Hair Care in the Sun
Blog by Key Contributor, Aderans Hair Centre Trichologist Elizabeth
With summer just around the corner we are all getting excited about living under the warmth of the sun, relaxing by the pool while sipping our favourite cocktail. Whether it be a staycation or vacation we all want our hair to look picture perfect for those holiday snaps, our social media feeds or just to that we can feel good about ourselves when on our break.
So why is it the summer can wreak havoc on our hair, giving us -in place of those sun kissed, luscious locks that we lust after- a dry, frizzy, faded version of what we want?
The sun omits UVA and UVB rays and prolonged exposure will damage the outer layer of the hair, called the cuticle, making the hair dry, brittle, frizzy and fade your colour. These effects can be just as damaging as applying bleach to your hair. The sun weakens the protein structure of the hair, de-moisturises it and reduces the elasticity. As hair grows only 1.5cm per month the mid lengths and ends of your hair may have seen many summers so the damage is magnified. Just like how fair coloured skin burns more quickly than darker skin the same goes for hair. Light fine hair will not fare as well as dark thicker hair.
We are now so used to applying SPF creams and lotions to protect our skin from the damaging effects of the sun, but we tend to forget about our hair. Well, it is dead I hear you cry! This is technically true, but without protection and replenishing the moisture that has evaporated your hair will never look as good as it could.
But it’s not just the sun that can damage your hair, cooling off in the sea or pool adds 2 more troublemakers in the form of salt and chlorine. Chlorine can even turn blonde hair green!
Follow these rules and your hair will be in tiptop condition all summer long.
- Wear a hat, simple.
- Buy a leave-in conditioner with SPF incorporated and spray on liberally before going out in the sun or make your own. Purchase an oil free SPF suntan lotion and mix with water in a 50:50 ratio.
- Avoid sitting in the sun in the middle of the day, that’s when it does the most damage.
- Protect hair with a conditioner if regularly swimming, it will form a barrier against salt and chlorine. Rinse hair with clear water after each swim and reapply.
- Use shampoo and conditioner to suit your hair type.
- Apply a weekly moisturising mask. Make your own with 150ml of full fat milk to soften and 1tbsp of Honey for moisturising. Mix, apply, wrap in shower cap and towel then leave for 10 mins before partaking in your usual shampoo and condition ritual.
- Green hair! Wear a swimming cap, arghhh! Or treat with baking soda mixed with water, apply as a paste, leave for 5 mins wash and condition. My favourite is to apply tomato ketchup, yes that’s right ketchup. It neutralises the green tones. Another trick is to saturate the hair with non-chlorinated water before entering the pool as to reduce the amount of chlorinated water it further absorbs.
- Tie your hair up when swimming, if it doesn’t get wet then it can’t go green!
- Although salt can create wonderful waves in the hair it is also very drying so moisturise, moisturise, and moisturise.
- Don’t over style, let it dry naturally. Avoid heated styling tools, but if you need to use them make sure they are not hotter than 160 – 180 degrees, tops. Just take smaller sections of hair to achieve the look you’re after.
In the words of the great ‘down under’, “Slip! Slop! Slap!”, cover up and slap it on. Happy holidays.