Women across the country are stocking up on the last-minute survival essentials with reckless abandon (tower fans, face mists, litre bottles of sparkling water by the bucket load) and, in true British fashion, complaining profusely about our lack of sleep, burnt shoulders and inability to concentrate in the heat.
But while most of us are clued up about the importance of protecting our skin, it’s all too easy to neglect our hair in the midst of a heatwave – even though UV rays can be detrimental to our tresses.
Most concerning of all is the damage that can occur to bleached or dyed hair. We all know that bleach can wreck havoc on hair anyway, as the cuticle endures a good deal of damage, making the hair more porous and prone to breakage. Add some high temperature and humidity to the mix, and your strands will be at their most vulnerable.
Stylist Federico Cirulli, of Blue Tit salon in Streatham, tells Tyla: "The same way we protect our skin, we should do the same with hair. UVB radiation is responsible for hair protein loss and UVA radiation is responsible for colour changes.
"So when the sun weakens your hair’s protein structure, because of UVB radiation, it automatically makes the hair really dry, reducing its elasticity. With a combination of wind, saltwater or chlorine on holidays, it can be really dangerous, that is why prevention and protection is crucial. Wearing a hat definitely helps but protection comes mainly from products. The same way we protect our skin, we should do the same with hair."
Cort Bray of The Hair Bros, London, adds: “When bleached hair is exposed to extra heat from the sun, it removes moisture, leaving lightened hair prone to becoming brittle, over porous and breaking.”
Cort strongly recommends a selection of intensive deep conditioning treatment to inject some much-needed moisture to your mane such as Evo’s The Great Hydrator, Davine’s Oi Hair Butter, or Purology Hydrate Superfood. These industry faves will provide optimum moisture to bleached, parched strands.
Furthermore, the sun is also known to weaken the hair’s natural protein structure and reduce elasticity (essentially resulting in strands snapping easily – fun!) This means that introducing a protein rich product into the mix is also beneficial. Experts highly rate the protein infused JVN Hair Complete Instant Recovery Serum, a silicone and sulphate free leave in treatment which bonds to the hair to defend against heat and environmental damage.
Another important factor to consider if you’re jetting away to a tropical resort this summer: “The chemical chlorine in pools can also cause bleached hair to dry out at a faster rate and can stain green on lighter versions of blonde,” Cort notes.
A tip to avoid stains is to condition hair before entering the pool, which will help to coat the hair shaft, making it more difficult for chemicals to attach to the hair and cause colour related damage. In addition, it’s important to ensure that chlorine has been thoroughly rinsed out to avoid drying out hair and causing additional damage.
Federico adds: "Whenever we are exposed to the sun or heat, the main ingredient to protect our hair, especially if it's been dyed or bleached, is vitamin C - it’s the best antioxidant to protect against UVA rays. Products that contain these essential ingredients are the ones I’d recommend, such as a conditioner to put on the hair before you go outside or a good serum (oil)."
Are bottle blondes the only ones having (less) fun in the sun? Nope. Turns that anyone with colour treated hair should take extra precautions in the heat; all dyed hair is more susceptible to UV damage. Not only can the UVA and UVB rays in the sun degrade your hair’s natural pigment, but can also break down the natural outer layer of lipids – a form of protection from the natural elements.
So, essentially we all need to give our hair a little extra TLC during the summer months. Grab a hat, stay hydrated, try to stay in the shade where possible and lather on a good hair mask at the end of the day. Your tresses will thank you later.