How To Repair Two Weeks’ Worth Of Hair Damage From Your Summer Holidays

By Ashleigh Cometti
Summer strands stressing you out? Here’s how to get your hair looking and feeling healthy again. Photo / Apela Bell

Issue an apology to hair ravaged by sun, sea and salt with our expert-approved tips to care and condition.

There’s much to love about summer — balmy evenings dining alfresco, rising early to catch the sunrise for a swim, or spending the afternoon poolside with a cocktail in hand.

In light of this, and to side-step any future damage or breakage, there are a few tress tricks and products you can try to undo the effects of a summer well spent outdoors.

For her hot take on how to keep hair healthy all summer long, we checked in with hairstylist and hair care founder Chloe Zara Munro for her expert recommendations and product picks to revive and restore hair, whilst preventing hair from feeling brittle or appearing dull during your future summer travels.

According to Chloe, UV rays are the biggest culprit when it comes to damaging hair. “Harsh UV rays are a clear standout, however, swimming over the summer in salt water or chlorine can also cause the hair to become dehydrated and fragile, which can potentially change the appearance, colour and texture of hair,” she says.

Don’t want to undo the thousands of hours spent (read: dollars) at the salon? Read on for Chloe’s tips.

Chloe Zara Munro pictured with the latest product to be added to her eponymous hair care line. Photo / Clara Jane
Chloe Zara Munro pictured with the latest product to be added to her eponymous hair care line. Photo / Clara Jane

Ingredients are important

When it comes to caring for hair in summer, hydration is key. This is why Chloe recommends looking to a raft of natural, bio-certified active ingredients to maintain healthy and beautiful summer hair. Hot weather generally brings with it drier air, more direct heat and less moisture (unless you live in Auckland, which sits at about 90 per cent humidity 99 per cent of the time) causing hair to become dry or dehydrated.

To fend off the weather’s drying effects, look out for ingredients that retain hair’s moisture, ensuring it looks smooth and healthy no matter where the mercury sits. Plant-based oils containing essential fatty acids are your best bet, which permeates the hair follicle to boost silkiness and shine. Chloe loves cacay seed oil (what she terms as a ‘miracle oil’) for its ability to restore hair’s condition and defend against split ends. Find it in the Chloe Zara Hair & Body Perfume Oil, $110, a leave-in treatment to seal and retain moisture in the hair, and the Chloe Zara Silk Hair Balm, $54, a restorative treatment mask.

Prevent future damage by incorporating products rich in antioxidants, which Chloe considers a summertime essential. “Antioxidants help combat free radicals from the sun, which can damage both skin and hair,” she says. “Look for products containing antioxidants like vitamin E and C for added protection.”

Viva loves: Sans Ceuticals pH + Shine Corrector, $50, which restores strands’ pH levels from alkaline to they’re usual acidic after being exposed to salt or chlorine, or the R+Co Sun Catcher Vitamin C Leave-In Conditioner, $55, a leave-in conditioner said to protect hair while imparting the ultimate shine.

Before you dive in

There are two schools of thought when it comes to how to protect hair before you swim in the ocean or pool. Pre-moistening hair before your dip means your hair is less likely to draw moisture from seawater or chlorinated pool water — as hair is porous like a sponge and pulls moisture from wherever it can (clever!).

But if you’d rather jump in dry, then misting a protective spray or leave-in conditioner over your hair before swimming is your best bet. Chloe recommends applying her Glossifying Hair Mist, $59, generously all over hair to ensure a protective layer of product has settled on strands. Plus, it helps to eliminate the residue left behind on hair like that from chlorine or salt.

Another excellent option is the Philip Kingsley Swimcap Water Resistant Mask, $50, a hydrating leave-in mask which can be applied to damp hair before jumping in the pool or sea, to keep colour and condition intact.

Smooth on a hair mask

Hydrating hair masks are a must in summer, and Chloe agrees that using one weekly or fortnightly as part of your summer hair care ritual is an excellent way to maintain hair health and kick-start the process of restoring dry, brittle hair.

Chloe is a fan of using the Chloe Zara Silk Hair Balm, $54, as a treatment mask to restructure, strengthen and nourish hair throughout the balmy months.

Similarly, the Oribe Moisture & Control Deep Treatment Masque, $106, looks to coconut and almond oils to quench thirsty hair whilst repairing damage strands in as little as 10 minutes once a week.

Routine brushing

It’s likely your hairdresser has drilled into you not to ever brush your hair while wet, and Chloe echoes the same sentiment. “Never brush your hair wet as it stretches the hair which then causes it to break,” she says.

Instead, try applying a leave-in conditioner on towel-dried or slightly damp hair to detangle strands, before combing. “A wide-tooth comb will gently comb through tangles; start at the bottom of the hair and work your way up to the roots to reduce any hair breakage,” Chloe advises.

Rinse & repeat

If all that sun, salt and chlorine is stripping natural oils from hair enough as it is, should we ease up on how often we wash our hair?

Chloe says that depends on two factors — your hair type and the summer lifestyle you lead. “If swimming regularly and in the outdoors, you will often have the need to wash your hair more regularly,” she explains. “The bonus with warmer weather is you leave your hair to air dry naturally, which will reduce heat damage from the hair dryer.”

Use a heat protectant

Think of a heat protectant like a shield of sorts, bouncing off UV rays and sealing the hair cuticle from the drying effects of chlorine and salt. The best versions contain a cocktail of ingredients that detangle, condition and control frizz, meaning you can spritz them on with the confidence of knowing your hair’s colour and radiance won’t take a hit.

Noteworthy picks including the Chloe Zara Glossifying Hair Mist, $59, which doubles as a detangler and heat-protecting conditioning spray to lend a healthy sheen to hair thanks to the proprietary Oléobooster active ingredient contained within.

Equally excellent is the Ceremonia Guava Rescue Spray, $40, a heat and UV protectant supercharged with guava, butterfly ginger and avocado to detangle and prevent damage whilst imparting intense hydration to hair.

Don’t skimp on your scalp

Sad but true, many people often overlook scalp care as part of their summer hair care. But your scalp can take a beating in the summertime, and this delicate skin is prone to sunburn when exposed to harsh UV rays in peak times of day.

For this reason, Chloe recommends always donning a hat if you’re in direct sunlight, or applying sunscreen to your hairline, parting exposed areas of your scalp to ensure you’re well protected from the sun.

Don’t like the idea of smearing greasy sunscreen into your hairline? Consider the Supergoop Poof 100% Mineral Part Powder SPF35, $82, which promises broad spectrum protection thanks to its high concentration of zinc oxide but dusts on like a dry shampoo.

If, regrettably, you have received a sunburn in your parting, make sure you monitor your scalp for changes — it’s not uncommon for sun spots, melanoma or basal cell carcinomas to crop up over your head.

“Don’t underestimate the harsh UV rays on your scalp, and if you are one to be outdoors a lot then I highly recommend having a regular scalp check by your dermatologist,” Chloe says.

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