Let's Not Split Hairs

An ounce or two of prevention can help shield your hair from the dog days of summer.


 Body and Soul

1. Follow the Rules Before sunning or swimming, apply a leave-in conditioner such as Nourishment by Hair Rules ($20 at hairrules.com). 2. On One ConditionUse Mario Russo’s Intensive Hair Cream ($32.50 at mariorusso.com) twice a month to restore dry and dull hair. 3. Solar Survival Orlando’s Salon Salon uses Aveda hair products, including its new Sun Care line ($20-$26). 4. Take CoveProtect your hair from pool chemicals and UV rays with Swimcap by Philip Kingsley ($35 at philipkingsley.com). 5. Sublime Protectio Several upscale salon lines, including L’Oréal Professionnel, have added sun-protection hair products to their offerings ($21-$30; go to us.lorealprofessionnel.com for local retailers).


You spend a lot of time, money and energy battling the climate’s effects on your skin, using lotions, creams, sunblocks and the like to smooth or protect it. But what about your hair? Many men and women neglect to treat it with the same concern as their skin, yet it is exposed to many of the same harsh elements of summertime. Glopping on restorative conditioner may mitigate the damage after the fact, but you will get better results by focusing on prevention instead of repair.

One of the best weapons against hair damage is also the simplest, says stylist Lulu Mejia of Salon Salon, which has several Orlando-area locations. Before you take a dip in a pool or the ocean, she suggests thoroughly wetting your hair with clean tap water. That way, the hair is saturated and absorbs less of the chlorine or salt water.

For added pre-swimming protection, apply a leave-in conditioner.There are  products formulated specifically to protect hair while swimming, including Philip Kingsley’s Swimcap, which combats both chemical and sun damage with deep conditioning and UV protection.

Rinse your hair thoroughly after swimming as well, recommends Dr. Craig Ziering of Ziering Medical Worldwide, a hair-loss and treatment company based in California. “Sea salt and chlorine are the enemy,” he says, as each can make the hair dry and brittle. The less time these harsh elements spend in the hair, the better, so rinse immediately with water instead of waiting to shampoo in the shower.

Your hair can’t get sunburned, but it can suffer from those burning rays. Ziering notes that overexposure to the sun can lead to breakage, split ends and even dulling of the hair. What’s more, he
adds, “Sunburn to the scalp harms hair follicles.”

If you’d rather not cover your head with a hat or scarf, try a sun protection product formulated for  the hair. Mejia notes that Aveda recently introduced its Sun Care line of hair-care products that protect against UV rays and help cleanse and restore hair exposed to the sun.

Aveda isn’t the only company coming between your hair and the sun: In May, L’Oréal introduced its Professionnel Serie Expert Solar Sublime, a line of cleansing and leave-in hair products for both UV sun protection and after-sun conditioning. Now that the top-shelf salon products have established this new spectrum of sun care items, it’s just a matter of time before mass retailers 
start stocking their shelves with lower-priced versions.

What you put inside your body also can affect how your hair looks. Water is “nature’s safest and best moisturizer for skin and hair,’’ Ziering says, so you should drink plenty of it. Laying off of alcoholic libations, which can dehydrate skin and hair, also is a good idea.
And when it comes to keeping your hair clean and shiny, less is more. If you’re in the habit of shampooing daily, try skipping a day. “One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that they have to wash their hair every day,” says Mejia. “That’s just not good for your hair.” Shampooing too frequently can dry both the hair and scalp—something that should be avoided, especially during the dog days of summer.

“In Florida, it’s a constant battle to protect hair from the sun and chemicals,” adds Mejia. “It’s important to treat your hair like you do your skin by keeping it protected and moisturized.”


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