Have you noticed that your hair becomes drier, more fragile and dull during summer? While swimming is great exercise and a fun way of cooling down, for many of us, it wreaks havoc on our hair.
The biggest problem sea water causes is dehydration. Our hair’s water content is what makes it elastic and moisturised.
When the hair’s natural moisture is lost by evaporation, dehydration occurs. Because of its high salt content, salt water is naturally osmotic, meaning it draws moisture out of your hair.
This can result in dry, dehydrated or brittle hair. Salt water is also known to be particularly cruel on hair colour.
Chlorine, often used in swimming pools, isn’t much kinder. A powerful anti-bacterial agent, it excels at keeping nasty germs and bacteria out of the water, but strips the hair and the skin of its natural oils, which can result in dryness and dullness. It also has a nasty habit of giving blonde hair a green tinge and fading darker hair colours.
Luckily, not all is lost – there are small precautions you can take to protect your hair from the effects of the sea and the swimming pool. Here’s how.
* Soak your hair in fresh water before you go swimming. Your hair can only absorb so much water, so if it’s saturated with fresh water before you get into the pool, it won’t be able to absorb much chlorine or sea water, meaning less damage!
* Keep a leave-in conditioner in your beach bag and apply it regularly. Leave-in conditioners keep hair soft and moist, making it more difficult for sea water to penetrate the hair shaft. A spray formula is a practical choice for the beach. We love Marc Anthony’s Coconut Oil Detangling Leave-In Conditioner as it’s enriched with coconut oil and shea butter, to restore moisture to dry, damaged hair and help reduce split ends and breakage.
* Shower as soon as you’re done swimming. The best way to avoid chlorine-induced damage is to wash the chlorine out of your hair as soon as possible.
But don’t use a harsh shampoo to get rid of it, as this could make matters worse. Use a gentle shampoo that cleanses thoroughly without stripping the hair of any moisture. We recommend Renpure’s Coconut and Vitamin E Shampoo and Conditioner. This gentle duo adds moisture to the hair while gently (but effectively) cleansing it.
Use a deep conditioner. Exposure to sea water and chlorine means your hair might need something more than just your usual conditioner. Apply a deep conditioner regularly, and be sure to use it correctly to reap the full hydrating and moisturising benefits (yes, that means keeping it on for the full time stipulated on the label!).
Hask’s Argan Oil Repairing Deep Conditioner is a strengthening, hydrating treatment that will repair the look of dry, damaged and over-processed hair, while helping to reduce split-ends and leave the most damaged hair soft and nourished.
If you’re blonde, opt for blonde-specific hair care products. This will help prevent chlorine from altering your hair colour and minimise the colour fading.
Try PRO:VOKE’s Touch Of Silver Brightening Shampoo which brightens hair colour in just one wash. Formulated with a unique mix of violet and blue pigments, this purple shampoo restores your hair colour by removing yellow and orange brassy tones, while optical brighteners add shine.
If you’re not planning to put your head under the water, tie your hair in a bun and secure it on top of your head – this will minimise exposure to the water.