There’s nothing quite like a day spent on the beach. The refreshing smell of the ocean, the sand between your toes and basking in the warm sun… It’s the stuff that holidays are made of, and if you’re lucky enough to live near the coast, an afternoon by the ocean is a sure way of recharging the mind and body. But there’s one part of the body that doesn’t always respond favourably: our hair.
If you don’t take the right precautions, sea water can take its toll on your hair, dehydrating it, making it knotty or tangled, fading your hair colour and irritating your scalp.
Like our skin, our hair has a high water content, which is responsible for keeping it elastic and moisturised. If too much of this water is lost, hair becomes dehydrated and prone to breakage. Sea water has a very high salt content and is also osmotic, meaning it has the ability to draw moisture from your hair, and in the process, saturate it with salty water, which has a drying effect.
But before you cancel that trip to the beach, remember that damage to your hair isn’t inevitable. Taking a few tried-and-tested steps before and after your beach visit will ensure your hair remains healthy, shiny and hydrated.
The key to prepping your hair for the beach, is to saturate it with moisture before it comes into contact with sea water. One way of doing this is to wet it thoroughly with fresh water. If your hair is already saturated with water, it won’t be able to absorb as much sea water, limiting the risks of dehydration.
Leave-in conditioner is your new BFF
Another useful tip (and one we highly recommend for dry or curly hair) is to apply a leave-in conditioner before heading out to the beach. Leave-in conditioners keep hair moisturised, making it more difficult for sea water to penetrate the hair shaft.
For textured hair, try Boity Supreme Leave-In Conditioner (R170.00). The perfect formulation to condition, nourish and restore dry, summer-damaged hair. Designed specifically for Type 3 and Type 4 (natural) hair, it is a wonderful treatment product that leaves hair shiny, protected and deeply nourished.
For blonde hair, try PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Leave-In Conditioner (R149.95), which conditions, detangles and helps to protect against heat damage and split ends.
For dry hair, try Hask Argan Oil 5-In-1 Leave-In Spray Conditioner (R190.00), an all-rounder that conditions, adds shine, repairs, provides thermal protection and moisturises to prevent breakage.
To prevent breakage, try Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Treatment (R610.00), which can be applied to damp hair to provide heat protection, reduce friction from brushing and help prevent breakage and split ends.
Use a hydrating shampoo
Washing your hair is essential, but using a shampoo that’s too harsh may strip your hair and scalp of its natural moisture. Use a hydrating shampoo during the summer months to help restore moisture when you are likely to shampoo more regularly. Try:
Marc Anthony Hydra Lock Maximum Moisture Shampoo (R165.00) is enriched with jojoba oil micro-pearls and quinoa protein, which cleanse your hair leaving just the right amount of moisture without weighing hair down.
Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo (R195.00) is specifically formulated with shea butter to nourish dry, brittle and damaged hair. It helps hair retain moisture keeping it hydrated, healthier and prevents split ends and breakage.
Rinse your hair post-swim
In an ideal world, you’d wash your hair as soon as you’ve finished your swim, but that’s not always possible. Second prize is to rinse your hair with fresh water as soon as possible. Many beaches and tidal pools have an outdoor shower under which you can rinse off. Whenever possible, make use of this facility to wash the salty sea water from your hair until you’re able to shampoo at home.
Apply a deep treatment or mask
Exposure to chlorine or sea water makes your hair more vulnerable to dehydration and damage, so you may need something a little bit stronger than your regular conditioner. We recommend applying a nourishing hair mask once a week or a couple of times per month to give your hair the moisture boost it needs. To reap the full benefits, be sure to keep it on a little longer than you would a conditioner (usually around ten minutes). Try:
OGX Argan Oil of Morocco Extra Strength Hair Mask (R209.95) helps to intensely hydrate and lock in moisture. With argan oil of Morocco and silk proteins, this creamy blend helps detangle and revive even the most severely dry, damaged strands delivering superior hydration.
INOAR Absolut Daymoist CLR Mask (R550.00) is developed with flower extracts and an exclusive formula with an ultra-hydrating Daymoist CLR for intense conditioning and shine, recovery of hair elasticity, easy combing and protection of hair damaged by the heat, as well as from discolouring. A fantastic choice for anyone with coloured hair!
Treat your scalp weekly
Did you know that salty water can also have an effect on your scalp? Regular exposure can lead to dehydration of the skin (which can result in flakiness), itchiness and discomfort. Weekly scalp exfoliation goes a long way to remove dry and dead skin cells and revive the skin. Umberto Giannini Scalp Scrub Exfoliating Anti-Dandruff Treatment (R189.95) is packed with natural exfoliants from super fruit enzymes and micro grains of natural walnut shell to remove dead skin cells, bacteria and excess oils to prevent flakes and restore a clear and healthy scalp.
Blondes, take extra care
All hair requires extra TLC if you’re exposing it to salty water, however, blonde hair has the added risk of taking on a green tint when exposed to chlorine in swimming pools, or going brassy when exposed to UV rays and sea water. Maintain your shade of blonde and avoid brassiness by investing in a hair care regime designed for the unique needs of blonde hair.
Creightons Sunshine Blonde Silver Intense Brightening Shampoo (R89.95) has a violet, highly pigmented formula that banishes brassy tones and visibly brightens blonde colour in just one wash. Follow with a tone-correcting conditioner like the Creightons Sunshine Blonde Silver Tone Correcting Conditioner (R99.95). With violet pigments and UV filters, it helps to correct unwanted brassy tones, whilst brightening your blonde strands.
Don’t neglect colour-treated or damaged hair
It’s not just highlighted and blonde hair that needs extra care during summer; all colour-treated hair is at risk. Sea water can strip away the hair’s shine and vibrancy, making it appear faded and dull. If your hair is colour-treated, we recommend investing in a hair care regime that works to protect your colour.
For intense conditioning and glow, restoring ultimate shine, try INOAR’s Absolut Daymoist range. INOAR Absolut Daymoist CLR™ Shampoo (R310.00) and Conditioner (R310.00) put an end to damaged hair while preserving the hair’s colour and vibrancy. With maximum soothing power and ultra-hydrating action to repair damaged hair and restore the hair’s elasticity, this duo works together to preserve colour, protect from discolouring, hydrate and protect.
Then there’s the case of damage-prone or damaged hair. If your hair is prone to breakage, you’ll need to use hair care products that contain ingredients specifically designed to combat further damage. Redken’s Extreme Length Shampoo (R355.00) and Conditioner (R400.00) contain biotin and Redken’s Length Care Complex to help strengthen damaged hair to grow longer and stronger. When the full Extreme Length system is used, damage can be reduced by up to 81%!
Whatever your hair concerns are this summer, you’ll need to take some extra precautions when it comes to going to the beach. But with the right products and care, you can enjoy luscious, shiny and healthy hair without giving up your regular swims!