Labor Day is fast approaching, which means it's only a matter of time before the end-of-summer blues start to hit us. In our opinion, the best remedy is as much pool, beach, or outdoor time as we can squeeze in before we're back in bulky sweaters drinking pumpkin spice lattes. But as much as we want to fill the remaining days of summer, it's also very easy to damage your Hair doing so. The elements can do a number on healthy hair, no matter your type or texture, while chlorine can dry hair out, fade color, and cause breakage.
To prevent damage ahead of fall we spoke to professional hairstylists and colorists for tips on how to keep hair healthy as you take on all the summer activities that you can. It turns out that the key lies mostly in prevention. With a little know-how — and a few essential products — you’ll be able to enjoy every bonfire, pool party, and BBQ that's left in 2018.
Read on for 12 tips on how to protect your strands as you bask in what's left of summer.
No matter how many hair-care products you have in your arsenal, according to celebrity hairstylists and cofounders of Los Angeles-based Nine Zero One Salon Nikki Lee and Riawna Capri, protecting your strands starts with keeping hair free of buildup. This can be done with a rinse or a shower filter, and is important to consider in the summer when hair can attract more buildup, thanks to pool and ocean water.
“I recommend the Raindrops filtration system year-round, but especially during the summer,” says Lee. “If you start with a clean canvas, your hair is more likely to survive the summer elements. This one filters out unwanted minerals like iron, chlorine, and rust, that can build up in your hair. It also increases pH balance to give you a marvelous mane.”
Raindrops Raindrops Luxe - Filter with Shower Head bundle, $120, available at Raindrops 901
Steel Yourself With Salad Dressing
Okay, not actual salad dressing, but kind of close. “Start by doing an apple cider vinegar rinse,” says Capri. (In addition to going great with arugula, the acid balances your scalp’s pH, stimulates growth, and seals cuticles, among offering other hair-health benefits.) dpHUE’s formula blends nutrient-rich apple-cider vinegar with argan oil and aloe vera, gently removing impurities without stripping your scalp of its natural oils.
dpHUE ACV, $32, available at dpHUE
Detox Your Strands
For a DIY solution to scalp buildup, try this easy home remedy: “Mix a half cup of sparkling water, half cup of apple-cider vinegar, and juice from a quarter of a lemon into a spray bottle,” says Kattia Solano, hairstylist and founder of New York-based Butterfly Studio Salon. “Apply to dry hair from roots to ends [until] it's fully saturated. Massage into your scalp for a few minutes as it absorbs, then rinse thoroughly. Follow up with a clarifying shampoo and, if desired, your favorite hair mask. Keep the DIY theme going by adding a natural fruit, nut, or vegetable oil for an additional moisture boost.”
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, $6.99, available at Amazon
Protect Your Hair Before Taking A Dip
Fun fact: Color-treated, highlighted, bleached, and naturally light locks require more upkeep — especially during pool season. “Chlorine can wreck your hair by drying it out and, if you’re blond, by leaving it green,” says Solano. “To cut down on the amount of chlorinated water your hair absorbs, first coat your strands with a silicone-based product (John Frieda’s Frizz Ease Extra Strength Hair Serum is amazing), which works to keep chemicals from penetrating hair.” No products on hand? “Wetting your hair with tap or bottled water before you jump in the pool also helps,” says Solano.
John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength Hair Serum, $11.99, available at Ulta Beauty
Multitask At The Pool
"Hanging in the pool or at the ocean are great opportunities to treat your hair," says celebrity colorist Amber Maynard. "Just smooth a mask through your hair, pull it into a bun, and then go swimming." With its active ingredients like plant-based proteins and cupuacu butter, this affordable option makes for the perfect beach bag addition.
Garnier Damage Eraser Strength Reconstructing Butter Hair Mask, $4.94, available at Walmart
Your Hair Needs SPF, Too!
