Ahh, summer. You're lying on the beach, sailing on a lake, or kicking back by the pool. Good times, right? But not for your hair. It's battling sun, salt, wind and chlorine. Protect your hair from the elements (natural and not) by following these tips:
Create a Sun Shield
Nothing beats a hat as a protective barrier, but if that's not for you, spritz your damp hair with a spray-on sunscreen. Work it through with a paddle brush or wide-tooth comb, then air-dry. There are no FDA guidelines for SPF in hair products, says Bumble + Bumble stylist Nikki An-Levi, but she, like most stylists, feels they help. In a pinch, she uses spray-on body sunscreen. Try Dove Advanced Care Advanced Color Therapy Hairspray with UV filters ($4.99 at DrugStore.com), or for a sleek finish, use Rene Furterer Protective Oil with KPF (Keratin Protective Factor) 90 ($23 at Beauty.com).
Be Heat Wise
Go easy on the blowdryer, flatiron, and curling tools, says Mikael Padilla, a celebrity stylist for Wella Professionals in L.A. "The less heat styling you can do the better. Sun is just another type of thermal damage." Let hair air-dry about 80 percent, then blow dry using the cool or warm setting.
You can also turn the heat around, and harness its power by working through a hydrating mask, suggests An-Levi. "The sun's heat helps it penetrate better—it's like sitting under the dryer." Try Bumble + Bumble's new Creme de Coco Masque ($25; visit BumbleandBumble.com for locations).
Blow Off the Breeze
The windblown look may be sexy, but cruising in a convertible with your ends whipping around can wreak havoc on your hair. "If it's loose in the wind, it feels dirtier and you can get breakage," says Marcy Cona, Creative Director of Color and Style for Clairol. So wrap it up with the Boho-look Goddess Wraps by Kreative Mindz ($18 to $28 on Etsy.com).
Take the Plunge
Chlorine and salt are harder on hair than sun or wind, says Sebastian Professional stylist Cori Bardo. Before you hit the pool or ocean, drench your head with plain water. The hair follicle, which acts like a sponge (especially if it's colored or chemically treated), will soak up the water—but nothing else, says Bardo.
Then, work through a leave-in conditioner, like Potion 9 Lite ($15.95 at SebastianProfessional.com), a spray-on treatment styler from Sebastian with ingredients to protect against heat and humidity. If your hair is color-treated, use a regular conditioner for your tone, such as Pantene's Color Expressions ($4.99 at Target.com).
Post-swim, rinse your hair well, and use a clarifying shampoo. If you swim often, mix it half and half with moisturizing shampoo. Follow with an extra-moisturizing conditioner. Try Salon Selectives Moisture Rich shampoo and Moisture Renewal conditioner ($4.49 each at DrugStore.com).
Also, if you swim every day, wear a swim cap. Wet your hair, coat it with conditioner, and pull it into a ponytail or bun to help the cap slide on without tugging.