A day at the beach is an essential part of summer for many people. While the summer sun, the sand, and the surf can make for a beautiful and relaxing day, all of these elements can have a not-so-nice effect on hair. Sun exposure can cause color fade, dryness, and even scalp damage through UVA and UVB rays, and the salty ocean water and air can zap your hair’s natural moisture.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to enjoy your beach day while keeping your hair healthy and protected.
1. Choose Products with UV Protection
There are lots of mists, leave-in conditions, hair lotions, and hair masks available that offer UV protection and contain moisturizing oils. Make sure to choose products that do not contain sulfates. Instead, look for ones that include some of the following hair-hydrating conditioning agents on the label:
- Aloe vera
- Hydrolyzed keratin
- Hydrolyzed elastin
- Propylene glycol
- Sodium lactate
- Sodium PCA
Do some research and choose products to take along with you on vacation. Spritzing on a protective summer oil or heat and UV protective primer will help your hair stay soft and hydrated, even in the hot summer sun. If you plan on swimming in a pool a lot, there are products specifically made for protection from chlorine.
2. Coat Your Hair in Oil
If you want to forgo buying and packing a bunch of products, you can use a simple oil to keep your hair hydrated. Coconut oil, castor oil, and jojoba oil are all great for locking in moisture and locking out salt and chlorine. Before heading to the beach for the day, coat your strands in an oil. For best results, let it soak in for at least 15 minutes before sun or ocean exposure.
3. Take a Break from Regular Shampooing
While at the beach, it might be a good idea to change up your shampooing routine. Shampoo is, by nature, very drying, and after a few long days in the sun, more dryness is the last thing your hair needs. Professional stylist Kevin Murphy suggests using a “co-wash” (conditioner wash) or cleansing treatment instead. He asserts, “Salt is very alkaline, so the best way to counteract the alkaline is with a conditioner because a conditioner is an acid. The conditioner will balance up the pH and take hair back to normal very quickly.”
Invest in a good dry shampoo to keep you going, and make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly every day you spend at the beach, even if you don’t shampoo it.
4. Try a Clarifying Shampoo
Clarifying shampoos work to remove excess oil and buildup from hair products without drying out your scalp. They provide a deep cleanse that can help clean any sand, salt, or chlorine from your scalp without zapping too much moisture. They also usually contain lots of moisturizing elements. If you’re planning a vacation, try out a clarifying shampoo to help maintain your scalp’s healthy pH balance.
5. Use a Boar Brush and/or Wide Tooth Comb
It is important to use a quality brush tailored to your hair type throughout the entire year. A wide tooth comb is great for tangled beach hair as it gently pulls through strands without breaking them. This is an especially good choice for people with naturally curly hair.
A boar brush is also a great beach brush. According to Kevin Murphy, “You should always use a boar bristle brush as this massages the cuticle layer and does not snap the hair. The boar bristles smooth the surface and help to distribute your natural oil through the hair, giving it more shine.”
6. Protect Your Color
If you have color-treated hair, it is important to protect it from sun fade, especially if you’ll be spending more than a day or so at the beach. In the words of hair color professional Rita Hazan, “One day should not ruin your color. I think it actually makes it a little better. If you feel as though it faded out, use a gloss to revive your color.”
Back-to-back beach days, however, can be a problem, as the sun oxidizes your hair. Dyed hair has also been oxidized, so the sun will accelerate this, creating a need for protection. Make sure to use a masque or leave-in conditioner formulated specifically for color protection. By coating your hair, you are establishing a barrier to prevent the cuticle from opening up and letting go of your color.
7. Rinse Your Hair Before and After Swimming
You probably know that it’s good to rinse your hair out after swimming. After all, your hair probably feels tangled and dirty after exposure to salty ocean water and sand. However, it is also a good idea to rinse out your hair before swimming. Skip the shampoo, but rinse your hair thoroughly before taking a swim. Dry hair is more likely to absorb chlorine and salt, while wet hair is less absorbent.
8. Try a Hat, Swim Cap, and/or Scarf
The easiest way to protect your hair is to cover it up. A swim cap may not be the most stylish choice, but it is certainly the most reliable way to keep your hair safe from the summer elements. In fact, applying an anti-breakage conditioner to your hair and tucking it under a swim cap is a great way to keep it super-hydrated and protected while you swim.
A scarf is an easy way to protect your hair while hanging out on the beach. Look for a sheer, light one that won’t be too hot to leave on for a long time. A wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap can also provide protection for your hair while also keeping your skin safe.
9. Put Your Hair in a Braid or Ponytail
By the ocean, it can get windy, which leads to tangled hair. Swimming can also cause your hair to get knotted up and difficult to detangle. Working through messy, knotted hair after your day at the beach can lead to a ton of breakage. Before heading to the beach, tie your hair into a braid or ponytail if it is long enough. This will hold it in place and make it easier to rinse at the end of the day. You can also soak your hair in conditioner before braiding to really lock in hydration.
10. Get a Hair Cut or Trim
In general, you should have your hair cut or trimmed by your stylist every 6 to 8 weeks or 8 to 12 weeks, depending on a variety of factors. However, starting off your vacation with a fresh cut is never a bad idea. Split ends cause weak, brittle strands that are susceptible to breakage and damage. Getting a trim is a great way to prepare your hair for some extra heat exposure and make sure it is at its best and strongest possible state.
If you are interested in scheduling a free hair analysis in Baltimore, contact Eldorado Hair Replacement today. We offer a range of hair restoration solutions, including hair transplants, extensions, wigs, and more. Call 410-931-3399 to learn more.