and host of Ambush Makeover, recommends using TRISWIM Shampoo ($8.50). “It safely removes chlorine, chemical pollutants, and buildup while locking in nourishing moisture,” she says.
5. Use a Leave-in Conditioner
David recommends using a leave-in conditioner to strengthen your hair. These types of products will “protect and put moisture back into your hair,” he says. Even better, they can help your hair stay shiny! David recommends using the Angelo David Vital Complex Leave-In conditioner ($21.50).
Denker recommends It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product Plus Keratin ($18.99). She says it’s great for daily use but isn’t too heavy.
6. Get Rid of Split Ends and Visit Your Stylist
The one person who knows your hair just as well as you is the stylist you go to most frequently, and they will be able to give you informed and personal advice to best improve your hair. David recommends asking for a deep conditioning treatment when you visit your stylist to smooth down hair follicles and continue the re-moisturizing process. In fact, he says that if you have colored hair, you should “try freshening up your color (with a color glaze) as well to improve hair texture and smoothness.”
Also, visiting your stylist for a haircut will always make your hair a little healthier. This ties in nicely with getting rid of your split ends, so make sure you don’t skip this step. If your hair is really badly damaged, then this might be your only option.
It’s a good idea to get your hair trimmed every four to six weeks if you can. This might be a bit expensive, but if your hair is damaged after exposure to the sun and the swimming pool over summer, then it might be necessary for a couple of months.
Don’t forget that the sun shines all year round, so you should be protecting your hair from the sun as much as you can. Check out these tips for preventing sun damage and use them this winter and on into next summer.