Summertime means swimming and more time outdoors. Between the hot sun, salt water, sweat, and chlorine, you hair can really take a beating. But if you add a little TLC before and after the pool or the beach, you can keep your locks looking lovely all summer long!
Use a leave-in conditioner or natural oil (such as coconut oil) before you go in the water.
This protects the hair shaft by coating it so the salt or chlorinated water can’t soak into your hair. A great way to do this is to make a spray to take with you in your beach or pool bag. Measure out 4 teaspoons of your favorite deep conditioning hair mask and add 4 cups of water to it in a mixing bowl. Mix very well with a whisk until all the lumps of conditioner are blended in. Pour into a spray bottle and close tightly. Before you go swimming, shake the bottle and spritz on your hair.
If nothing else, at least soak your hair with fresh water before swimming.
Most public pools have showers where they want you to wet down before swimming anyway, or you can bring a bottle of tap water with you. Simply get your hair good and wet with the fresh water before you go in. This saturates the shaft of the hair, filling it with water so it can’t absorb any of the damaging ocean or pool water into the center of the hair shaft where it does the most damage.
Go old school and wear a swim cap.
If you swim daily, the best thing to do is protect your hair with a swim cap that keeps the water out entirely, plus keeps your hair dry as a bonus! Your grandmother knew what she was doing when she put that funny looking rubber cap on. Like you, she invested time and money into getting her hair colored and styled, and she wanted to protect her investment. If you decide to take this approach, why not go full-scalevintage and get a cap with the textured decorations and flowers? You can embrace hipster irony and protect your hair at the same time!
Get the pool or ocean out of your hair after swimming.
If there’s an outdoor shower handy, run your head under it after you get out of the pool, or have another bottle of fresh water with you for a quick rinse. Once you can get a real shower, hop in and clean your hair with a gentle shampoo. Follow up with some leave-in conditioner.
Shampoo less frequently in the summer.
Save the shampooing for the after-swim showers. Otherwise, try to go a few days between washings. Most shampoos strip protective oils from your hair, and those help keep your hair from drying out when you are spending a lot of time in the sun. If you find your hair getting too greasy, use a dry shampoo to soak up the excess oils. If you absolutely need to shampoo daily, use the gentlest shampoo you can find, and make sure it doesn’t have sulfates.
Take the summer off from hair products that contain silicone.
Give your hair a break from silicone-based products. They can make your hair look smoother and shinier, but they also coat the hair and prevent moisturizing treatments from soaking in. In summer, you need the moisturizers to be effective. Silicone hair products also have a tendency to attract dirt and pollutants, which can dull your hair and make it feel more greasy. That doesn’t help when you are trying to shampoo less!
Use a clarifying rinse once a week.
The products you are using to protect your hair can build up over the days. Remove extra residue by dousing with a clarifying rinse once a week. Choose a specially made one from your local drugstore or beauty supply, or simply use apple cider vinegar.
Try hair care products made specifically for swimmers.
Competitive swimmers and people who swim as their main exercise swear by the shampoos and conditioners made especially for them. These used to be more of a specialty product, but nowadays you can find them almost anyplace that sells hair products. If you are spending a lot of time on the beach or at the pool, consider trying these specialized products on your hair, too.
It’s all too easy for warm weather fun to lead to frazzled hair. But if you make a few simple habit changes and take some easy extra steps before and after swimming, you will have no problem keeping your hair looking its best all summer long!