While it’s essential to keep your skin and body protected when frolicking in the sun, all too often our poor locks get overlooked. Here’s how to maintain hair protection at the beach and beyond
While our hearts might like nothing better than spending our summer days submerged in azure blue pools or sunning ourselves on Mediterranean beaches, our hair? Not so much. The sun’s damaging UV rays mixed with humidity, sweat, the salty sea and chlorine is a recipe for disaster when it comes to maintaining our luscious locks, and ignoring the issue can result in some seriously damaging results. “Being exposed to the sun for too long is harmful for the hair exactly like it is for the skin,” explains Myriam Keramane, founder of famed French haircare brand Myriam.K Paris, who has recently set her sights on the Middle East with her regional e-shop. “UVA and UVB rays are responsible for hair damage, while saltwater makes the hair dry and dull by stripping the follicles of the necessary nutrients to maintain optimal hair health and shine. This makes it essential to protect your hair before sun exposure.”
As to be expected, chlorinated pools are the worst, as when we submerge the hair the shaft absorbs the chemical, stripping natural oils and leaving a dry texture. Chlorine is also a nemesis to colour, thanks to its ability to tinge the tone. “If you have your highlights done before going on vacation by the sea or pool, chances are that your hair will be lighter and drier,” adds Keramane. “As sea and pool water tend to dry out the follicle, this impacts the colouration as well. Chlorine can also contribute to a change in colour, especially on blonde hair, causing a green tinge.” While the most fail-safe option for preventing sun damage is physically covering up with a hat or headscarf, be sure to stock up on some essential hair protection products for a double whammy. Look for oils with UVA and UVB filters, while a number of brands have also branched out into haircare products targeted directly at sun worshippers including shampoos, conditioners and after sun masks.
Damage control doesn’t stop when you return home, either, with professional hair treatments essential to nourish and repair the hair on a deeper level. Keramane’s Power Mask is a great at-home option, but if you’d rather leave it to the experts, Pastels salon has just introduced four luxurious signature hair rituals designed to ensure our locks have the best chance of surviving the summer’s stresses. Ideal for coloured or damaged hair, its Post-Colour TLC treatment harnesses the power of Kerastase’s Chroma Absolu range which penetrates the hair fibre’s core for increased strength, resilience and filled porosity. Last but not least, while we know you’ll want your hair in tip top shape for those all-important Instagram photos, it’s actually wiser to wait until you’re back from a trip to both cut and highlight your hair. The cut will rid your mane of damaged split ends and the colour ensures minimal damage, avoiding any nasty holiday surprises. “Those looking to lighten their highlights might like the effect of the sun on their hair colour, but those with darker highlights risk the chance of them becoming red and brassy under the sun,” adds Keramane. That’s a gamble we’d rather not take.
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- Words by Naomi Chadderton