We may not get year-round sun here in Ireland, but we are an island, and swimming is one of our most popular past times. Often it is, unfortunately, quite easy to spot a swimmer just by their hair. As we know pool water contains chlorine, which can become trapped in hair, especially if it is dry, porous, or sensitised. It in a way crystallises in the hair and creates a very artificial shine or glaze on its outer surface and makes your hair rigid and prone to breakage. It can also distort your colour, making the reflect either brassy, mucky, or sometimes green.
Sea water also contains colour distorting mineral salts and metals, which can build up in your hair to make it fragile, sensitised, dehydrated, lacklustre, and alter your hair colour or tone.
Here are some amazing products to help you keep your healthy hair on track, or even bring it back to its former glory. There are for main things to take on board when a swimmer cares correctly for their hair. One, is mineral remover, two, is a nourishing shampoo, three, is the perfect conditioner/mask, and four, a protective shield to help reduce the absorption of the pesky things full stop.
First and foremost, that unwanted mineral build-up has got to go, or even better, not have a chance to bed-in at all. Thankfully, there are lots of wonderful remedies available these days to suit everybody’s schedule and lifestyle.
Color Wow Dream Filter is a cult classic at this stage, and with good reason. This easy-to-use spray goes into your hair for approximately 3 minutes before you shampoo. Dampen your hair with it, wait 3 minutes and proceed with washing your hair as normal.
Joico K-Pak Clarifying Shampoo is another option to replace your shampoo, but not to replace your ‘normal’ shampoo full time, to be used just after you swim, or occasionally worked into your routine if you live in a hard water area.
Up next you will want to use a nourishing shampoo, focused on whatever your leading concern is, such as weakness, dehydration, or colour protection. To help strengthen your hair, repair internal damage in each strand, give natural volume, and remain weightless, I’m a huge fan of Olaplex Shampoo. It works to rebuild the disulphide bonds within your hair and is vegan, sulphate free, paraben free, silicon free, gluten free, nut free, and cruelty free. If it’s hydration you need Joico Moisture Recovery Shampoo is ironically rich in sea kelp, sea water nutrients, and brown algae, none of which will build-up on your hair, but rather help it to increase moisture levels and protect the hydrolipidic barrier. It will also increase the elasticity of your hair, helping to strengthen and repair it and reduce breakage. A beautiful option, that is suitable for all hair types and sun worshipers, is Kerastase Soleil Bain Apres-Soleil which will remove any salt, sand and sun protection products from your hair and scalp. It is UVA and UVB protective, shields your hair colour, creates a hydrophobic barrier, enhances manageability, smoothens, and reveals the most beautiful shine.
Step number three is to nourish your hair, for this you can use a conditioner or a mask, whatever your calls for. Some lovely choices are ELEVEN Australia's Repair My Hair Nourishing Conditioner with not only restrengthens and repairs fragile and damaged hair, it also protects your hair up to 220 degrees Celsius. If you’re looking for something to nourish, soften, and rehydrate your hair without weighing it down try AVEDA Nutriplenish Light Moisture Conditioner. It is super moisturising and gloss revealing, but exceptionally light and suitable for finer hair types. For our curly and coily haired beauties look no further than Kerastase Curl Manifesto Nourishing Butter Hair Masque , rich in Manuka honey and incredibly moisturising, it will tame frizz, define shape, fight humidity, repair, strengthen, and protect sensitised hair, and increase manageability and shine.
There is a new kid on the block also, L'Oreal Professional Metal Detox, which you can use as frequently as you like, will remove even the smallest metal particles, is colour safe, and will help to strengthen your hair. With a corresponding mask this dynamic duo will help to rehydrate and repair hair effected by mineral/metal build-up, has UVA and UVB filters, and is completely intermixable with other types of haircare. It is also sulphate free and therefore suitable for use on hair extensions.
Our final step to perfect haircare for fun in the sun is a protective shield. My personal favourite is ELEVEN Australia's Miracle Hair Treatment which is a wonderful leave-in conditioner, but also a UV protector, colour protector, repair milk, detangler, heat protector, and it helps to prevent the absorption of chlorine and other free radicles. And it smells like summer holidays. If you suffer from a tired scalp, and want to help remove mineral build-up and residue from your scalp, NAK Scalp to Hair Mineral Defence Leave-In Treatment will protect your hair and scalp form absorption, infuse your follicles with stimulating, anti-aging ingredients, and remove residue. As it is an invigorating protect, don’t use on sun burnt skin or scalp.
Last, but not least, is the amazing Kerastase Soleil Creme UV Sublime, personally my favourite sun protective haircare product. You can apply and reapply it throughout the day to UV protect your hair, deeply rehydrate, and shield your hair against humidity. It smells divine, and works to heal your hair through rich Vitamin E. A great all-rounder and suitable for all hair types.
These easy to implement steps will detox, cleanse, nourish, and shield your hair from summer sun and long days spent in or by the water, but, if you need any further advice please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Haircare Educator, Haircare Department