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Why saltwater and heat are your hair’s top enemies during summer

By KAREN AVERION PANGAN Published Apr 02, 2021 11:12 am

Summer is here, which means that—after the new travel restrictions—we will find a beach near us and bust out our favorite swimwear and enjoy the sun.

While everyone is still encouraged to stay home and stay safe, with proper precautions, we can maybe still slip a trip or two for a quick dip in the closest body of water we can get to in the coming months.

But just how prepared are you really for summer? Yes, taking care of our skin is extra important during the hot days, but did you know that your crowning glory also needs some TLC during this season?

In case you didn’t know, spending the day at the shore can wreak damage to our hair the same way as the harsh rays of the sun can ruin our skin. In fact, the combination of salt water, chlorine, and sun are some of the worst combinations that you can subject your locks to.

“Your hair’s water content is what makes it stretchy, elastic, and moisturized,” Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at Philip Kingsley, explained in an article on Huffington Post. “Similar to your skin and the rest of your body, your hair can become dehydrated and dry if too much moisture is lost through evaporation.”

Dipping in a chlorinated pool or the sea can trigger osmosis in our hair strands, causing moisture to leach out.

Something happens when we take a dip in a chlorinated pool or the sea with its high salt content. These environments can trigger osmosis in our hair strands, causing moisture to leach out. This, in turn, results in what we all know as typical dry and brittle summer hair.

Those with colored hair are even more prone to having these problems, too. Since dyed hair has already been subjected to damaging chemicals, exposure to salt, chlorine, and sun can even lead to a dry and rough texture. Since dye and toner strip strands of their natural oils during treatment, our hair becomes more sensitive when exposed to harsh elements like salt water. Not to mention, our hair color fades faster when subjected to the same factors.

How about those sea salt sprays we all love?

Want to have mermaid curls this summer? Experts say it’s best to go easy on your favorite bottle of sea salt spray. These hair products are made to act the same way as when saltwater reacts with our hair so putting them on during your beach trip exposes you to more hair damage. While they are okay to use here and there, moderation is suggested to make sure you don’t wreak too much damage on your strands.

Prep is key

The good news is that you don’t really need to sacrifice your vacation plans just to keep your locks healthy. According to experts, you can still enjoy a good swim as long as you prep your strands for your trip. Below are some hair care tips that can help you do this.

A leave-on conditioner creates a protective barrier on your strands.

Use a good leave-in conditioner. This will create a protective barrier on your strands that will help prevent moisture from seeping out of your locks. When choosing products, go for those with extra UV protection for that extra layer of protection from the sun too. You can even tie your hair up in a bun, or if you are really serious about it, use a swimming cap before taking a swim to keep breakage at bay.

Rinse your hair with fresh water first. Hate having those quick showers before jumping into the pool? Apparently, they help protect your hair, too. Rinsing your hair with fresh water will make the strands absorb it more and less of the chlorine and salt once you take a dip. You can slather on a good amount of leave-in conditioner after this for that double-protection effect.

Do some aftercare. Taking care of your locks after your beach adventures is just as important as preparing your hair for it. Experts suggest that you immediately rinse your strands with fresh water after a swim to take out as much salt and chlorine from it. Using a clarifying shampoo and conditioner is also recommended to bring up the moisture levels of your strands again after your fun dip.

With these tips, you can lessen the worries of suffering from hair damage from your beach or pool trip. Of course, don’t forget to do other safety precautions during your vacay, too.

After all, it’s not just your skin and hair that can be at risk if you decide to step out of your home this summer. The pandemic still demands a level of safety measurements, so make sure to wisely plan your trip before going out.