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LESSONS:

SUMMER
HAIR CARE

What you need to know about protecting your tresses from sun, salt, and chlorine damage.

Written ByFIORELLA VALDESOLO

Among the skeletons in the beauty closet of many who came of age in the late 1980s and ’90s, you will likely find a bottle of Sun-In. This drugstore elixir promised to transform us into highlight-streaked California girls, but we know how that ended–it didn’t quite work on brunettes (think: orange) the way we had hoped, and the spray compromised our tresses just as the era’s tanning beds did. Yet unlike the tanning salon, the idea of inviting the sun’s rays into our hair hasn’t been completely banished from our collective beauty psyche.

“Hair can burn, just like skin; we simply can’t feel it,” explains Anabel Kingsley, trichologist (hair and scalp specialist) at New York’s Philip Kingsley Clinic. “UV rays act on the hair in a similar way to bleach; they oxidize strands and weaken their protein structure.” That means prolonged sun exposure can cause hair to get lighter and lose shine; develop a rougher, drier texture; and lose elasticity and become more porous and prone to breakage and split ends. 

Color-treated hair can be especially susceptible to the sun’s most villainous tendencies. London-based hair colorist Nicola Clarke, whose client list includes a roster of A-list blondes (Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss, Kate Winslet), suggests slathering hair with a dense mask to moisturize and create a protective coating against the sun (and the sea). Meanwhile, Kingsley advocates for a water-resistant moisturizing cream with UV filters (like Philip Kingsley Citrus Sunshine Swimcap cream, which was originally formulated for the U.S. Olympic Synchronized Swimming Team) or a scarf or wide-brimmed hat for maximum coverage.

Virgin hair will take less of a beating than its colored counterparts. “Hair that is processed is more vulnerable to the sun because the structure is already weaker,” says Kingsley. However, white and gray hair types are quite vulnerable “because they don’t contain melanin, the pigment cells that give hair its color but also protect it from UV damage,” she adds. When you’re not beach-bound, Clarke says hair protection should still be top of mind: use color-protectant cleansers and an SPF spray like Phytoplage as a safeguard, and reach for deeply moisturizing masks often—or, as she says, “the same way you would treat your skin.”

Below, see seven beauty solutions that are VIOLET CODE APPROVED and ready to deliver your best-ever summer hair days.

SOLUTIONS FOR
SUMMER HAIR

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We can’t stop talking about this perfect, lightweight brush. Throw it in your beach bag to swipe through locks while rinsing off post-dip, or to pull hair off your neck into the perfect ponytail.

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“Crispy hair” can be a fallback from exposure to chlorine, salt, and sun, but in just 10 minutes, this mask restores hair, hydrating from the root to strengthen, smooth, and moisturize locks for shiny, more manageable hair.

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Use this heavenly-scented aerosol powder to create instant lift right from the roots. As it works to add volume, it also absorbs hair oils that can make hair flat, so you can grab for this instead of your dry shampoo.

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Crown Affair’s THE OIL is a cult favorite for good reason–its five-ingredient formulation fights frizz (and hydrates) like you won’t believe. For this limited-edition exclusive, they tapped leading parfumer D.S. & Durga to infuse it with a delicious new scent.

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The sun can strip hair of moisture, and therefore shine, but a few spritzes of this featherweight leave-in-conditioner infuses dull hair with a huge dose of moisture, plus protection from heat.

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We all know the wrong hair accessories can cause breakage, which is a fast way to bad hair days. Keep your hair out of your face (or the pool, or the ocean) and off your neck with these old school-looking 100% Mulberry silk scrunchies.

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Sun, chlorine, and salt water can be damaging to your strands. Use this treatment once a week on clean, wet hair before shampooing for a rush of moisture directly to dried-out hair cuticles. You’ll be left in awe at the improved bounce and shine.