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Beach waves: How to save your hair from the sea

Salt water and sunshine can leave your hair dry, faded and out of condition. But Danielle Fox has some survival tips...

The upside to holiday hair is sun-kissed highlights and effortless beachy texture. The downside? The salty ocean can leave hair feeling parched, while the scorching sun can take its toll on colour. So, for those cruising to sunnier climes this season, here’s some advice from the A-list hair experts in the know.

Book a cut before you depart

First, arrange a trim to get rid of dry, damaged and brittle ends. If humidity is your hair foe, avoid short layers and fringes – hair needs to be longer and heavier to deal with higher temperatures. “To maintain the length, I tend to do invisible layers, creating movement but also keeping control of style,” explains Miguel Perez, who styled Meghan Markle’s wedding day hair.

Start with the scalp

Great hair starts with a healthy scalp. “Scalps tend to get flaky with hot weather – like the skin on your face, the scalp can peel and become very dry after repeated UV ray and chlorinated water exposure,” says trichologist Anabel Kingsley. “Shampoo frequently – daily if possible. This will help remove excess dead skin cells, clear the scalp of flakes and relieve itchiness.”

Don't underestimate hydration

Make sure you hydrate hair all year round, not just during the summer. According to John Frieda Salons creative colour director Nicola Clarke, right, who counts Madonna, Kate Winslet and Kate Moss among her clientele, extra attention should be paid to coloured hair. “Start prepping your hair before heading to your destination with regular applications of leave-in conditioners and lightweight finishing oils as the sun will naturally lighten your hair colour,” she advises.

Apply Protection

“Treat your hair like you would treat your skin in the sun,” says Perez. A leave-in conditioner or an oil with UV protection is key; it not only acts as a barrier protecting your hair from sun and salt but it also keeps your hair moisturised. Or do as Lesley Drummond, senior stylist at John Frieda Salons, does: after applying sunscreen, run the excess on the scalp, through your hair and on the ends.

Be saltwater savvy

"My summers are spent flying from yacht to yacht in Cannes, Saint-Tropez and Italy to see my clients and for many of them the hardy, salty seawater can be a real concern,” says Perez, right. It causes real moisture loss in particular for coloured hair, which leaves it dry and unruly. “Make sure you rinse out the salt water, the main cause of dry hair. Salt is drying, which can make the hair porous, and when porous it almost loses grip on the colour, causing it to fade.”

Conserve your colour

“Sunshine and high temperatures will fade colour fast so opt for balayage before boarding so root growth will not be so obvious,” advises Clarke. Day to day, “seek out sulphate-free shampoos and products that help eliminate brassiness, and use almond oil on the hair while you’re in the sun.”

Be copper conscious

“Make sure your swimming pool is tested for copper deposits: if copper mixes with chlorine on the hair, it will turn green,” warns in-demand colourist Josh Wood, who regularly travels to yachts with his team. “Toners and gloss are a must on board – sun exposure can make hair colour brassy and they will neutralise any unwanted tones.” Try Josh Wood Shade Shot to help cool down or warm up your tone.

All images courtesy of Shutterstock

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