The treatments, the products and the insider tips on how to repair and protect hair this summer.
Sun, salt, heated tools and highlights may be the quickest ways to achieve beach-worthy hair but they reap irreparable damage in the long run. Instead here are the best tricks, treatments and products to repair and protect your hair this summer.
Before You Go: The Rules
The Damage Test
“A good benchmark for healthy hair is that it should be able to stretch to a 3rd of its length when wet before breaking,” explains Trichologist Anabel Kingsley. “When hair becomes damaged, moisture content is low, the outer cuticle is raised and perhaps broken, and strands are therefore left dry, inelastic, dull, overly porous, hard to manage and more susceptible to environmental damage.”
The Ideal Cut & Colour
Get a trim to tidy up split ends. “Ideally, you should color hair 8-15 days before going away,” advises hair stylist Christophe Robin. “Keep it subtle and the sun will do the rest. Hair color is easily damaged by the sun, so it’s better to wait until you get back for a full overhaul.”
The Pre-Holiday Treatment
“While there is no way to completely prevent damage to your hair before going on holiday (like your skin, you must use protective products when you’re in the sun),” explains Kingsley. “You can take steps to strengthen your hair beforehand so that it better withstands the effects of the summer elements. The Coconut Breeze Spa Treatment at Philip Kingsley involves an intensive, conditioning hair treatment, as well as a scalp mask to strengthen and revitalizes the hair and bespoke tips on how to care for your hair type while away.”
The At-Home Secret
“Bathe hair in plant oils 2-3 times a week for a few weeks before exposing it to the sun,” says Robin. “For long or damaged hair soak your hair in oil (Robin’s own Moisturizing Hair Oil with Lavender is a cult-favourite) and cover it in cellophane.
Then wrap a damp warm towel around your head. The heat will open up the cuticles and allow the oil to penetrate more deeply. Leave for 5-10 minutes before washing out. Nourished and hydrated, your hair will be stronger and better protected.”
While You’re Away: The Products
The Shampoo: Color Wow Color Security Shampoo
“After being on the beach all day make sure you wash your hair to get rid of chlorine and salt water. Colour-treated hair is more porous, and traces of salt and chlorine will pull moisture and colour molecules out of your hair,” says Nicola Clarke, Color Wow’s Creative Colour Director, whose clients include Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett and Kate Moss. “Color Wow’s sulphate-free shampoo formula is a total departure from other formulas, which are typically loaded with silicones, conditioners and pearlising agents…ingredients that not only make your colour look dull and dark, but can actually clog hair follicles and interfere with growth.”
The Mask: Philip Kingsley Swimcap Cream
“During the summer, our hair has three main elements to contend with: the sun, sea and chlorinated water. Alone, each of these can be damaging, but when you combine them, which is often the case, hair can be left incredibly dry, dull and riddled with split ends.
This is because UV rays and chlorinated water act on the hair much like bleach, which can dry out, lighten and weaken strands. Seawater, with its high salt content, is osmotic – meaning it leaches moisture from the hair,” explains Kingsley. “One product that protects the hair from all of these elements is our Swimcap Cream. Originally formulated for the US Olympic Synchronized Swim Team, it guards hair from UV rays, salt and pool water damage, and at the same time gives hair a hydrating treatment.”
The Trick: A DIY Conditioning SPF
“A week in the sun can cause damage equal to a year’s worth of highlights,” warns Zoltan. “I usually advise my customers to buy conditioner on arrival and mix it with SPF 50 cream or oil. Apply this generously during the day both before and after swimming. It also doubles as a great styling cream – use it in smaller quantities to achieve a beach tousled look for the evenings.”
Once You Return: The Treatments
The In-Salon Boost: John Frieda California Treatments “Take The Plunge”
Post holiday hair often feels dry, brittle and tangles easily while previously fresh color can look slightly green if you’re blonde or dull and dark if you’re a brunette. John Frieda’s “Take The Plunge” is an in-salon conditioning treatment that removes chlorine, bromine copper, calcium, lime and salts from hair, leaving it nourished, strengthened and protected.
The Complete Hair Repair: KeraSwift
“If you have long hair the ends can be 5-7 years old. If you had your favourite handbag with you 24/7 for 5 years – imagine what it would end up looking like if you never treated or repaired it?” says hair texture expert Zoltan “If you’re looking for a frizz-fighting conditioning treatment then keratin ones are still the best,” he advises. “Ask for KeraSwift, which I love because it repairs the hair and leaves it unbelievably shiny but doesn’t cause any further damage (it’s formaldehyde, glycolic acid, paraben and sodium hydroxide free), reduces frizz, protects hair from future damage and has staying power – one treatment will last beyond the summer – between 2-4 months.”
A native Londoner, Amy discovered her love for health & beauty while working at Harper’s Bazaar in New York before returning home to work for Conde Nast, Shortlist Media and Net-a-Porter. Eight years later, the mission remains the same: to discover the products and treatments that really work.