Summer hair care

Portrait of beautiful mature woman in casual wearing straw hat in sunny warm day at seaside. Cheerful young woman smiling at beach during summer vacation. Happy girl with red hair and freckles enjoying the sun.

Just as the sun damages your skin, it can damage your hair, too. Saltwater and chlorine also take their toll.

“The main causes of damage I see on my clients’ hair during the summer months are heat and saltwater 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.

1. Start summer with a trim
Your hair will benefit from some prep to make sure it’s beach ready. A quick trim can get rid of dead ends that could turn into split ends. A summer style refresh could also be on the cards.

You might find yourself needing another trim quicker than usual, though, as hair really does grow faster in the summer. This is due to more hairs in the anagen (growing) stage during late spring and summer than in winter.

2. 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 Mr 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.

Make a daily habit of applying a hair care product that contains UV filters (these can be in spray, gel, or cream formulas). These products protect hair from sun damage and help keep colour-processed hair from fading.

“A hair protectant with SPF will help protect the structure and the colour of hair from sun. Use even on cloudy days when up to 80 per cent of the UV rays still get through.”

3. Repair your hair
You may find yourself wanting to wash your hair more frequently due to the salt, sand and sweat that can build up in the summer. But over-washing can lead to dry hair as the natural oils from your scalp can’t make their way down the hair shaft. Using a hydrating shampoo and conditioner can help combat dryness.

A leave-in conditioner could also help attract and hold moisture in the hair strand.

“A good hair mask is a must in order to keep your hair healthy during the summer months,” says Mr O’Rourke. “Your hair needs protecting and nourishing to keep those dry ends under control.”

4. 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,” Mr 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.

You could also rinse your hair before swimming, if your hair is drenched with clean water or leave-in conditioner, it won’t absorb as much saltwater or pool chemicals.

5. Be careful with your hairdryer
Blow-drying your hair can be damaging at the best of times, but in summer the effects can be even worse, Mr 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.

At least once or twice a week, give your hair a break from blow-dryers, flat irons, and curling irons. You could try washing your hair at night and piling it up in a bun or braiding it before you go to bed. In the morning you’ll have a nice, beachy wave that is the perfect summer look.

If possible, give your hair a break and let it dry naturally, but if you must blow-dry, do it gently.

“Throw away your nozzle, keep a one-inch distance from the hair and stop drying once that section is dry.”

Do you find your hair gets dryer in the summer? Do you use a leave-in conditioner or hair mask?

– With PA

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Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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