Endless hours of fun in the sun at the beach and the pool can leave your hair discolored, dry and brittle. The sun’s UVA and UVB rays can act like bleach on hair by damaging its protein and the outside covering of the cuticles. Saltwater that has dried on your head weighs down your hair into a hard-to-manage mess. Chlorine can turn your hair an unlovely shade of green.
The best prescription for keeping hair smooth and healthy is preventing damage. Bleached hair is especially susceptible to UV damage. Protect your hair and scalp by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or hair wrap. You can also try a UV protection hair spray. Rinse your hair with fresh water before you head for the pool. Moisture may help prevent the pool’s chlorine from drying out your strands and changing the color of your hair.
Keep reading for hints on how to smooth those brittle frizzies into smooth, shiny strands.
- Wash the salt or chlorine out of your hair ASAP
A dip in the ocean can leave saltwater and sand on your hair that dries your lustrous locks. If you can’t shampoo, rinse with fresh water immediately after swimming. As soon as you can, cleanse your hair with shampoo.
Any hydrating shampoo and conditioner will work but try to use a specially formulated swim or clarifying shampoo and conditioner. Lather twice if necessary and massage shampoo into your scalp as well.
- Smooth and repair with oil
Massage a few tablespoons of heated oil starting at your scalp and going all the way to the ends. Wrap your hair tightly with a hot damp towel for 30 minutes and then shampoo with warm water.
Coconut, almond, walnut and argan oils are high in nutrients that can help to smooth and repair hair, and they help guard against further heat damage and breakage. They also help replenish the protective oils on the outside of your hair.
- Try a mask
Hair masks can help hide and protect against split ends. This nourishing natural hair mask will help your hair recover. Mix two tablespoons of honey with half an avocado and one tablespoon of olive oil. Apply to hair and leave on for an hour before washing off.
- Stop washing your hair
Not totally, of course, but shampoo less than you would normally. As shampoo removes the buildup of product from your hair and scalp, it also strips oils from your hair. Limit washing to every other day or even less to prevent over-stripping moisture from your locks.
- Use a shampoo and conditioner formulated for dry hair
Shampoos with added moisture can put added hydration back into your hair. Formulas with less intense detergents help prevent stripping too much oil from your hair.
- Rinse with rice water
Cook up a batch of rice and save the water for a rice water rinse. Research shows inositol, an ingredient found in rice water, penetrates damaged hair and repairs hair from the inside out.
- Rinse with cold water.
Cold water can help close the outer layer of your hair, while hot water opens up the cuticle. Rinsing with cool water can hold in hydrating oils and help protect the inner layer of your hair.
- Give your hair a break from hot styling tools.
Heated styling tools like flat irons and blow dryers will only further damage your hair’s zapped cuticle.
- Go easy on brushing.
Vigorous brushing can stretch and break the strands.