Shelley Levitt

Summer Hair Protection

Saltwater, chlorine, surf-side breezes, the warming rays of the sun on a cloudless day … the elements of a perfect summer weekend can play havoc on your locks. But you can still maintain gorgeous hair -- and even get a conditioning boost from the sun with these easy summer hair care tips.

Use Hair Moisturizing Products

Fried hair isn't just a figure of speech in the summer: It's a reality. The heat of the sun and the exposure to salt, chlorine and sand will open up the hair's cuticle, stripping it of natural oils and leaving behind scorched strands. Use shampoos, conditioners and styling products that contain the words "moisturizing" or "hydrating" on their labels.

Shield Your Hair Color

"Just as there's no such thing as a healthy tan, there's no such thing as lightening your hair in the sun in a way that's good for it," says Beverly Hills hairdresser Jon Patrick. UV rays pull the warmth from color-treated hair, leaving behind locks that are faded and brassy. Even untreated hair can turn dull under the sun's oxidizing rays.

If you're going to be outdoor during the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., make applying a hair care product that contains UV filters -- these can be in spray, gel or cream formulas -- as much of a daily habit as applying sunscreen.

Saturate Hair Before Taking a Dip

Drench your hair with clean water before you dive into the pool or the surf. "Your hair is like a sponge," says Melissa Herst, a stylist at the DiPietro Salons in San Francisco. "If you coat it with clear water, it will soak that in instead of absorbing damaging chlorine or salt."

Lasso the Power of the Sun

If you've ever sat under the dryer for 30 minutes at the salon while good-for-you ingredients soaked into your hair, you know how heat helps a deep conditioning product go even deeper. You can get the same dramatic results by applying a deep conditioner when you're spending an hour or two at the beach or pool (just pack your favorite conditioning treatment in your beach bag).

Put Down the Heat Tools

With all the heat exposure you're getting from the hot summer sun, you want to keep your use of hot styling tools to a minimum. "Blow-drying and flatironing your hair usually does not hold up well in the summer heat and humidity, so it's better to use a styling cream or mousse and let your hair dry naturally," says Dana Lulgjuraj, a stylist at The Butterfly Studio Salon in New York City. For that sexy beachy look, apply a curl-enhancing spray or cream throughout your hair, allow to air-dry (or speed up the process with a blow-dryer set to medium and a diffuser) and work in a light pomade to keep your hair soft and shiny.

Instead of a curling iron, add body or curl to your hair by using rollers on damp hair, says David Kastin, a senior stylist at the Julien Farel Salon. Let air-dry, then remove.

And remember, accessories can more than make up for less-than-polished tresses. "Get some cool pins and clips and just put your hair up," says Kastin. "This also minimizes the amount of hair exposed to the sun."






Summer Hair Protection Tips