Summer is just around the corner, which means the annual search for those perfect sun-kissed locks is starting up once again. Whether you want to go golden hued like Gisele, or bright and blonde like Blake (Lively), nothing says “we’re ready for vacation” more than a warm tan and freshly-lightened locks. But how can you keep your hard-earned hair color from fading in the sun?
While the warmth of the sun is welcome relief for your mane after months of frosty winter air (read: dry air = dry hair), the UV rays could actually do more damage than good, especially if you have color-treated hair. You already know that the sun can help naturally lighten your locks (though the less said about “Sun In” the better), but experts say too much of it can lead to dullness, fading and brittleness, too.
“Color-treated hair does not react well [to sun],” says Michael Canale, owner of Canale Salon in Beverly Hills and one of Hollywood’s go-to colorists. According to Canale, who’s worked with everyone from Kate Hudson to Penelope Cruz, and famously helped create Jennifer Aniston’s honey-kissed locks (he’s half of the team responsible for the “Rachel”), “heat from the sun during the summer and hot tools used on the hair always cause more fading and a dull look.” The result: “you hair can become limp, faded in color, and the texture can be affected as well.”
To combat the effects of the sun, Canale says to invest in a good shampoo and conditioner. “For the summer, a leave-in conditioner or hair primer is good to go out in,” he says. “I also recommend a heat protector if still styling.”
Another easy way to protect your hair from fading: invest in a hat. “Without spending too much money, a nice sun hat is always a fashion trend and protects not only your hair but your skin from the harsh sun,” Canale says. Look for hats with a wide brim, to cover not just your head, but your neck and shoulders too. Many hats these days also come with built-in SPF, which gets you additional protection from the harmful UV rays.
It isn’t just the sun either; Canale says going to the beach or pool could affect your hair color as well. “Most public pools have high chlorine so you can see blondes going green or their hair just being stripped,” he says. “Seeking out a good hair colorist is key because they’ll know and recommend the latest products to use to remove the buildup or residue that is being left over from pool or beach water.”
The easiest way to take care of your color-treated hair doesn’t involve any products at all. “Definitely only wash your hair when necessary,” Canale says. “Every time you wash your hair, color molecules fall out. And,” he adds, “hot water is the biggest culprit along with a harsh shampoo.”
And in case you’re feeling like your color-treated strands are suffering solo, it turns out stars really are just like us. “It’s been great being Jennifer’s go-to colorist,” Canale says, about working with Aniston, “[but] I’m constantly bringing her hair back to shiny healthy hair after aggressive trends and harsh hair movie roles. Still,” he adds, “she’s always fun to work with and she always comes in with a great smile.”