Summer means sun, surf and dips in the pool, but all this fun is murder on your haircolor. Keep it looking luminous this summer – and beyond.These simple strategies will help protect your investment.
The Sun is Not Your Friend
Sad, but true. We all know how UV rays damage our skin, but sun exposure can also oxidize and lighten both single process color and highlights. And the lighter your hair, the worse you’ll fair. To curb the damage, wear a hat whenever possible and use styling products, like leave-in conditioners, with a built-in SPF. Regular sunscreen works in a pinch, but it can make hair greasy, so save it for emergencies. In addition to bleaching your color, the sun can also leave hair dry and brittle. After a day outdoors, pamper your locks with a deep-conditioning treatment.
Ready to Take the Plunge?
Hair is extremely porous, but like a sponge, there’s only so much water it can absorb. That’s why it’s important to give your tresses something else to soak up other than salt water or chlorine. Before going for a swim, saturate your hair with tap water and run some conditioner through it (whatever you use in the shower is just fine or choose one with an SPF). And if you dunk your head while swimming, repeat the process to get the salt water and chlorine off your hair. Then slick hair back and put on a hat.
Tropical getaway in your future? If so, plan to have your color done at least two weeks before your departure date. Color usually takes about 2 to 3 shampoos to set and you don’t want to hit the beach until your new hue has had a chance to really bond with your hair. It’s also a good idea to tell your colorist about your trip, since there are ways to make your hair less vulnerable, like giving you slightly darker blonde highlights (to make up for the bleaching affects of the sun) or choosing single process shades less prone to brassiness.
If, despite your best efforts, your color ends up sun-scarred, don’t despair. Just visit your salon for a color glossing treatment which can infuse hair with shine and tone down brassiness. Color-extending shampoos and conditioners can also put the luster back into a faded hue.
Play it Cool
When you shampoo and condition, rinse with the coolest water you can stand (hot water is dulling), to boost shine and make your color look brighter. What’s more, cool water closes the hair cuticle and will help keep chlorine, salt water and the sun’s rays from penetrating. Some communities have very hard water which can discolor and strip your new look. If yours is one of them, invest in a shower head filter.
Beat the Heat
Heat styling is another major color fader, so take advantage of the warm weather and just wash and go. If you must blow dry or iron your hair, keep styling tools set on medium and spritz hair with a heat defense spray.
Products labeled as volumizing are designed to open the hair cuticle so it appears thicker, but this also speeds up color loss. Skip these products and use only formulas for color-treated hair.