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Hair Care | Protect

Sun protection for the hair? Definitely

The best thing about summer? Vacations, of course! We all know by now about the importance of protecting our skin – but what about our hair? Did you know it’s just as sensitive to the sun’s UV rays and needs protection and care when temperatures rise? We reveal how to keep locks lustrous this summer

Hair obviously can’t get sunburned but it is indeed affected by the sun, wind, salt water and chlorine. What happens is that the cuticle layer is roughened, making the hair dry and brittle. The ends are worst affected – they start looking like straw as color fades. However, with the right care and attention, you can counteract these effects, so that both you and your hair can enjoy your vacation.

Protect your hair from the sun

Try never to sit in the sun without protecting your hair from the most intense UV rays, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is at its most fierce. Sun hats, caps and bandanas all offer good protection but it’s a good idea to work some sun spray into your hair, too. These sprays have so many benefits: they protect against UVA and UVB rays plus they moisturize the hair and protect against color fade. It takes a while to work, so if you can remember to spray it on your hair before you go out into the sun, you’ll be well protected.

Whether your hair color is natural or done by the hairdresser, hot sun bleaches away the color pigment. You can prevent this happening by using color protection products with a UV filter. Containing proteins and vitamins, these shampoos, conditioners, masks and hair sprays work intensively to protect and treat the hair, bringing back the shine and using antioxidants and light filters to help the color stay lustrous.

Water damage

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The right care can protect your hair from the effects of chlorine

Water – any type of water, whether it’s the sea, a lake or a pool – can damage your hair. The salt crystals in sea water, to take one example, act like lenses, focusing the sun’s rays and burning the hair. So after swimming in the sea, rinse your hair in the (fresh-water) shower. If you don’t have access to a shower, fill a bottle from the tap and take it with you before you set off for the beach.

Swimming pool water is also bad news for your hair: disinfection agents like chlorine and copper can give blond or gray hair a greenish tinge. But of course that shouldn’t stop you taking the plunge! For instant hair help after your swim, dissolve three tablets of acetylsalicylic acid in a liter of water, rinse your hair with it and leave it for an hour before rinsing again thoroughly in fresh water. Alternatively, use a color rinse or a color shampoo in a red or gold shade, to cover the greenish tinge.

After-sun care

After a long day on the beach, you should give your hair some TLC. After-sun shampoos and conditioners have very mild formulas, give sun-damaged hair lots of moisture and contain natural oils to make hair silky and shiny. Special color protection products with UV filters are a blessing for sun-kissed hair. These contain proteins and vitamins which return the luster to your hair as well as antioxidants and light filters that protect color from fading.

If the ends of your hair are suffering, you can use a nourishing oil to fix the splits temporarily and make them look healthier. Tip: after your vacation, it’s a good idea to sacrifice a centimeter or two from the length: your hair will seem thicker and the split ends will be gone.

Antioxidants in your diet

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The right diet can help your hair against the heat and the effects of the sun’s rays

In the summer, make sure you eat enough foods containing vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene. These contain antioxidants which neutralize free radicals (the molecules that damage cells and are unleashed by UV light). Apricots, berries, grapes, broccoli and spinach all contain lots of these antioxidants.

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