Natural care for summer hair
Long or short - summer can be hard on hair. It can so easily become dehydrated and weathered by sun and wind. Before your hair becomes a frizzy, dried out mop, try these natural care solutions for your summer hair, provided by David Evangelista.
Keratins (proteins) and melanin are hair's natural shields against UVA and UVB rays. While your skin can heal itself after exposure to UVA and UVB, hair can't be repaired.
Excess exposure to the sun can end up causing keratin degeneration, which ultimately leaves you with dried out, discoloured hair that can only become more damaged if it isn't treated.
Sun, wind, salt, chlorine are all harsh on your hair. Heat has a drying effect; wind dries out the hair and increases static electricity, and salt and chlorine attack the hair. The cuticle opens up, the hair breaks, and split ends appear.
The result? Your hair loses its natural elasticity and becomes dry and brittle, causing breakage, hair loss and other problems — your hair is dry, dull and impossible to style.
So, if you've been enjoying the sun and surf sans protecting your head, and you're left with brillo-esque hair, what should you do?
It's important to prep your hair before you head out into the sun - or pool or ocean:
- Wet your hair with water (tap or spring) before swimming. If you do, dulling chlorine and salt water won't be able permeate the hair membrane. Make sure you carry a bottle of water with you so you can wet your hair throughout the day before jumping in for a swim — a big, water-filled spray bottle is a good option to throw in your beach tote.
Protect your scalp from the sun, so you don't burn and turn into a flaky mess. A quick trick: Take a bottle of spray, no-rub suntan lotion and spray at the roots of your hair, where your scalp is exposed. It doesn't take a lot of spraying, and if you use a clear spray, it lessens the mess.
Or, using a wide-tooth comb, comb olive oil through you hair and slick it back. You'll be giving yourself a hot-oil treatment in the sun, and the sun won't be able to get through the olive oil to the cuticle.
Once your hair and scalp are covered, what should you do with your hair when you're out in the summer sun? The best tip, of course, is to wear a hat or wrap your head in a scarf. But, if it's too hot to do either, wearing your hair down isn't a great idea: Wind at the beach also damages hair, so your best bet is to pull hair back.
So, what to do if your hair has gotten fried in the summer heat?
First, don't shampoo the conventional way. Try a dry shampoo; it won't strip the oils of your hair. When you shower, add some conditioner to your shampoo (and you should be using a gentle shampoo designed for colour-treated, dehydrated, or broken hair), rinse, then do a regular conditioner treatment. Your hair will de-knot and seem silky in seconds.
If your hair has been ultra-fried in the sun and surf, you should invest in a good treatment mask to replenish moisture to it. Once a week or, max, twice, if your hair has really been wrought with heat havoc, use a heavy-duty moisturizing mask after you've shampooed your hair. Making sure you saturate each and every strand of hair with the mask, leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse out with cool water. You'll find your hair is much silkier and smooth.
GOOD TO KNOW
Load a wide-tooth comb with leave-in conditioner and comb through your hair. Or, use a spray-on leave-in conditioner and comb through hair with a wide tooth comb.
The best advice is to stay away from heat tools if your hair's been fried by the summer. If you must use that dryer or flat iron, though, make sure you use a heat-protectant product to minimize damage to the cuticle, and once you're done styling, rub a few drops of vitamin E or jojoba through hair to keep hair looking silky and shiny.