I'm sure we can all agree on the fact that summer is excellent. At least when it arrives in the UK, that is. But do you know what's not excellent? The havoc that warm weather can play with your hair. No matter how healthy your hair might be beforehand, the sun, heat and more time spent outdoors can put even the strongest of hair at risk of dryness and breakage. And if you have any chemical treatments or colour on your hair, then you have to be even more diligent at protecting your strands during the hotter months.
"Too much exposure to the sun can wreak havoc with hair texture and without protection can lead to it feeling dried out," says celebrity hairdresser Lorraine Dublin. "If you have bleached your hair or if you have any colour on it, the sun can also cause it to fade out, so it's important to add extra products into your routine to counteract it."
First off, we’re just going to come out and say it: The best way to protect your hair in the sun is to wear a hat. It’s the only way to guarantee that the heat won’t dry out your hair. The second best way to prevent sun damage is to spritz on a thermal protector with UV protection. "If you're going to be by the sea or by the pool, my key product has to be Kérastase Soleil Huile Sirène (£26)," says BaByliss ambassador Syd Hayes.
Treat this like you would an SPF for your face and body, and apply at least 15 minutes before you head outside to give it time to sink in and start working.
Think about the hours you spent in the salon and the money you’ve dished out for your perfect colour—now let’s not throw that all away for a couple of hours in the summer sun. "Most of us love our hair to feel brighter for the summer and crave that sun-kissed feel," notes Zoë Rees from Bliss Hair Therapy, so protecting it is key. The products that you need to maintain your hair depends on the colour and tone that you've opted for. Blondes will need a purple shampoo and conditioner to knock out brassiness; cool-toned brunettes should opt for blue shampoo; and deep, dark, warm brunettes will need green haircare. Along with using a toning duo weekly, Rees recommends an in-salon toning treatment every six to eight weeks for a glossy shine.
"A treatment mask is like a five-minute hair makeover. It helps deeply hydrate and restore hair, which is key for repairing dryness, damage and frizz," says Ouai founder Jen Atkin. Remember prevention is better than cure (so load up on the heat protection as mentioned before), but if your locks are feeling a bit frazzled, then incorporating a weekly hair mask will help you on your way to restoring softness.
"Remember when using a mask, this goes after your wash, so you finish with the conditioner. This way, you really are nourishing your locks and locking in moisture," notes Hayes.
A mask that's great for your hair and scalp? Sold. Slather this on from root to tip—it won't weigh your hair down but will strengthen it with the proteins included and leave your scalp soothed thanks to calming aloe vera.
While summer hair trends tend to err on the side of low-maintenance, it doesn’t mean that we don't want our hair to look like we've made a bit of an effort—right? Of course, beachy waves are a key summer style, but they are very rarely coiffed on the beach. The trick to keeping hair healthy while styling it as normal is picking good tools that get the job done quickly with as low heat as possible. Take the BaByliss Hydro Fusion Hair Dryer (£60), which is designed to dry hair quicker without compromising on condition. "The dryer will speed up your drying time keeping the cuticles flat and shiny," says Hayes.
The Dyson Airwrap (£450) is designed to curl and wave the hair using air—hence the name—making it a gentler option than a traditional ceramic styling wand. Or if you want to forgo tools altogether for heatless curls and waves, then perm rods are a great option.
This is defintely an investment buy, but if you curl or wave your hair often, it's my top pick for the gentlest form of heat styling.
#5 Texture Enhancers
Humidity, water sports, salty beach air… There are many things at play that can make our hair feel as unknown to us as the warm climate when we're on summer holidays or a staycation. If your hair isn't playing ball as you try to coax it into your normal style, then it's better to go with it than go against it. If frizz is taking hold of your texture, then plait your locks away for the day or just before bed, and mist with a styling spray. "Finish with a texturiser like the Eleven Australia Dry Finish Texture Spray (£18). It'll give you Instagram-worthy beachy hair for days," promises Jay Boot from Salon B. For curly and coily textures, swap for a curl cream–and–light oil cocktail. When you unravel, your hair will have a great texture and hold without too many flyaways.