As much as many of us love the glorious sunshine, sometimes the soaring temperatures which we’re currently enjoying (especially when coupled with high humidity and the dreaded fizz factor) can leave our hair feeling neglected as we ‘scrape’ it back into an unloved ponytail or hidden under a cap in a desperate attempt to stay cool…
But, by staying sun-aware in the summer and following just a few simple steps as part of your regular, all-year-round routine, you can really help to keep your hair and scalp looking and feeling healthy, whatever the weather.
Trichologist Eleanore Richardson Msci MIT, Consultant Trichologist (Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic) and Chair of the of Institute of Trichologists, Eva Proudman, share their top tips on how you can achieve healthier hair come rain or shine:
- Nourish your body and your body will nourish your hair. Hair is the body’s last priority when it comes to ‘growth’, so make sure you are getting in all your key nutrients including protein to ensure the body has enough to spend on your strands. If you’re heading to the coast this summer, why not treat yourself to some protein-packed seafood such as prawns, fresh tuna or even oysters (all of which are also good sources of other important vitamins and minerals essential for hair growth).
- And, when on holiday make sure that you wash and moisturise your hair to remove the effects of sun, sea, sand and chlorine from the pool. Our hair always needs moisture – but more so when exposed to the elements – so do try to look for good moisturising products as part of your holiday hair care routine.
- Whilst you’re taking a break, why not take a break from heat and colour treatments. Both dry out the hair shaft, leaving it porous and more likely to snap and split which means dull, weak hair in need of a good trim. When it comes to heat and colour, less really is more!
- UVA from the sun’s rays is responsible for colour changes to the hair, especially on chemically coloured hair where it can cause the colour to fade, lighten or cool blondes to develop warm gold tones. Colour-saving shampoos and conditioners are now widely available and can help to tone the hair colour back to your desired shade, should it start to suffer under the sun.
- Book in regular trims every 3-4 months (always be mindful of when your usual hairdresser might be taking holidays over Christmas and the summer months, so you don’t get caught out). Regular trims help to remove split ends that can continue to dry the hair out and lead to breakage and as a result a difficulty in maintaining length. This should be done on wet or damp hair. Ideally, no blow-drying or straightening should take place beforehand even if you have afro hair.
- UVB rays damage the hair lipids, thus making the hair dry and dull. Sunlight also damages the disulphide bonds in the hair (the bonds that give the hair its elasticity and strength) so the sun really can be a problem when it comes to the overall health of your hair. Enjoy the sun safely and do embrace that daily dose of Vitamin D which is proven to be beneficial for everyday health, but do also think about wearing a hat, cap or scarf, when you are out and about in the sunshine.
Be particularly cautious is you’ve experienced any level of hair loss or have noticed that your hair has thinned (perhaps as a result of menopause or post-partum hair loss). If any part of your scalp is visible, then the sun can burn it, just like any other part of your skin, so always use a mineral-based sun protection cream to prevent the damage caused by sun burn.
SPF protection sprays are widely available for the hair and should be used if you are going out in the sun for any length of time.
- Whatever the time of year, always invest in a good conditioner. A well-designed conditioner will reinforce the outer cuticle of the hair shaft and provide some resilience to the everyday wear and tear we endure. Eleanore recommends a Peppermint Stimulating Mask.
- Be aware of how much you naturally shed. Everyone sheds hair on a daily basis – and sometimes you might notice it more at a particular time of year (so-called ‘seasonal shedding’) but if you are noticing more shedding than normal it may be a sign of an underlying health condition or nutritional deficiency. Get it checked out early on with a qualified Trichologistwho can assess your hair and scalp health.