Make sure your break in the sun this summer doesn't break your hair - Ayesha Muttucumaru shares the four steps to making sure your 'do stays healthy in the heat

Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

Sun, check. Sea, check. Pool, check - sounds like a winning combination. However, your hair will probably read this as UV rays, salt water and a hefty dose of chlorine thrown in for good measure - a quick-fire recipe for dull-looking, weak and damaged hair.

According to Trichologist Philip Kingsley , “Both salt water and chlorine can damage your hair, and you should try to protect it from both. Chlorine is more likely to weaken the hair’s structure, but salt water is very drying.” With regards to the lightening effects of the sun he warns, “Many people think that because the sun’s rays are natural, the change of colour in your hair that the sun gives is not damaging – but it is just as damaging as applying bleach. And as with bleach, the effects are not just confined to colour changes, the sun also weakens the protein structure resulting in reduced elasticity and increased breakage.” Yikes.

Sounds like a less than ideal summer forecast for our stressed out tresses but not to worry, as GTG has consulted the hair care experts and tested a literal Smörgåsbord of products to give you your go-to guide to repair and protect your summer locks. Think Ursula Andress in Dr. No, Demi Moore in Charlie’s Angels 2 or Cameron Diaz in, well, anything - whatever your summer hair care dilemma, here’s your four-step guide for super soft summer locks come surf, sea or shine.


According to Philip, the best way to protect your hair and scalp is simple - put a hat on it. However if you’re plan on venturing into the pool sometime this summer, he’s provided the following handy tip: “If you want to maintain your hairstyle, mix some high SPF oil-free suntan lotion with your regular hairspray, half and half. Shampoo and condition normally and, while the hair is still wet, spray the mixture, comb through for even distribution and style as usual.”

This summer’s legion of wonder-sprays and treatments are also at hand to ensure that your beachfront hairstyle of choice is adequately protected. According to Darren Fowler , International Artistic Director for Clipso , “You take steps to protect your skin in the sun, therefore the same should be done for your hair. Using an SPF is extremely important.”

To give your hair an added layer of defence to face the elements, GTG loves Philip Kingsley Swimcap , £20, (which was made originally for the US Olympic synchronized swimming team in 1984!). Apply prior to sunbathing and swimming, remembering to reapply throughout the day and your hair will thank you later.

Darren also recommends Kérastase Soleil Aqua-Seal,  £15.95 - a waterproof fluid-cream that you can keep in for all day protection from UV rays. He adds, “This can be blow-dried into the hair in the morning or applied directly to dry hair while on the beach.”

If you’re on the go, he recommends spritzing on Kérastase Soleil Micro-Voile Protecteur Spray , £18.90, and we also love Charles Worthington Takeaways Sunshine UV-Protection Spray, £1.99 (available in store at Boots) which is small enough to fit in your beach bag and will give you an added hit of protection when you need it most.

MORE GLOSS: The GTG team test out sprays to protect your hair in the sun


Sun damage to your scalp can both a) affect your hair’s regeneration by damaging the follicles and b) be extremely painful! Therefore Darren recommends massaging a high-factor sun cream or a hair product with an SPF into your scalp with your fingertips, paying particular attention to your hairline, partings and temples. Try Clinique’s Targeted Protection Stick SPF 35 , £17, which is oil-free and great for precision application or Soltan Head & Hair Dry-Touch Transparent Suncare Spray SPF30 , £3.99.


After a busy day of relay racing and reverse tuck dives (i.e. reclining on a lilo and CANNONBALLS), it’s important to ensure that all of those nasty chemicals are thoroughly washed away. Darren recommends using a shampoo that will gently cleanse while not being too abrasive, such as Kérastase Soleil Bain Après-Soleil Cheveaux Colorés , £15.30. For a moisture-boost with added UV protection, try the wonderfully tropical-smelling L’Oréal Professionnel Série Expert Solar Sublime After Sun Protect Shampoo , £9.85 to replenish parched, sun-damaged hair or Aveda Sun Care Hair and Body Cleanser , £17 to refresh and revive.

Recently coloured your hair? No problem. Redken’s Color Extend Sun  range, starting from £13.12, will ensure that you needn’t worry about frazzled or fading newly dyed locks when you step off the plane.

MORE GLOSS: GTG finds out how to get creative with your updo


For hair that’s looking crispier than a KFC Family Bucket, just reach for one of the following super-intensive conditioners to minimise damage caused by the elements. Darren’s product of choice for a fast-track hit of much-needed nourishment is Kérastase Soleil Lait Richesse , £18.90. We also suggest trying John Frieda Full Repair Hydrate + Rescue Deep Conditioner , £6.99, which gets to work in a snappy two minutes.

We love a good hair oil at GTG and we’re particularly coveting the gorgeous-smelling Wella SP Luxe Oil , £24.99 at the moment  (which also comes in a useful spray version , £18.50) to quench our thirsty, deep-fried ends.

Darren also recommends Kérastase Elixir Ultime , £34.50, (which contains four essential oils) and Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue , £39.50 which has UV protection and is his “one-stop shop for protection.” He suggests  leaving it in during the day and then washing it out at night to help repair locks in need of some added TLC.

As far as restorative masks go, Darren recommends looking no further than this trio of transforming mane-tamers - Kérastase Masque UV Defense Active , £26.80, Kérastase Masquintense for Fine Hair , £24.90 and Kérastase Elixir Ultime Cataplasme Masque , £28.50 for a super-moisture boosting treat after a day in the sun.

For the ultimate secret weapon in your hair care artillery, we recommend using a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment such as Philip Kingsley Elasticizer , £27.50 to give hair some extra bounce and body. “Just dampen the hair and apply it from the mid-lengths in sections, paying particular attention to the ends. Work in well with the fingertips, then shampoo off with the appropriate shampoo and conditioner for your hair type,” Philip suggests. It’s a must-have in our opinion for helping the driest of post-heatwave hair rediscover some of its former gloss.