This Is How You Can Protect Your Hair From Chlorine This Summer, According to an Expert

Our hair can go through a lot in the Summer months: though we’d never complain about good weather, the blazing sunshine can be harsh on our strands, and that’s before you factor in all that swimming. Living in Asia as a kid, the memory of my mom slapping ketchup on my blond ends after hours spent in the pool is all too familiar. Thank goodness there are now products to specifically help with this damage and discolouration! We quizzed hairstylist to the stars Rita Hazan to find out exactly how to maintain healthy hair all Summer long.

How does chlorine affect hair, and how does this differ with coloured hair?

“Chlorine affects hair by essentially stripping it of moisture and its natural oils. This makes hair dull, less flexible, and more prone to breakage and split ends,” Hazan said. In short, chlorine is bad news. She noted that chlorine can exacerbate these effects on coloured hair, particularly if you’re sitting in the sun, as this breaks down the colour molecules.

How can you protect hair from chlorine?

Hazan has a top poolside tip. “Whenever I’m at the pool or the beach, I like to coat my wet hair with a dab of my Triple Threat Split End Remedy ($30). It works to help protect the hair cuticle from becoming dried out and breaking from chlorine exposure. After swimming, I suggest a shampoo and rinse and deep condition.”

Does rinsing hair prior to swimming help minimize damage?

There’s one thing you can do that will reduce damage and doesn’t require any extra product: rinsing hair with water before getting into the pool. Hazan agreed and said, “Wetting hair with clean, fresh water before swimming is supposedly meant to saturate the hair so it doesn’t absorb as much pool water, so I wouldn’t recommend entering the pool with dry hair.”

What are some favourite products for protecting hair from chlorine?

Hazan said it does help to use a conditioning treatment in between dips to protect the hair cuticles from chlorine. She also said sun protection is particularly important for colour-treated hair and suggested using Lock + Block Protective Spray ($26). Thankfully, there are plenty of products to help protect hair from both chlorine and UV rays during Summer.

Everything You Need to Know About Women’s Hair Loss From an Expert

Any woman who’s experienced hair loss knows how devastating it can be, but there are options for those suffering. We’ve called in the expert knowledge of Dr Sharon Wong, consultant dermatologist and leading hair and scalp specialist, to share her knowledge. This really is everything you need to know about hair loss in women.

What causes hair loss in women?

Dr Sharon says that the most common cause of hair loss and thinning in both sexes is genetic hair loss and common balding. However, women can also suffer hair loss as a result of hormonal fluctuations, such as post pregnancy shedding, menopause-related hair loss, starting or stopping some forms of contraception, and underlying hormonal imbalances such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In addition, over-processing the hair with heat and chemical styling, or wearing hairstyles that pull on the hair can also cause weathering, hair breakage and traction hair loss. Dr Sharon emphasises that it is also important to realise that women can often have more than one cause of hair loss or thinning at any one time.

How much hair classifies as hair loss?

One question many of us want to know is how much hair loss equals actual hair loss? Many of us might be familiar with the experience of standing in the shower, watching strand after strand come out with our conditioner, but this is usually completely normal. Dr Sharon says that throughout our lifetime our hair is constantly undergoing repeated cycles of growth and shedding. Every individual has a different number of hairs that they shed per day as part of their normal hair follicle cycle. Depending on the number of hair follicles on the scalp it can be normal for a person to shed up to 100-150 hairs per day. This makes us a lot less worried about the amount of hair on our tangle teezer everyday! Dr Sharon notes that ultimately any prolonged shift in a person’s baseline hair shed will result in perceivable hair loss with reduction in volume and thinning.

Are some people more likely to get hair loss than others?

Yes! There are many myths around common balding, like “you can only inherit from your maternal grandfather” or “it is only passed on to men”. A family history of early onset genetic hair loss is a risk factor for any member of that family. The earlier the age of onset, the stronger the genetic trait.

What should women change in their hair care routine if they think they are losing hair?

Minimise damage from external factors by reducing the frequency and level of heat and chemical exposure, and using products that contain UV filters. It is important to see a doctor or a trichologist to diagnose and address the underlying causes of hair loss. If you’ve already been diagnosed with female pattern hair loss (common balding in women), consider starting topical 5% Minoxidil either as solution or foam, applied to the affected areas once at night. Topical minoxidil is the only topical product proven and licensed to help with female pattern hair loss, and can be purchased over the counter or online.

Is it advised to stop dying hair if someone is experiencing hair loss?

Yes, whilst dyeing hair does not directly cause hair loss (unless you develop a severe allergic reaction on the scalp), it can significantly damage the protective cuticle layer, making hair dull, frizzy, lack lustre, and prone to breakage.

What else do you advise to those experiencing hair loss?

Dr Sharon says hair follicle cells are some of the fastest dividing cells in the body, and therefore requires the full spectrum of nutritional support provided by a healthy well balanced diet including lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, good fats, vitamins, and minerals. There is no evidence that routinely taking supplements improves hair growth when there is no deficiency present. In some women with low iron stores (ferritin), hair growth improves when the ferritin levels increase with iron supplementation. Supplementation needs to be tailored on a case by case basis and monitored for any effect on hair growth.

The Biggest Mistake You’re Making Every Time You Dry Your Hair

The perfect blow dry isn’t always easy to achieve at home. From your tools to the products to not being as ambidextrous as you’d like, there’s a lot that can contribute to a dodgy blow out. If salon-quality volume and long-lasting style is what you want (don’t we all?) then it’s over to the only person we trust for a top-notch blow dry every time: Alli Webb, founder of Drybar – the magical institution (salons are currently only in the US, but product is available in Sephora here!) that specialises in the perfect blow out.

In her expert opinion, the number one mistake commonly made when attempting an at-home blowout lies in the preparation. Simply blasting your hair with a hairdryer and no brush until it’s bone dry isn’t how it’s done. Alli admits it’s all about sectioning correctly and perfecting each piece before you move on to the next. “I find so many women don’t realise each section of hair should be 1-2 inches and they take half their head. In Drybar the stylists do it section by section until each section of hair is perfect and then they move on to the next, which is why it takes like 45 minutes, because it’s a process,” says Alli.

If it’s the smooth, polished, I-just-stepped-out-of-the-salon look you’re after, you’ve got to give attention to each section of hair equally. Here’s how:

  1. Towel-dry your hair.
  2. Tie up the majority of your hair, leaving out the beneath layers. Section them into 1-2-inch pieces.
  3. Blow dry each section, using a round brush for smoothness, until it is dry from root to tip.
  4. Once you’ve completed the bottom layers, drop the next section and repeat. Continue until your whole head is complete.

Tip: With the front sections that frame the face, disregard your ideal part for the moment and blow dry the hair forward. This helps to create more volume and bounce around your face.

You’ll know you’ve perfected the at-home blow dry if you can tousle your hair (post-blowout) with your fingers and have it return to it’s original, polished look after.