Help nurse your hair back to optimum health with this simple treatment plan.
Going to the beach, hanging out in the garden--all the things we love to do while it's warm--can mean trouble for your hair, especially if it's color-treated. "Your bathing suit is a good analogy," says Mikael Padilla, a colorist for Wella Professional. "After repeatedly sitting in the sun and swimming in chlorinated water, the material of your bathing suit starts to thin, the elastic gives a bit, and the color fades. Sun has that same effect on hair fibers, resulting in weakened, straw-like, bleached strands."
The Solution: Look for color-extending shampoos, conditioners, or styling products containing a filter to protect hair fibers from UVA and UVB rays. And resist the urge to let nature bleach your hair for you.
Prevention: Wear a hat.
Wash Smart: Avoid protein-based shampoos and conditioners, which can leave hair brittle, advises Josh, a creative consultant for the John Frieda Collection. And lay off the heat appliances and allow hair to air dry.
Sun, chlorine, blow dryers, curling irons, hair coloring, your diet, prescription medications, lifestyle, harsh hair products--and yes warm (and cold) weather--will fry your hair. And unlike UV damage, which is particularly harsh on colored hair, dryness itself doesn't discriminate. All hair types, from normal and oily to colored and curly, will suffer some degree of dehydration.
The Solution: "Get a haircut," says Ben Skervin, a stylist for Head & Shoulders. "Remove a few inches or just a little off the ends. The only way to mend dry, damaged hair is to cut it off."
Prevention: Don't let your shampoo contribute to dryness. Read labels and look for formulas containing great humectants, including panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), linoleic acid, papaya, mango, cocoa seed butters, and silicones, says Gerhard Sendelbach, head of analytic research for Procter & Gamble Professional Hair Care.
Wash Smart: One of the most effective treatments takes little effort--don't shampoo your hair every day. Your hair needs those oils the scalp produces, and repeated shampooing just rinses them away. Start by shampooing every other day. Before bedtime, brush hair starting at the scalp to redistribute the oils so they don't accumulate at the roots. After you've mastered this process, experiment with postponing shampooing three to four days (but you can still rinse or condition if needed).
Lackluster locks? Salt water, chlorine, minerals found in city water, and styling product buildup all rob hair of its healthy shine. Then there's summer's smoldering heat. "Heat makes the hair cuticle swell so it absorbs light rather than reflects it," explains Abbey Theis, a colorist at Arrojo Studio in New York and a spokesperson for Sebastian Professional.
The Solution: Invest in a quality boar-bristle brush that can help distribute the oils on your scalp into your hair. Brush from the scalp to strand for natural shine. To restore luster, look for styling products containing silicones. A great shine serum or spray is a must.
Prevention: "Dull hair is usually the result of using too much heat, heavy styling products, or overprocessing hair," says Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, of Pantene. Steer clear of anything that weighs hair down or causes it to look dirty, such as oil-based conditioners, waxes, sculpting muds, and hairsprays.
Wash Smart: If you swim in a chlorinated pool, use a clarifying shampoo weekly and rinse thoroughly. This helps remove chlorine buildup.