After you’ve slathered sunscreen all over your body, don’t forget to apply some on your colored strands too. “Putting sunblock on your hair protects against fading,” says Garnier stylist Tommy Buckett. “There are a few products on the market that can be misted or sprayed onto wet or dry hair to protect color.” Sun Bum’s UV-protecting spray-on formula is perfect for tossing into your beach bag, but in a pinch, Buckett says you can rely on regular old cream sunscreen.
Sun Bum Beach Formula 3 In 1 Leave In Treatment, $14.99, available at Ulta Beauty
Remove Chlorine The Right Way
Post-pool party, you’ll want to remove any chlorine residue lingering in your hair. If a simple rinse with water doesn’t cut it for you, Butterfly Studio Salon hairstylist Jennifer Penny suggests using a vitamin-C spray: “Vitamin C, specifically ascorbic acid, neutralizes chlorine. There are several sprays formulated to specifically remove the residue left by pool water on your hair and skin. You can even make your own by mixing vitamin-C crystals and water.”
SwimSpray Chlorine Removal Spray , $10.6, available at Amazon
Prevent Dry Locks
No summer is complete without a few beach sessions, but drying saltwater can take its toll on your strands. By injecting hair with intense moisture first, you’ll help prevent brittle locks and breakage. “Saturate hair in a conditioner or oil beforehand,” suggests Penny. “Secure in a topknot or braided style to prevent tangles. This is a great time to use those hotel conditioners you have lying around.” Another alternative is Davines’ lightweight oil, a formula made with breathable silicone that protects strands and antioxidant-rich roucou oil.
Davines OI Oil , $44, available at Amazon
Make No-Heat Styling Your Friend
Despite your best precautions, a long day under the sun can bake your strands. To quickly revive your hairstyle for evening, Solano suggests twisting hair into a knot and securing with a chopstick. You can do this on damp hair or hair with a bit of grit from the beach; just mist with water first!
“I prefer chopsticks over ponytail holders because they never leave marks in your hair and hold the style,” she says. Leave the updo in place for anywhere between 20 minutes and all evening, then release the knot for increased volume and movement. Though any old pair of chopsticks will do, France Luxe’s version is the perfect combination of fashion and function.
France Luxe Hair France Luxe Hair Stick Pair, $28, available at France Luxe
If You Must Blowdry, Opt For Ions
Instead of adding more heat to your hair during the summer, ditch the hot tools whenever possible. “Give your styling tools a vacation and focus on healthy shampoo and conditioning habits,” says Head & Shoulders celebrity stylist Sunnie Brook Jones. “However, if you are going to use tools, make sure they’re ionic so they compress the cuticle and create a smooth, glass-like surface on the hair.” Our suggestion? For those willing to pay a premium, Drybar’s portable ionic dryer works efficiently and looks great on your bathroom counter.
DryBar Buttercup Blow-Dryer, $195, available at DryBar
Pick A Richer Leave-In
To condition strands in the summer without weighing them down and leaving a greasy finish, coconut oil’s the key — just make sure it’s diluted with water. “Apply coconut oil on the ends to add shine and protein back into your hair and fight frizz,” says Jones. “To use, mix the oil with warm water in a spray bottle and spray on after showering.” Coconut also makes a great beach or pool hair mask: Just wet hair with plain water, apply a bit of oil, and pull hair into a braid or bun.
Kopari Beauty Organic Coconut Melt, $38, available at Sephora
Soothe Your Scalp
If all else fails and you still wind up with a sunburned scalp, hasten the healing process by following these steps: “Use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo with cool water, followed by a natural conditioner,” says Kuen Rameson, founder of hair-care line Gloss Moderne. “Avoid using your blowdryer or any heating tools until the scalp has healed. Blot, don’t rub, with a soft towel. You can also apply aloe vera to soothe and moisturize burnt areas.” Gloss Moderne’s shampoo is made without sulfates, which can potentially dry out your hair — the last thing a sunburned scalp needs! And next time? Wear a hat!
Gloss Moderne Clean Luxury Shampoo, $48, available at Gloss Moderne
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