Love lounging round the pool and soakin’ up the sunshine? So do we! But it’s no secret that there are some nasties hanging out there with us. Our hair can take a major hit from chlorine and UV rays on our summer hols if we’re not careful. Don’t get us wrong, we wouldn’t wish away the gorgeous weather for anything, but it pays to protect your hair when you’re by the pool. Before we dive into the must-haves, though, it helps to know what these bugbears do to your ’do.
Chlorine is coloured hair’s worst nightmare, especially if you’ve gone for some blonde highlights this summer. Lengthy colour chemistry aside, unless you’re after a tint de Shrek – that’s green-tinged hair, since you ask – trust us when we say that this antiseptic chemical ain’t your mate. It dries out the hair shaft, causing strands to become brittle and prone to breakage, so you’ll be saying so long to silky smoothness. As if that wasn’t bad enough, chlorine strips your hair of its natural oils, making it lose its shine.
And the plot thickens. When we’re sun-worshipping by the pool, we may be topped up on sun cream, but those UVA rays can wreak havoc on our hair, causing colour changes – so divas with dyed hair need to take care. UVB rays cause protein loss, making your hair more porous, which means it’s gonna suck up all the bad stuff, like chlorine.
We know this sounds like a hair horror story but, as with most beauty problems, there’s lots you can do to curb a crisis…
Use a hair sunscreen
Yup, sunscreens for hair do exist, and we can’t recommend this one enough, tbh. Ultrasun UV Hair Protector is a must-have in your poolside beauty bag. It’s just like sun cream for your hair, with hair-specific UV filters that protect every strand from sun damage. It locks in colour and prevents damage from chlorine and salt water. Apply liberally to wet or dry hair, and this suitable-for-all sun protectant will work a treat. We’re totally here for it *adds to basket*.
Remember how we said chlorine strips your hair of its natural oils? You can prevent this by slicking up your strands with a protective layer of coconut or olive oil. Both are great for your hair anyway, leaving it feeling super-soft and nourished, but they also work a treat in the water. Think of them as a protective coating, helping to stop chlorine coming into contact with your natural hair oils.
TOP TIP: Need help choosing between the two? Olive oil is lighter and won’t weigh your hair down as much as coconut oil. But if your hair can take it, coconut oil is the cheaper option. You can also prep your hair for free by wetting it with fresh water before you jump in the pool. Saturating hair with water makes it less porous, so it won’t let in as much harmful chlorine.
Now for some post-poolside tips. Wash your hair asap with a shampoo and conditioner formulated to help chlorine-damaged hair. L’Oreal Elvive Summer Saviour Shampoo and Conditioner are great for this. They’re affordable and contain all the right stuff to help your hair bounce back. Give your hair a good wash to cleanse, rinse with tepid water to get rid of the bubbles, and finish with cold water to seal the hair cuticle.
Treat it to beat it
Sometimes your hair will feel rank, no matter what you do. That’s when the deep treatments come in. If you’re a regular swimmer, or you’ve spent a whole summer in and out of the pool, weekly treatments are a must. Chlorine makes hair dry and brittle, so help to get it back into condition with a Maui Moisture Strength & Anti-Breakage + Agave Hair Mask, which pumps your hair full of natural oils, improving elasticity and preventing breakage.