Summer Hair Savers

Summer Hair Savers
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BY KITT WALSH

Summer is whizzing by and though I am surely going to miss going my garden, going barefoot and feeling the warm breeze on my skin, I am not going to miss what the season does to my hair.

Heat degrades the protective protein in hair, which leaves my hair brittle and dull. The color turns brassy from oxidization and chlorine and saltwater strip all the moisture out. Aside from shaving my/your head, here are a few tricks to use to keep your hair alive and looking good until fall:

Keeping The Color

Under threat from my hairdresser who says I am not allowed to let my hair go natural (“It will add 10 years to you,” she says) I have to keep dyeing it, but keeping the color in during these hot months is tough. Sunlight bleaches the color on its own, but add the chlorine in the pool and the salt at the beach and my hair resembles a fright wig rather than an auburn cap of curls. If you’ve got the same problem, before heading out, spray a leave-in conditioner on your hair (wet or dry.) Check the SPF factor on the product first or look for a protective beach hair spray like L’Oreal EverPure UV Protect Spray $16.49 on Amazon. Spray more each time you put sunscreen on your skin. You can even make a DIY hair sunscreen in a pinch. Mix two tsps. Of your favorite sunscreen with one cup of water, put in a spray bottle and spritz.

When outside, wear a wide brimmed hat of tightly woven UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) material. Solumbra Rolled Brim Hat is lightweight, can be stuffed in a beach bag and has a 30-plus SPF that blocks more than 97% of UVA and UVB rays. $63

Since I can’t dye my hair every week or so without truly wrecking havoc with its condition, I discovered Root Touch Up by Madison Reed. Unlike the root touch up kits that are just small amounts of the same dye you use for the rest of your hair, this is a powder that “matches” your hair color. There are seven shades, but if you are in doubt, you can send a photo of yourself and Madison Reed will send you the shade that will best match your hair color. The product comes in a velvet pouch inside of which is a pretty compact (on the mirror are emblazoned the words, “Hello Beautiful”) with a little brush. Stroke the brush over the powder and than onto your roots and down through your hair strand. (This takes a little finesse. When I first did my silver sideburns, I looked a little like a Civil War general with mutton chops. Try to keep it off your skin.) The micromilled powder, made with keratin, ginseng root and Argan oil, is free of titanium oxide (a possible carcinogen) and is waterproof. It will stay on until your next shampoo and each compact lasts for 60 uses. It really does cover gray and can even be used on your eyebrows. $29.95 at www.madison-reed.com

Fighting Frizzy Hair

Got hair that is frizzing out from all the humidity? Look for a silicon-based styling cream or spritz. The molecules attach to the cuticle of your hair and have the effect of flattening each strand down, counteracting frizz. Try to stay away from the flattening iron as often as possible to fight summer dryness.

Finding A Balance: Too Dry Or Too Oily

If you do find your hair getting too dry, work some coconut oil or mayonnaise into your hair, cover well with a shower cap or plastic wrap, put a towel over your pillow and sleep through the night. Allow some extra time to wash it out in the morning (use vinegar and water to rinse) and you will restore the shine.

If you have oily hair, the heat and sweat may make the problem worse. To cut the grease, wash often, but condition those ends at least weekly to avoid dryness and splitting. Also investigate dry shampoos like Aveeno’s Pure Renewal Dry Shampoo ($6.49 at Aveeno.com) or make your own by dusting your hairbrush with cornstarch and brushing. You can also use the natural astringent in witch hazel. Dip a cotton ball into the liquid and blot all around your hairline and roots.

Going Green?

Headed for the pool? First wet your hair or work in hair oil so the cuticle doesn’t absorb chlorine from the pool. Go all retro and wear a swim cap. After the swim, rinse your hair immediately. (If you are blonde and notice you are getting a green tinge, rinse your hair with tomato juice). Use a clarifying shampoo one a week to strip the pool chemicals out of your hair. A good rinse with cider vinegar helps too.

Take It Easy

Let your hair dry naturally as often as possible during the summer months and be careful to use covered rubber bands and clips to keep it out of your way in a messy bun or ponytail when you can’t stand it another minute. Buy a good natural bristle brush and every night spend a few minutes using it to distribute what oil you do have in your parched summer hair down to the ends. Massage your scalp, too. You deserve it and your hair will thank you.

Enjoy the rest of your summer.

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Kitt Walsh owns a web content company, Behind Blogs (http://www.behindblogs.com), is a regular contributor to CNN Money, a public speaker on Social Media, a book editor and ghostwriter, and freelances as a feature writer, editor and marketing consultant for magazines, newspapers and private clients around the world.