Is the beach bad for your hair?

As celebrities from Isabel Lucas to Blake Lively continue to rock the “hot beach hair” look — that effortlessly casual, yet perfectly polished hairstyle that manages to look relaxed and chic all at once — we’re tempted to follow suit. But, we’re told saltwater is bad for our hair. So, how do we achieve the look without distressing our locks?

Beach hair

Hot beach hair is a trend that is as popular off the red carpet as it is on, and it’s prompting plenty of clients to ask their hairdresser what they can do to replicate the look themselves.

Is saltwater bad for your hair?

Growing up in Australia, with access to some of the best beaches in the world, we’ve all had it drummed into us that saltwater damages your hair.

If that’s the case, then why do hairdressers often recommend saltwater sprays as a styling product? And if we want to achieve this look without distressing our hair, what can we do?

The truth is, “Saltwater is not necessarily bad for your hair,” explains Emiliano Vitale, Creative Director for E Salon.

“It actually adds body and gives the hair a lived-in, rough texture. What damages the hair is not rinsing your hair after swimming, and leaving your hair vulnerable to the sun’s rays.”

This is because when the sun and saltwater mix, it produces a chemical reaction, which actually acts as a bleach and can lighten your locks.

“Whilst this is the classic surfie look, it leaves the hair dry, damaged and lacking shine,” Vitale adds.

Saltwater sprays and styling products add texture to your hair, helping you to achieve that “beachy” look without necessarily having been at the beach.

“It’s a great look and it’s what many people like to achieve over the summer months. But again, it is also very important to wash this product out of your hair, otherwise you may contribute to drying out your hair,” Vitale says.

Healthy beach hair tips

Rinse — “Always rinse your hair when coming out of the water,” Vitale says, “and if you can’t, wear a hat.”

Protect — Just like your skin needs sunscreen to shield it from the sun, your hair needs protection against the elements. “Use a hair product that contains a UV protector before any sun exposure,” Vitale suggests.

Treat — “Be sure to shampoo and treat your hair at night with a nourishing conditioner, after any prolonged exposure to saltwater and sun,” he says. This will help to restore any lost moisture and prevent your hair from drying out.

More hair tips

Beat the humidity with hot summer hair
DIY beauty: Homemade hair masks
10 Ways to improve the health of your hair

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