Hair in summer: it’s the ultimate beauty quandary. To wash the salt, to rock the salt? To embrace the curl, to fight the curl? The questions that plague summer hair are seemingly endless, as hair damage in the hotter months becomes rife. Humidity, chlorine, salt water and sun rays are the four big causes of summer hair damage, so how do we best protect our strands when the temperatures soar?
Here, our guide to caring for your hair in summer. Spritz not included.
In summer, much like our bodies become dehydrated, our hair, too, is parched. Remember, damaged hair is thirsty hair, and thirsty hair is frizzy hair. When hair is damaged, it absorbs water quickly, causing the strands to swell – and in turn creating undesired frizz. When the cuticle layer of hair is raised, it allows moisture to pass through and swell the strand, then starts to split off into little strands which causes a halo effect of frizz. So how to take the fuzz out of a humid day? Extreme heat damage can make hair more prone to frizz, so using smart tools with an Intelligent Heat Control like the Dyson SupersonicTM hair dryer can help reduce frizz and flyaways* (*vs. untreated hair).
We swim a lot in summer. Whatever your local watering hole may be – the salty ocean or a chlorinated pool – swimming is mandatory when it comes to appeasing the Australian heat. Before diving in, prep your hair says hair expert, Monique McMahon of Sydney’s Que Colour. “Cold-pressed plant oils like Christophe Robin’s Moisturising Oil with lavender oil and SPF is filled with five rich, luxurious oils to protect your hair,” explains McMahon. “Add to dry hair before getting into the water, and you’ll still get that beautiful, beach feel and soft waves, without the crunch, while protecting the hair and the colour with the SPF factor. It’s our number one summer product (along with a chic Avenue the Label silk headscarf!)”
Thermal damage is a big player when it comes to weak, brittle hair. We’ve all been guilty of over-styling with hot hair tools (read: ironing our ends in the ‘00s with actual irons), but exposing hair to extreme temperatures actually changes the structure of keratin strands within hair, making hair weaker and less elastic over time. Being smart with your hair tools and choosing stylers that don’t exceed 150C is important. Post-swim dry your strands with the Dyson SupersonicTM hair dryer, which prevents extreme heat damage, meaning happier hair.
Post-swim, swap our your regular shampoo for a cleansing one, advises McMahon. “Don’t go using your usual shampoo after a day at the beach, it will totally dry out your hair. Try the Cleansing Mask With Lemon from Christophe Robin; it has gentle cleansing properties thanks to its lemon zest, and re-elasticises hair to look after condition and colour. No conditioner needed! I love this product for summer.”
Does hair really lighten in the sun? According to Sydney’s top colourist, Monique McMahon, it does. “The hair will be affected by the sun, especially those fine baby hairs around the hairline,” McMahon explains. “They’ll lighten and become warmer.” To keep the lightness but control the warmth, McMahon recommends Christophe Shade Variation Care pockets in Baby Blonde.
Rise and Shine
And if you prefer to cut laps as oppose to idle by the shore, chemical damage from chlorine can occur. Chlorine in swimming pools can damage the cuticles by stripping their natural lubricant, affecting smoothness and shine. Don’t compromise your hair’s star power and use the Dyson SupersonicTM hair dryer, armed with thermistor guards which help protect your hair’s natural shine.
As we let the sun shine in, we also need to protect ourselves – and our hair – from UV. UV light causes the proteins and lipids in hair to degrade, weakening the hair fibre structure and making it difficult to repel water. Prolonged UV exposure can cause discolouration, frizz and breakages, so McMahon advises a UV protectant and haircare that has SPF. “You should definitely be using a UV protectant. Australian sun is so harsh and can strip your colour in minutes.”
As for the best hairstyles when it’s hot out, embrace your natural tendencies and go with the flow (or wave). “Before you go in the water, apply a protective, plant-based oil to allow your hair to air dry in a softer, more natural form,” says McMahon. “Once 90% dry, apply moisturising cream and push or press it into the cuticle (rather than rub), allowing it to dry in its natural wave or formation.” Ride the wide of hair accessories and add a chic clip to really elevate your summer hair look. “I think in summer, a girl’s best friend from beach to spritzer is a French hair pin to drag one side up, or a loose top knot – half up, half down,” she recommends. “And wear a hat! And no wet ponytails, they’ll cause breakage. A hair pin is a much better, gentler option.”
The Ultimate Summer Tool Kit: