7 things My Hair Doctor wants you to know about your hair health this summer.
Golden-hued skin, glasses half full of some icy cocktail and light, balmy evenings – there are plenty of things about summer to get excited about, but perhaps not the effects it has on our hair. “One of the biggest complaints about hair that I receive from customers in the summer is the unwanted change in colour,” says Guy parsons, founder of My Hair Doctor.
“In summer, colour tends to get unwelcome warmth, revealing orange tones in medium to dark colours and green or brassy tones for blondes.” Guy adds that over exposure to sunshine and poor preventative measures, also mean he is frequently confronted with concerns about the dry condition of the scalp and hair. From green tints to dried out locks, the sun, pool and sea can all have their downsides for our hair.
Here are 7 things you should know about summer and your hair health – and what to do to beat the bugbears.
The heat does not affect hair health. Despite a little frizz from the humidity, it’s not the heat that affects the health of your health – it’s all the sun’s fault, reveals Guy: “The heat from the sun itself doesn’t affect hair, as hair is quite resilient to temperature and can withstand up to 180˚ before keratin becomes damaged. However, with summer heat comes summer light and UV light has probably the most naturally damaging effect on our hair fibres. Sunlight literally degrades the fibres of our hair. The hair is made from approximately 18 different amino-acids (protein chains) and some of these are highly sensitive to UV light, so the longer the hair becomes the more light it has been exposed to and the weaker and duller it becomes!”
Only outdoor pools will turn your hair green. If you’re a blonde and treat every pool with trepidation, don’t panic. While swimming in an outdoor pool may run the risk of a slight green tint, indoor pools probably won’t have any affect. Guy explains why: “This depends what swimming pool you use. If your hair is porous (processed) the ‘green hair phenomena’ does not happen in indoors pools, only outdoor ones. It’s the copper in the pipes transporting the water to the pools that causes the hair to go green – not chlorine itself – so in hot countries, outdoor pools (due to evaporation) have a concentrate of copper salts in the water, which are easily absorbed by porous, damaged hair… then it goes green!”
Pool stinging your eyes? The more chance it’ll dry your hair out. If your eyes start stinging from the chlorine, it could potentially be drying out your hair at the same time. Guy says: “Chlorinated salts, the stuff that dissolved in the pool from your body (sweat, sebum, skin, etc.) binds to the chlorine and causes the stinging sensation you feel in your eyes. The more your eyes sting, the more dissolved debris there is in the pool and this can also have the drying effect you feel on your hair afterwards.” Iain also explains that a paddle in the sea may also leave your hair dry. “Salt in the sea leaches water out of your hair,” he says. “The hair is saturated with salty water, which, as it dries, takes out more moisture. Making the hair feel very dry indeed.”
Prevention is key in minimising holiday damage to your hair. On top of getting a wax, or a manicure and pedicure, prioritise treatments for protecting your hair. “To prevent ‘green hair syndrome’ when abroad, try a pre-treatment of the hair with a quaternary ammonium conditioner that inhibits the copper binding to the hair,” explains Guy. “Firstly, inform your colourist you are going away, as they will be able to advise the best course of action and colour technique for you to adopt on holiday. Then, in the weeks leading up to your holiday invest in a moisturising or a bond restructuring treatment, such as My Hair Doctor Keraplex, to ensure your hair is in optimum condition before you continually expose it to sunshine and swimming.”
Use an SPF to protect your hair from the sun’s UV rays “If a hat’s not your style, use a good quality SPF for hair. They can be hit-or-miss and often only go up to SPF 15, so you should reapply every time your hair gets wet. Although, I say it’s best to wear a hat!” says Guy.
Rinse or condition to lock in moisture. If you take a dip, make sure your hair is slathered in a conditioner or oil first, advises Guy. “This will repel the water (to an extent) and the salt, too!” Guy also recommends ensuring your hair is rinsed thoroughly after every swim – whether it’s the sea or pool. “If away for a long period of time, hair masks can be wrapped in cling film for a maximum moisturising affect.”
No, lemon juice WON’T bleach your hair. Anyone who goes about squeezing lemon juice on their hair expecting to see a change in colour are likely to be very disappointed. Guy says this is one of the biggest summer hair care myths: “Will lemon juice bleach your hair? No. Lemon juice is a mild acid and acid has the effect of closing the cuticles of the hair making it more shiny and smooth, but it doesn’t bleach the hair, you will just end up smelling like a toilet detergent…”