Heading on Vacation or Spending Time in the Pool? Here's How to Protect Your Hair from Damage

Ready for a pool party? Grab your flip-flops, flamingo floatie, and…UV-protective hair products? That’s right, this summer, we’re soaking up those rays and we’re protecting our hair from damage! 

It’s important to safeguard your hair this summer to maintain its health and beauty year-round. Whether you’re planning a vacation or staycation, you’re likely going to be spending lots of time outside and chances are high that you’ll be cooling off in a pool at least once in the coming months. Summer is of course the season of fun in the sun and with that comes the increase of hair damage primarily caused by two things–increased exposure to UV rays and chlorine. Much like sunscreen, hair care products for sun and chlorine exposure are a must this summer and building a relationship with your salon is essential to know which hair care and prevention products suit your lifestyle. 

There are many things you can do to protect your hair from sun and chlorine this summer. Here are some tips to help you maximize your summer fun and minimize your hair damage. 

How does hair damage happen?

If you’re headed to the beach or planning a few pool parties, listen up. Your hair sees increased exposure to UV rays and chlorine in the summer months and while vacationing down South. Both of these have the potential to cause damage to your hair.

UV rays are rays of light that come in three different wavelengths and all cause varying damage to your hair. UVA rays are to blame for premature signs of aging. They are the longest wavelengths and penetrate deep into your skin and hair shaft. UVB rays are the ones making your hair feel dry and brittle. They have a medium wavelength and mostly affect the outer layer of your hair. UVC rays are the hottest and are mostly absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere. They don’t pose any risk so you can already tell we have a favourite ray. To learn more about the effects of UV damage, check out our previous blog on the topic.

When we think of chlorine damage we think of green hair, straw-like texture, and funky smells. Not all of this is true but one thing is certain–chlorine is here, it’s powerful, and it’s no friend to your hair.  The chemical properties in chlorine strip the natural oils from your hair, making it feel rough, brittle, and dry, and making it hard to comb through. Chlorine can also make your hair more porous, which can alter or fade colour-treated hair quickly. This is probably where those green hair rumours come from! 

Anyone frequently in the pool and getting their hair wet in the chemically treated water will likely experience chlorine build-up in their hair. But, certain hair types need to be extra careful about sun and pool care, including:

  • Damaged hair
  • Blondes (They have more fun but they are also the most susceptible to damage!)
  • Fine hair
  • Dry hair
  • Colour-treated hair

If you fall into one of the categories above, you’ll want to take extra care in preparing for and managing potential sun and pool damage.

How to prep your hair for vacation or summer staycation 

There are some proactive steps you can take pre-vacation to protect your hair from sun and chlorine damage. 

  • Make sure your hair is in good condition pre-vacay.
  • The best way to prevent chlorine damage or sun damage to hair is to make sure your hair is already in good condition. The best defence is a good offence, right? So before you head on your trip, or even at the beginning of those sunny summer months, book in with your salon for a trim and get a deep conditioning treatment. This ensures that your hair is healthy and strong and makes preventing chlorine and UV damage easier. 

  • Make sure you’re prepared for your trip with the right products.
  • Your salon is just as important as your travel agent when it comes to vacation prep! While you’re getting your pre-vacay hair trim, make sure to talk to your salon about hair care for sun and pool exposure. They take hair protection for vacations seriously and are able to recommend the best SPF and conditioning products for you and your lifestyle. Going into your vacay–or staycay– prepared with a vacation hair routine means you can focus on having a good time and not worry about the damage to your hair. 

    Tips for minimizing sun and pool damage on vacation

    Now that you’ve done your hair prep work, you can take action to prevent hair damage while still enjoying all the sun and pool has to offer. Here are some of our favourite hair care tips for pool time, vacation, and general outdoor living! 

    1. Cover your head. Let’s start with one of the more practical, and perhaps most obvious, UV hair protection tips–keep the sun off your hair! You could spend some dedicated time in the shade, or wear a hat to protect your head and hair from the sun. This is a bonus since sun hats are in fashion, so you can be safe and stylish! 

    1. Use a product with SPF daily before you get in the pool. Using an SPF product on your hair–and scalp–while on vacation or soaking up the rays at home this summer is just as important as using an SPF product for your skin. One of our favourite lines of haircare products for swimming and sun is the SU line from Davines. 

    1. Use a protective leave-in conditioner before or after going swimming. Check out this oil-free option by Sachajuan. And always remember to rinse your hair after each trip to the pool! 

    1. Use a hair mask to replenish dry hair, like this SU after-sun replenishing mask. It is likely that your hair will feel dry after being exposed to the sun and chlorine and a hair mask can help restore it. 

    1. Wet your hair before swimming to minimize chlorine absorption. Another one of our easy-to-implement pool hair protection tips! Wetting your hair pre-swim prevents it from soaking up too much chlorine because there won’t be any room left inside the strands for it. 

    1. Use a clarifying shampoo to wash out build-up and chemicals. Clarifying shampoos can wash out the build-up and chemicals caused by exposure to chlorine and leave your hair feeling healthy and restored. Hair care after swimming is just as important as the steps you take pre-swim! 

    Damage to your hair can be challenging to repair, so it’s critical to use preventative measures, like we’ve listed above, to ensure your hair stays healthy and damage free. If you’re making a to-do list for your trip, add a deep conditioning mask to your pre- and post-trip itinerary to prep and replenish your hair! Follow the tips above to minimize sun and pool damage. Ask your stylist about products that work best for you. If you’re curious about a certain product or step, please contact us. We love chatting about hair protection!

    A stress-free vacation–or staycation– is rare, but you don’t need to stress about your hair! UV and chlorine damage is common on vacation and during the summer months but by implementing some of the tips above you can keep your hair healthy and protected and party on your vacation or all summer long!