Last updated: May 20, 2009
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The bright sun, sand from the beach, chlorine from the pool—even your neck-cooling ponytail—can take toll on your hair during the summer. Here's how to protect your hair from summer and get a whole seasons worth of gorgeous hair days.


Keep it clean
Wash your scalp only, then rinse, suggests River Lloyd, a stylist at Sally Hershberger Downtown in New York City. The suds will run down the length of your hair, gently cleansing without drying it out.

Never shampoo before swimming, as this “strips away your protective oils, leaving hair vulnerable to drying chemicals and salt,” according to celebrity stylist Adir Abergel.

Detox your locks. Post-swim, use a shampoo with ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid, like Frederic Fekkai Marine Clean Detox Shampoo ($23). “It grabs hold of chlorine and pulls it from hair,” says Mario Russo, a salon owner in Boston and Vermont.

If your hair is fine, look for a shampoo with a clear formula. “Creamy shampoos are more moisturizing but can weigh down fine hair,” Abergel says.

Add moisture
Quench parched locks. Louise OConnor, owner of OC61 Salon and Spa in New York City, suggests this DIY mask: Blend 1/2 avocado with 2 tablespoons olive oil; apply the mixture to your hair, and rinse after 20 minutes.

Do pre-plane prep. “Smooth linseed oil on your ends to prevent dehydration while flying,” suggests David Evangelista, creative director of David Evangelista salon in New York City.

Deep-condition weekly, using a treatment loaded with moisturizing shea butter, like Sleek.look Miracle Reconstructor ($16).

Get more from your mask. Waiting for a deep conditioner to sink in? Wrap your head in a silk scarf. (It doesnt suck up beneficial ingredients like a towel can.)

Frequent-swimmers Rx: Coat hair with neem oil before swimming “to protect and hydrate at once,” says Sulekha Hilton, a colorist at Sally Hershberger Salon in Los Angeles. Try Now Foods Neem Oil ($6.79).

Create healthier strands
Eat protein for stronger hair. “Hair is made of keratin, a type of protein,” says Philip Kingsley, a trichologist in New York City. “Adding protein-rich foods, like fish and nuts, to your diet can help reinforce it.”

For extra-weak strands, use a weekly at-home deep-conditioning treatment, like Samy Beyond Repair Professional Intensive Hair Masque ($5.99; drugstores). It works by forming a protective sheath around frayed cuticles.

Hair is fragile when wet, so dont tug a brush through your wet strands after a dip in the pool. Instead, prevent breakage by misting on detangling spray then running a wide-tooth comb through your strands. Try the Plugged In Wet Look Shower Comb (at left, $1.39.

Dont pull sopping hair into a tight pony. “The hair tie can create split ends in the middle of the hair shaft,” says Samy, owner of Samy Style Beauty Lounge in Miami.

Make a fortifying mask by blending 1/2 banana, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 egg whites; apply, wait 15 minutes, then rinse and shampoo. “The protein-packed egg whites help strengthen hair,” says Ben Stewart, color director at Cutler/Redken Salon in New York City.

Style without stress
To get beachy hair, make a salt spray with this recipe from John Masters, owner of John Masters Organics: Dissolve 1 tablespoon sea salt in 8 ounces warm water; add 10 drops lavender oil, shake well, and spritz onto wet or dry hair.

Add waves with this before-bed trick: Wrap damp sections of hair around the middle of cotton tube socks, and tie off the ends. In the morning, remove the socks, and tousle your strands. “Socks are comfier than rollers and give you a loose wave,” says Jet Rhys, a salon owner in San Diego.

Start with a primer, which “seals and protects wet hair with a thin layer of conditioners, making it easy to style,” says cosmetics chemist Jim Hammer. Try Bain de Terre Prime Time Styling Foundation ($12).

For an easy updo, twist your hair into a chignon and secure it with large pins, which wont break strands like rubber bands can. Try Sta-Rite Gold Hair Pins (at left, $1.99; Sally Beauty Supply stores).

Bring on the shine
Apple cider vinegar—a natural clarifier—restores shine by wiping out mineral deposits and chlorine, says Keith Shore, a colorist at Sally Hershberger Downtown Salon. Dilute 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar in 1 cup water, pour it over just-washed hair, and rinse.

Use an oil treatment before you shower. Dry hair absorbs more shine-enhancing ingredients than wet, according to stylist Nathaniel Hawkins.

Rinse with cool water after conditioning so the cuticle lies flat, creating a smooth, reflective surface, Rhys suggests.

Fight frizz
Run a dehumidifier at night during humid summer months to pull frizz-inducing moisture from the air.

