Summer may be the season that restores your spirit and sanity, but it tends to do the exact opposite to hair. After a few months of sun, saltwater and chlorine, your strands might be experiencing a little summertime sadness.
“Signs of summer-damaged hair include dull, lifeless strands that won’t hold a style, or overly frizzy locks that seem fried,” explains celebrity hairstylist Jenny Cho. “Your tresses may be dry on the ends or oilier than usual at the scalp. Or your color may have faded or become brassy.”
The culprits here are, of course, UV damage, drying saltwater, chlorine, and haphazard styling. “When at the pool or beach, securing hair with an elastic into a ponytail on wet hair and combing without a detangler is extremely damaging,” says L’Oréal Professionnel Artist Jennifer MacDougall.
After a summer of abuse, here’s how to nurse your locks back to health.
Take a 360 approach. When it comes to reconstructing damaged strands, there are three microscopic zones of each hair you need to treat, MacDougall explains. To target Zone C deep inside the hair cortex, you’ll want to find a product with lactic acid. Moving outward, the middle Zone B needs keratin and ceramides for restructuring and reinforcement. Then, the outer part of the hair, Zone A, needs lipids to smooth the cuticle and create an insulating barrier to lock in nutrients. In order to have healthy hair, you need to address the needs of each zone. “L’Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Lipidium repairs and reconstructs dry, damaged hair with Lipidium Technology, which targets each zone of the hair,” she notes, giving you all of the crucial ingredients in one easy system.
Know your hair’s needs. “A tip to remember: Finer hair needs more proteins to plump hair and make it stronger and fuller,” says celebrity hairstylist Jeanie Syfu. “Courser hair needs moisture and emollients to fill the cuticle so hair is soft and sleek,” and leave-in conditioners work best for longer hair.
Get a trim. The summer’s end is the perfect time to clean your hair up with a good trim or new style. “It doesn’t have to be drastic, but the new season is a great opportunity to cut hair shorter,” Cho says. Removing all the damaged ends is an easy first step to getting a healthy head of hair back—plus, you’ll have a fresh new style going into fall.
Prep for the new season. Speaking of fall, as the weather changes, so will your hair’s needs. “Consider switching up your products to suit your hair needs based on the changing weather,” says Syfu. The weather gets drier, so you want to focus on adding moisture back into your strands. Cho recommends Suave Professionals Natural Infusion Moisturizing Light Oil Spray with Macadamia Oil, because it’s intensely moisturizing, but extremely lightweight. Celebrity colorist Kari Hill also suggests using an overnight treatment to revive hair. She likes L’Oréal Paris Everstrong Overnight Repair Treatment.
Protect against heat. Also, come fall, you’ll probably start using your hot tools in full force again if you took a break during the hotter months. MacDougall reminds us to always protect hair with a primer to nourish strands and provide heat protection. And always remember, when it comes to hair health, less heat is more. “Try and stretch out your style for an extra day to cut down on the amount of heat applied to hair,” says Cho.
Get elasticity back. “Hair elasticity is what makes your hair strong; it’s what gives you bounce and movement,” says Syfu. Without it, your hair will break more and fall flat, making it harder to style, too. In addition to using a weekly repairative treatment (see ideas in the slideshow below), taking biotin supplements will help restore hair’s health and elasticity. And again, try not to use hot tools every day. “This can easily weaken elasticity in the hair and can cause it to break.”
Revive your color. With UV exposure and damage, your dye job can get all out of whack. Blonde hair can turn brassy or ashy, red hair tends to lose vibrancy and fade, and brunette will lighten to reveal underlying brassy red/copper tones, notes MacDougall. And overall, your gorgeous color will probably become faded. To avoid damaging your hair further—overlapping color and getting it dyed too often can be quite damaging, Hill notes—consider seeing your colorist for a gloss. “They are less costly than getting full color and will restore the tone of your original hue while also adding shine,” says Cho.
Before getting more color applied, always talk to your stylist and make sure he or she knows your hair’s story. “You must have a colorist that gives you limits and understands your hair type and needs,” says Hill. “Sure, we all want to try different colors, but you must be smart about it.” Make sure to always use color protection products, like color-safe shampoo and conditioner. Hill recommends the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Color Vibrancy Collection to prevent fade and keep your treated hair as healthy as possible.
Ready for some hair rehab? Check out our favorite new products that repair har damage and restore your strands below.