6 Summertime Hair Secrets
Summertime fun can do a serious number on your hair and scalp. If you’re not careful, you could end up with very dry and damaged hair by September thanks to chlorinated pools, bleaching sunshine, and stripping saltwater.
Fortunately, you don’t have to end the season with brittle tresses if you take steps to moisturize and protect your hair from the sun and other damaging elements, starting right now.
Most experts agree the key to keeping your hair happy and healthy all summer long starts with covering up with a scarf or wide-brimmed hat (your face will thank you, too).
But that’s not always possible. So, we asked the pros for their top summer hair care tips.
First things first: Why isn’t summertime living easy on your hair and scalp?
Ultraviolet rays bleach out color. Saltwater leaves you with straw-like strands, split ends and flakes. Chlorine strips away natural oils and, in the worst case, leaves a green tinge. The sun dehydrates hair and burns sensitive scalps.
According to celebrity hairstylist, accessory designer and Leonor Greyl Ambassador Trace Henningsen, “the sun has no mercy and can cause the same amount of damage as heating tools can.”
So, how can you limit the hair havoc?
1. Oil up to create a protective barrier
Trace’s summer routine always includes taking a break from hot styling tools (hair doesn’t need the extra heat!) and treating her tresses to botanically-based L’Huile de Leonor Greyl made of 97% natural ingredients and vegan.
“The iconic pre-shampoo treatment has incredible properties that create a barrier that resists water and protects the hair from the sun while instantly hydrating,” she says.
It’s no surprise that all the experts we spoke with named L’Huile de Leonor Greyl as their go-to protective product, too. The oil gained a cult following from the moment it launched in 1970.
The idea for L’Huile de Leonor Greyl, formerly known as L’Huile de Palme, was born in the French West Indies during a hurricane. While on holiday there, brand R&D director and family patriarch Jean-Marie Greyl watched winds and heavy rain whip the palm trees outside their villa. As rain ran down the leaves without ever soaking in, inspiration struck Jean-Marie.
Back home in Paris, he used palm oil to create a new formula that protects hair by forming a waterproof film around each strand. In 2013, palm oil was replaced by two new sustainable ingredients: coconut and mongongo oil from the fruit of the manketti tree, which remarkably holds enough moisture to thrive in harsh African deserts and savannas.
You can use the pre-shampoo oil as a weekly conditioning treatment as well as a defensive barrier before heading out to play.
L.A. and San Francisco hairstylist Ron Pernell explains: “Apply L’Huile de Leonor Greyl on your dry hair before going into the sun.” Smooth it over the length and ends and brush through for even distribution. Later, you can wash it out with a shampoo formulated for your hair type.
2. Stop “swimmer’s hair” before it starts
Did you know that wetting your hair with tap water before diving into a chlorinated pool or salty sea can stop the hair shaft from absorbing harmful elements like a dry sponge?
“If you prefer the pool over the beach, be aware that chlorine is a chemical that can strip natural oils and melanin from any hair type,” Trace says. “It will break down the amino acids in your hair, which can affect the strength of your locks. It removes the natural melanin, which is why it lightens and makes blonde hair susceptible to turning green. The more porous your hair is, the more prone it will be to chlorine damage.”
Ever wonder why hair turns green? Chlorine oxidizes the hard metals found in pool water, including copper. Oxidized copper acquires a green patina (picture an old penny) that sticks to each strand.
3. Sun protection to keep hair color from fading fast
Healthy and strong hair is the key for achieving beautiful color. Your sun-kissed highlights – natural or salon-created – can quickly turn brassy and dull during the summer. Ultraviolet rays fade hair color and dim your shine.
Luckily, you can protect your hair color by applying protective products.
L.A. celebrity stylist and surfer Adrian Castillo, who knows a thing or two about dealing with heavy doses of ultraviolet, is a big fan of products with sun protection. When he isn’t working at Mèche Salon in Beverly Hills, he is catching waves in Huntington Beach or Maui.
He tells us his go-to is Leonor Greyl’s Lait Luminescence made with 97% natural ingredients and vegan, a leave-in detangling and heat-protecting spray enriched with plant extracts and botanical oils. Toss it in your bag and spritz it as needed.
“Lait Luminescence is incredible,” says Adrian, pointing out it softens while it protects.
Other Leonor Greyl products with naturally derived sun protection include L’Huile de Leonor Greyl, Eclat Naturel protective styling cream, and Serum de Soie Sublimateur protective styling serum – which also is great for controlling humidity-related frizz.
4. Quench your beachy waves
Adrian reminds us that summer is the thirstiest season for hair, especially if you spend a lot of time at the beach.
“Saltwater can aggressively dry hair out. Dehydration will ultimately cause breakage and split ends and dry your scalp, resulting in dandruff,” he says.
Leonor Greyl’s line of deeply hydrating masks powered by essential oils and botanical extracts can help quench parched hair. Use Masque Fleurs de Jasmin for fine hair, Masque à l’Orchidée for thick hair, both 98% natural ingredients and vegan, or Masque Quintessence made with 90% natural ingredients, our ultra-rich treatment for desperate hair. Apply on dry length and ends, comb through, and leave on for 20 minutes before shampooing.
Pro tip from Ron Pernell: For an extra thirst-quenching treat, apply L’Huile de Leonor Greyl on dry length and ends, followed by Masque Quintessence. Leave on for 10 minutes and shampoo out.
5. Protect your scalp
We hope you never experience the pain, itch, and flaking that accompany a scalp burn. But if you do, swap your usual shampoo for a while and use a soothing cleansing cream like Leonor Greyl’s Crème aux Fleurs, made with 95% natural ingredients and vegan with calming sage and chamomile.
If discomfort really has you distracted, apply Huile Apaisante, made with 100% natural ingredients and vegan, to your dry scalp, before washing with Crème aux Fleurs. Gently massage the naturally anti-inflammatory oil in a circular motion and leave it on for at least 15 minutes before washing with Crème aux Fleurs.
Pro tip: Huile Apaisante soothes insect bites, too! For the rest of your body, Huile de Magnolia made with 97% natural ingredients and vegan, moisturizes dry and sunburned skin. It’s also great for prolonging a post-vacation tan.
6. Wash gently
Hair gets washed more often in the summer, adding to the seasonal stress on your strands.
Go easy on your locks and use a gentle shampoo like our Douceur Végétale, made of 91% natural ingredients including jojoba, coconut, oat proteins and other plant extracts. It also doubles as a body wash, making it a must-have in your gym bag.
For especially dry and frizzy hair, try Shampooing Crème Moelle de Bambou, made of 98% natural ingredients. We borrowed the strength of bamboo extract and silk proteins so hair becomes softer and more manageable.
Speaking of going gently, avoid brushing wet hair after a wash. Wet hair is more vulnerable to breakage. Use a wide-toothed detangling comb instead.
Lastly: Commit to a summertime beauty ritual
You know your hair better than anyone. Create the best summer haircare routine for you, something customized and streamlined so you can stick to it. It also helps to have all the products on hand; keep travel sizes in your beach or pool bag.
Once you embrace the right beauty ritual for your unique tresses, you’ll emerge from the dog days of summer with healthy, gorgeous hair!