It’s summer and millions of Brits are heading off on their annual foreign holidays. But with temperatures expected to soar to record highs across Europe, what do you need to do to ensure your stays in tip-top condition?
Hair Expert Alice Dawkins of Milk + Blush has compiled an easy guide of the best sun protection tips and tricks for your hair…
Wear a Hat/Cover
A common myth surrounding hats is that they’re only necessary for people to wear in the sun if they have little to no hair as they protect the scalp from sun damage, but that is wrong.
While hats do provide extra cover for the scalp against strong UV rays – especially in areas where your hair is thinner – they protect the hair from sun exposure, too.
When exposed to too much sunlight, the UVA and UVB rays can strip moisture from the hair and damage the hairs protein and cuticle, resulting in dry/brittle ends, frizziness, split ends, discolouration or even thinning.
Plus, if you get your hair coloured, wearing a hat is your best bet in locking in your hairdresser’s hard work for longer, as the sun will lighten the colour of the hair by stripping its melanin.
So, grab a hat and make sure it covers your head properly. It’s still possible to get a hat that is a great fashion accessory AND sun protector.
UV Protection Products
Wearing a hat may seem like a sensible solution, but it’s not the only thing you can do to protect your hair from sun damage.
As for your skin, there are several sun protection products that you can use on your hair and scalp to protect it.
Look for water-resistant UV protection sprays, heat oils/primers, or mineral parting powders that will lock in moisture and colour while protecting your hair from the heat and elements.
And if you’re more for natural remedies, look out for products with ingredients such as coconut oil (SPF of just over 7), Karanja seed oil (SPF of 20), shea oil (good for scalp and hair health) or plum oil (an antioxidant superhero).
Protect it from chlorine and salt water
While going for a dip might be the only solution to cool you off, chlorine and salt water can leave your hair feeling dry and damaged and your scalp irritated.
If you’re someone that regularly dyes or applies treatments to your hair, then swimming can cause it to become more dry, porous, and brittle. Porous hair is much more likely to absorb oxidised metals in the water, such as copper, which leads to discolouration.
Before swimming, saturate your hair with plenty of fresh water to reduce the amount of chlorine or saltwater clinging to your hair cuticles and apply a leave-in conditioner or conditioning spray to create a shield around the freshwater already in your hair.
Consider wearing a swim cap during your dip is the most hair-friendly option to keep any chemicals away or try to keep your head above the water as much as possible.
After swimming, rinse your hair with fresh water to eliminate any excess chemicals that cling on to the bonds and leave it feeling dry.
Invest in shampoos and conditioners made specially to combat chlorine or sea salt, as these are packed full of moisture, gently remove chemicals from the hair and cleanse the scalp.
Avoid Heat Tools
It goes without saying that using heat tools can be damaging for your hair health.
However, during the summer months, it’s best to try and avoid extra heat on your hair as the sun’s rays are already adding that extra heat.
Try and avoid using curlers or straighteners where you can, or at least limit your usage.
Instead, try plaiting your hair overnight or use texturising sprays to give it that extra volume.
And let your hair dry naturally in the morning before the sun is at its hottest, or if you’re short for time, turn your hairdryer right down to the lowest setting.
Give your hair and scalp extra nourishment and consider deep conditioning treatments overnight after a long day in the sun.
Leave-in conditioners are a great way of adding moisture to your hair.
Lightweight conditioners are best for fine hair, whereas conditioners with a lotion-like texture are best for curly hair and heavier treatments if your hair is thicker.
If you’re after something that you’ve likely never tried before, try rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar before shampooing for clean and glossy locks. Alternatively, try mixing a ¼ cup of mayonnaise, one egg and ¼ cup of yoghurt as a conditioning treatment for half an hour to treat dry and sun-damaged hair. This will leave your hair looking shinier and healthier all summer long.
Avoid brushing your hair too often, instead opt for a gentle wide tooth comb as this will minimise further breakage.
And be wary of shampooing your hair every day. Instead, wash your hair in lukewarm water or use a gentle cleansing shampoo and rinse gently to avoid extra pressure on your scalp.