So you’ve gotten fit and healthy for your holiday after our first few articles in this series; hopefully you feel good and look good. Until you look in the mirror and realise that the sun and chlorine is doing a number on your hair. After our previous articles, you’ll know how to grow healthy hair, but what about looking after the hair you already have?
Conditioning with deep treatments and masks
The summer sun not only dries out hair, but heat raises the hair cuticle which leads to frizz and breakage. Run two fingers down a hair strand. Is it smooth or rough? If it feels rough it is raised and you definitely need to condition; conditioner is alkaline, which helps flatten the hair cuticle and add elasticity. Deep conditioning treatments and masks are different to conditioners in that they provide a more intensely moisturising treatment. A deep conditioner may not always specifically be labelled as such; instead, look for conditioners that have water as the first ingredient listed, and indicate that they should be left on the hair for some time, even if it is only for a few minutes. Additionally, salt and chlorine can be drying to the hair; if you’re going swimming, slaver hair in conditioner (for the pool) or fresh water (if you’re heading for the seaside) to protect it.
Don’t comb your hair after coming out of the pool or sea, when it is soaking wet. But also, don’t comb hair when it is very dry or frizzy. Imagine an elastic band; a too-wet elastic band will weaken and snap, whilst a too-dry, frayed elastic band will stiffen and snap. You need to find a middle ground; comb hair when it is damp, starting from the ends and gently working upwards.
A lot of people are wary about putting oils ONTO hair, but, in smoothing the hair cuticle, oils can actually be great for eliminating frizz and encouraging a healthy sheen. Sparingly, apply a natural oil such as coconut or olive after conditioning to lock in moisture and encourage a healthy – NOT greasy – glow. You may also wish to try a hot oil treatment.
If your hair is excessively greasy, you may want to use a clarifying shampoo. Increased sun exposure can cause the hair and body to produce more sebum than usual; clarifying fortnightly can remove this oil build-up and keep hair fresh. Most hair product lines have clarifying shampoos; good examples are Herbal Essence’s ‘Fresh Balance’ clarifying shampoo, or Redken’s ‘Hair Cleansing Cream’. Avoid shampoos that contain sulphates or parabens, as clarifying is harsh enough without these products, which are used in detergents. If your hair is naturally dry, do not clarify more than once a month or so– stick with baby powder or cornstarch if hair gets greasy to reduce slick.
Skip straightening and blow-drying
Avoid excessive use of heat on your hair, especially in warmer climates. Instead of using dryers and straighteners every day, opt for the occasional beach waves or buns. Air-drying after washing may cause frizz, especially in warm weather– for smooth hair, tie an old satin T-shirt or scarf around your hair and leave until dry. When you do use heat, make sure you apply a serum beforehand to prevent burning.
When was your last trim? The sun sucks moisture from your hair; if your ends are split, this damage will travel further up the strand the drier your hair gets. After trimming, make sure your ends are protected and not rubbing against rough clothes or bags–they are the oldest part of your hair and the most delicate.
We hope you enjoyed our series of Health Tips, remember to share them if you like them!