While many people enjoy swimming at a local pool all year round, summer is the season when most of us are likely to dip a toe in the water. Whether it’s in the sea beneath a blue sky and hot sun or a pool at some idyllic holiday resort, the summer months are when we get our hair wet.
While it’s great to leave the workday routine behind and enjoy a break, there are some routines you need to maintain. Your haircare routine is chief amongst these. The combination of saltwater, chlorine and hot sun can spell disaster for your tresses unless you take steps to protect them.
Read on for some vital holiday tips on how to keep your hair in top condition!
What’s the Damage?
While the levels of chlorine used in swimming pools won’t damage your health, they are strong enough to kill bacteria. That also means that they’re capable of damaging your hair. Excess chlorine can strip the natural oils from your hair, leaving it dry and prone to split ends. It can also remove the colour from your strands. Saltwater has a similar effect and could leave your hair feeling rough, dehydrated and frizzy.
If the threat to your hair from all that water isn’t enough, there’s also the effect of the sun to consider. UVA and UVB rays can bring about the same kind of discolouration and dry, brittle hair that chlorine and saltwater cause.
That’s all the bad news out of the way. Now, here’s what you can do to protect your hair while still enjoying the sun, sea and swimming pool.
Wear a Swim Cap
The less hair you expose to the water and sun, the less damage it will suffer so a swim cap is plain commonsense. Wet your hair (don’t use pool or sea water!) before putting the cap on, as this will make it easier. You can use hair oil if you prefer. Try and get as much hair as possible to fit under the headgear.
Choose a latex or silicone swim cap if you can. They’re more water-resistant than lycra or polyester caps.
Soak Your Hair Before and After Swimming
Access to most indoor swimming pools these days is through the shower area. There’s a reason for that. Standing under the shower before you use the pool is an effective way of removing contaminants from your hair and body before you carry them into the water. Beaches in popular holiday resorts also provide showers to help you rid yourself of sand.
A shower is also a good way of protecting your strands from chlorine, as your hair will soak up the water. This has the effect of diluting any chlorine you pick up in the pool and acts to limit the amount that can be absorbed in the first place.
Rinsing your hair thoroughly with clean water when you exit the swimming pool or sea is vital, as it removes any harmful chemicals you’ve picked up in the pool or sea. Wash your hair properly as soon as it’s convenient. Use a clarifying shampoo and apply a leave-in conditioner.
Add Extra Hydrating Products to Your Haircare Routine
If you know you’re going to be in the water and out in the sun, it pays to throw a few extra products into your travel bag. Hair oil, hair serums and moisturising conditioners will all help combat the dehydrating effects of sun, saltwater and chlorine.
Coconut oil, olive oil and jojoba oil provide your strands with a protective layer that stops chlorine and harmful elements in saltwater from being absorbed into your hair
We’ve mentioned the importance of rinsing your hair thoroughly when your time in the water is over but that’s not where your post-swim routine ends. You should allow your hair to air dry if possible. If you’re pushed for time, finish off drying with a microfibre towel. Using a blow-dryer will simply add to the problems of dry hair and frizz brought on by the water. Similarly, if you’ve been in the sun all day, does your hair really need more heat?
Take care if you need to comb or brush your hair while it’s still wet. This is when your hair is at its most vulnerable. There are all sorts of brushes and combs available on the market; make sure you use one that can remove tangles without tearing your hair at the roots.
Hot sun, salt water and chlorine can spell trouble for your tresses. Taking just a little time to think about your hair before and after swimming can save you the heartbreak of dry, brittle strands and split ends.
If you have any concerns about the condition of your hair, or if you’re worried about hair loss and thinning, why not speak to a hair expert at Vinci Hair Clinic? We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all our new clients. Get in touch and book your appointment – we have clinics worldwide!