Your holiday hair rescue plan
You’ve got your perfectly curated capsule wardrobe, a box-fresh pedicure and statement earrings that just say ‘holiday’. But how to ensure your hair brings its A game, too? Pool chlorine, panic diets and tropical humidity can all create a breeding ground for seasonal dandruff, frizzy halos, and even hair loss.
So we spoke to world-leading Harley Street trichologist Sara G. Allison to get the lowdown on how to keep our hair more The Little Mermaid and less Medusa.
The problem: Flat, lifeless strands
‘Excessive heat or sun exposure could cause this by dehydrating the hair,’ says Allison.
THE FIX: ‘Refrain from additional heat styling as much as possible, and minimise surface exposure of your hair; ie tie it up and wrap it under a hat,’ she adds. Encourage volume by doing the same when you go to bed. Try cocooning hair in a wrap or shower cap to prevent it from being weighed down and going flat while you sleep. And add life to your locks by keeping them hydrated. ‘Increase your natural water intake,’ she says. ‘Aim for two to three litres total fluid per day and take omega oils and multivitamins.’
The problem: Humidity-induced frizz
‘Hydrogen atoms from the water in the air form hydrogen bonds between the protein keratin and water molecules in your hair,’ explains Allison, ‘which unfortunately results in it becoming curlier and frizzy.’ If you’ve previously bleached your locks, your hair’s protective layer will be compromised, so the natural barrier against all this excess moisture will be broken down. How can you fight the frizz?
THE FIX: ‘Oils in a serum help to retain the water we need in our hair, while also reinforcing a barrier against absorbing water from the air,’ she says. ‘This can help tame frizz and nourish hair.’
The problem: Chlorine colour chaos
You get your highlights touched up just in time for your summer trip, only to emerge from your first pool dip with green-tinged locks. ‘You will usually only notice this with blonde hair, as it wouldn’t show up as much in brunettes or redheads,’ says Allison. ‘It is usually associated with copper in some form and tends to affect repeatedly bleached hair.’
It’s likely caused by swimming pool water, where chlorine or copper sulphates are used to prevent algae growth. Light hair will then absorb the green tones of the chemicals used in the water. And while bleached hair means your balayage will show up better, it also means that it absorbs all colour better, hence the green tinge.
THE FIX: ‘Using a lemon juice or tomato ketchup rinse may improve the colour,’ advises Allison. Or coat your hair in an oil (argan or coconut works best) before going in the pool to create a protective barrier against the chlorine.
The problem: Holiday dandruff
‘Dandruff is caused by either a dry or oily scalp,’ says Allison. And while a dry scalp would usually improve in the summer heat, those with an oily scalp aren’t so lucky. ‘An oily scalp could potentially get worse with the heat, producing more sebum and sweat,’ Allison adds. ‘This can create a breeding ground for the yeast germ that some sensitive people react to and then get eczema.’
THE FIX: ‘In this instance, it would be important to ensure daily shampooing with good-quality products,’ she advises. Try something with antioxidant vitamin E, to protect the scalp from free radicals and other damage.
The problem: Seasonal hair loss
‘During the summer, more people might be inclined to go on drastic diets to get their “bikini body”,’ says Allison. ‘And sudden weight loss can cause hair loss. When the body is deprived of important nutrients, hair shafts are weakened, which causes hair breakage and slows down the rate of re-growth. The natural hair growth cycle is disrupted so that hair follicles that were growing are converted prematurely to the cycle’s resting and shedding stages, so you may see hair loss and thinning.’
THE FIX: ‘To help minimise this,’ says Allison, ‘it’s important to eat sensibly and ensure you take a good quality vitamin to replace anything you’ve lost.’
Holiday hair saviours we love
Cocofina Organic Coconut Oil will hydrate hair more effectively than silicon-based products, and the sachets are easy to pop into your hand luggage or beach bag.
Tea tree oil acts as a antiseptic to nourish dry, flaky scalps in Weleda Wheat Balancing Shampoo.
Encourages hair growth and increases volume. Dr. Organic Hemp Oil Rescue & Restore Hair & Scalp Treatment, £14.99 for 150ml
Hairburst Chewable Heart Hair Vitamins contain biotin to promote hair growth, and five nourishing vitamins.
Words by Aleesha Badkar