Post Summer Hair S.O.S.

cut hair close up

So, you fried it. Sun. Sea. Surf. Sand. Styling gunk. Salt spray, even! (What were you thinking? Well, beach-y tousled waves, probably.) And as a result, chances are that by now, you’re only too well aware that summer is very hard on your hair.

This is most definitely the time to answer your hair’s S.O.S. call, then. Because summer may be tough on tresses – but if you compound that with the ultra-dry environment we’re about to move into as soon as the central heating goes on, the damage just accelerates and you’ll find yourself heading inexorably haystack-wards. So this is the time to put back what summer 2017 took out – and get back on track with a hair rehab regime…

First things first: book a trim. Styles drop out of shape over the summer, fringes droop into eyes – and the ends (which are the oldest part of your hair, of course) are more vulnerable to damage from summer’s offenders than the rest of your hair. Ideally, have at least half an inch off to get rid of any split ends – but since autumn’s a time of fresh starts and new additions to your wardrobe, is it time to consider a whole new look…? (Hair grows at roughly half an inch a month, so you’re not going to lose much of the length. And if you don’t stop those split ends in their tracks, they just move up the hair shaft.)

Schedule colour, too. If you have highlights (as we do), you almost certainly have very visible regrowth by now, as the sun ‘lifts’ hair that’s already been chemically bleached more than it lightens the newer hair at the parting. If you home-colour, do it right now. (VH offers our favourite and oft-recommended natural haircolourant, Naturtint, which comes in an impressive range of more than 20 shades.) If you need a salon appointment to refresh your colour, book it PDQ – because everyone who’s been anywhere near a beach or pool will be trying to do the same. If you’ve highlighted hair, and those streaks have gone super-blonde, meanwhile, discuss the notion of some lowlights to help tone down the contrast.

Upgrade your haircare. At all costs avoid cheap, massively lathering shampoos right now – that detergent will strip the last of the precious moisture out of your hair. Many women are happy to lavish money on their anti-ageing cream, serum, facial oil – yet get really stingy about paying extra for hair products. Personally, we believe in basically treating hair with the same TLC as our faces – as do the team at HiF (Hair is Fabric), who believe that what grows out of our follicles deserves the same love and attention as your best silk lingerie or your snuggliest cashmere. Start to think of hair like that, and you’re absolutely going to see a difference. (Interestingly, the cornerstones of HiF’s offering are what they call ‘Cleansing Conditioners’: they avoid harsh detergents and clean hair effectively while conditioning with ingredients including hyaluronic acid. And we all know what that does for faces, so why not hair…? HiF Hydration Support, meanwhile, is your post-summer best bet.)

Cut down your use of heated styling tools, for now. Heat damages hair and leads to breaking, making it brittle and limp.  For the next month or so, while hair’s in rehab, allow it to dry naturally whenever you can – and if you are using a straightening iron, it’s more important than ever to smooth on a protective product, first.

Consider a pre-shampoo oil treatment. Hair needs moisture ­– but it also needs ‘feeding’, with oils. (Your body needs both food and water – and although it’s not strictly living, hair’s no different.) Coconut oil works for this – warm it till liquid, and massage into hair and scalp; you’ll need to shampoo a couple of times to remove it, then condition as normal. Monoi oil (with its wonderful tropical frangipani scent) is another option. Or use a targeted product like Peter Lamas Youth Revival Reparative Hair Oil; although it’s strictly designed to be smoothed through hair a few drops at a time, you can use this blend of Abyssinian, argan, baobab broccoli seed and macadamia nut oils more generously as a pre-shampoo treatment.

Slap on a mask. And remember: more is more. The great news is that hair responds very swiftly to deep treatments. Hairdressers ritually prescribe hair masks once a week, but if you’re suffering post-summer straw-like locks, even a single deep treatment mask will make a tremendous difference. Remember: less is never more, when it comes to hair masks. Slather your chosen mask generously. Better still, wrap hair in Clingfilm and put a warmed towel over the top to encourage the product to penetrate. Best of all? Wrap a towel over your pillow and let your chosen hair mask work its repairing magic overnight.

Trust us: if you put your hair into rehab according to this six-point plan, it’ll shine, shine, shine again in no time.

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