Avoid heavy stylers in summer. Instead, try a leave-in conditioner, like Aveeno Nourish+ Condition Leave-In Treatment ($6.49; drugstores).

Nix frizz at the beach by slicking back your hair with a little coconut oil and braiding it loosely. “When you free your strands at night, theyll look glossy and wavy,” says Kyle White, a colorist at Oscar Blandi Salon in New York City.

To tame fly-aways along your hairline, spritz aerosol hair spray onto an eyebrow brush, and smooth over strands. “You can target problem pieces without spraying your whole head,” says Matrix stylist Mark Townsend.

For an emergency frizz fix, keep dryer sheets on hand. “Glide one over fuzz to smooth and add shine,” says Laurel Staple, a stylist at Cutler/Redken Salon in New York City.

Blow-dry in an air-conditioned room to keep hair from frizzing and help it dry faster, reducing damage.

Prevent damage
Soak your hair with tap water before going in the pool or ocean. “Hair saturated with clean water wont soak up as much salt or chlorine as dry hair,” says Doug Di Canio, a stylist at Blow, the New York Blow Dry Bar.

Deep-six split ends. “Products cant mend split ends—you have to cut them off,” Kingsley says. The only fix? Get a trim every six weeks to prevent splits from spreading up your hair shaft.

Sleep on a satin pillow case. The slippery fabric keeps hair from breaking.

Protect hair with a scarf on boats or in convertibles. “Thrashing winds shred your hair” beyond repair, Hawkins explains.

Save your shade
Keep colored hair healthy by using nonpermanent dyes that contain conditioning ingredients, such as Clairol Natural Instincts ($8.99; drugstores).

Cut down on salon visits this summer. To stretch the time between highlight appointments, stay close to your natural color, Lloyd says. Roots will look less obvious (and youll save cash).

If the sun overlightens your locks, have your colorist weave in strategically placed lowlights to create a soft contrast and tone down brassiness, Stewart says.

Blend away your handful of gray hairs with an ammonia-free glaze three times a week. Try John Frieda Collection Luminous Color Glaze ($9.99; drugstores).

Enliven faded locks with a tea rinse—chamomile for blondes, black tea for brunettes, Red Zinger by Celestial Seasonings for redheads. Rhyss recipe: Steep 4 tea bags in 1 gallon boiling water 5 minutes; let cool before pouring onto clean hair. Put on a shower cap; shampoo after 10 minutes.

Wash every other day, since cleansing daily can cause color to fade. Try a shampoo safe for color-treated hair, like Aveeno Nourish+ Moisturize Shampoo ($6.49; drugstores).

Brighten up blonde or light brown hair: Mix lemon juice with conditioner, apply to damp hair, and let it dry in the sun.

Get cozy with color-depositing conditioner, which disguises roots in a pinch. Massage through hair; rinse. “Its like a translucent stain that veils roots until you wash,” White says. Try those by LOreal Professionnel Colorist Collection (at left, $17; LorealProfessionnel.com).

Boost volume
To add lift to your hair midday, spritz locks with water to reactivate stylers, flip your head upside down, and run your fingers through the roots, says Louise Galvin, a colorist in London.

Stop hair from falling flat by misting an oil-controlling spray onto your roots. Try John Masters Organics Deep Scalp Follicle Treatment and Volumizer ($21).

For a no-sweat style, blast roots with the cool shot on your dryer then sprinkle on a dry shampoo to restore height and absorb grease. Try Blow Faux Dry Dry Shampoo ($20)

Treat curls with care
Heat can rob curls of moisture and encourage them to suck up pouf-promoting humidity from the air. Apply a frizz-fighter—, and let curls air-dry. Try Organix Revitalizing Anti-Frizz Serum ($6.99; Target stores).

Be hands-off. Dont fluff or touch ringlets until theyre totally dry to keep them shapely, advises Dickey, founder of the Hair Rules line of products.

To keep hair hydrated, skip drying alcohol-based styling products, like hair sprays, in favor of moisturizing leave-in conditioners and styling creams.

Stick to scissors. If your hair is wavy or curly, ask your stylist to skip razored ends. “They tend to frizz out and look unhealthy in warm weather,” says Nunzio Saviano, a stylist at the Oscar Blandi Salon in New York City.

Escape sun damage
Rub sesame oil—a natural UV filter—onto the ends of your hair before hitting the beach, Rhys suggests.

Prevent brassiness by applying a UV-blocking spray 20 minutes before going outside, says Russo. We like Miss Oops Block Your Locks ($14; MissOops.com).

Protect your scalp from rays, by running lip balm with SPF along your part or misting on a clear sunscreen.

Wear a hat when outdoors; avoid ones made of loosely woven materials, like straw, which allow sunlight in.