Advice About Sun : Protecting Hair From Summertime Blues

Bengtsson is a Los Angeles hair stylist who often styles First Lady Nancy Reagan's hair in Los Angeles as well as in Washington.

During the summer, sun, wind, saltwater, chlorine and perspiration can wreak havoc with even the healthiest head of hair. At this time of year, an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure.

Although special attention to hair care in the summer is particularly important for color-treated hair, everyone can benefit from the following summertime tips.

If you're plagued with an oily scalp and dry ends in summer, it is important to shampoo frequently to rid the scalp of oil and corrosive perspiration without drying out the ends. Here's how:

Procedure to Follow

--Put a shampoo especially formulated for oily hair in a nozzle-tipped bottle (such as the plastic hair-color applicators in most drugstores). Apply the shampoo on the roots and scalp area only. Let it stay for a few minutes, then lather up the root/scalp area only.

--Next, apply a shampoo for dry hair to your hair and immediately lather.

--Rinse the entire head thoroughly, using the force of the water and your fingers to detangle the hair.

--Depending on your hair type, apply an instant conditioner and rinse thoroughly.

Chlorine is hard on hair, skin and eyes. But don't blame chlorine for the green cast you sometimes see on both natural and color-treated blond hair during the summer months. According to Dr. John Corbett, vice president of technical development at Clairol, the culprit is copper ions found in mineral-rich pools and freshwater lakes.

The solution: Wear a bathing cap or rinse your hair with carbonated water or club soda immediately after swimming. The carbon dioxide will help lift off the copper. Another solution is to immediately shampoo with a good dual-protein conditioning product.

Saltwater can also dry the hair. Tote a squirt bottle filled with tap water with you when you go to the beach. After swimming, squirt your hair with water to rinse out salt deposits from the sea.

For extra beach protection, fill the bottle with a solution of tap water and a dollop of whatever conditioner you use. It will not only protect your hair from the sun and saltwater, but it also detangles the hair so you can get a wide-tooth comb through it easily.

When you are at the beach or the pool, try wearing a large-brim straw hat, and make sure it is open-weaved so your scalp can breathe.

Other Problems

Perspiration can be more damaging to the hair than the sun itself. Never wear your hair in a tightly wrapped scarf during hot weather because the resulting perspiration is corrosive to the hair.

If you're not the type of person to wear a hat, comb a deep-penetrating conditioner through your hair. It will coat your hair and help protect it from the sun, wind and water.

Highlighting is a particularly good idea in the summer. Ask your colorist to place highlights where the sun would normally touch your hair: around the face and, if you wear your hair up, at the nape of your neck.

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