Underestimating the damaging effect of the sun on our hair is something we are all guilty of – just ask Jack Howard, creative colour director at Paul Edmonds in London's Knightsbridge and the colour chameleon behind the gorgeous hair of Gillian Anderson, Poppy Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse, Donna Air, Clara Paget and Brazilian model Ana Beatriz Barros (left).
"My clients are some of the world's most glamorous women; they wouldn't dream of going out in the sun without wearing SPF, so why they forget to protect their hair is very interesting," he says. "And they don't just go on holiday once a year; they are forever on location filming in the sun, or going away for work or pleasure, so my work is never done."
Hair colour can never be a set-in-stone thing. Each time Jack sees his clients he is "colour correcting" – taking them a little lighter or darker, making a dramatic change for a new role and, at this time of year, undoing the damage caused by sun, sea, pool and beach on that idyllic holiday.
The fact is, most of us are having too much fun while we are away to make protecting our hair a priority. It is only when we return home with faded colour and a frizzy and frazzled texture that we realise there is a price to pay for that neglect. There are steps you can take, however – before, during and after your sun-soaked break. We asked Jack to reveal the best ways to protect and repair sun-damaged hair.
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Embrace the sun
"Don't get your hair made lighter before a holiday. If you want sun-kissed lights, let the sun do its work for you. It can add a wonderful natural balayage effect to brunettes and dark blondes. But if you already love your colour and don't want it to change, you need to cover up."
"If you have spent a lot of money having a hair colour that you love and it is already perfect, the last thing you want is to let your holiday ruin it. So don't forget your hair SPF. It doesn't have to be oil – it can be a light-as-air spray. Just remember to spray it on your hair every two hours. And you can always wear a super-stylish sun hat."
"I'm always amazed that women pack their skincare but not their haircare when travelling, often relying on hotel shampoos and conditioners. These tend to be of pretty poor quality and will strip your colour and condition. Invest in a gentle shampoo to counteract the different water quality abroad and use a repair mask. Apply your conditioning mask before a day by the pool and let it sink in in the heat and humidity, then wash it off at the end of the day when you shower. You will then have made the heat, humidity and sun work for your hair, not against it."
"If you do forget to look after your hair, don't panic; just be honest with your colourist as they can help. Sometimes the sun is great for darker, thicker hair and can give you gorgeous Gisele tortoiseshell colour, but most often it bleaches and dehydrates and leaves hair in need of colour correction. I frequently have to add a depth of colour back in to make hair seem multidimensional again and not transparent or flat. Coloured hair is porous, so it will lighten in the sun without even being near a pool or sea water."
"Along with the swimming pool, many holiday islands also have chlorinated and desalinated water in the shower and this can leave hair with a strange greenish tinge. Using a gentle shampoo should help counteract this, while your colourist can also remove the mineral metal deposits easily when they colour correct."
Repair the wear and tear
"You will also need to repair and rehydrate sun-damaged hair. L'Oréal Professionnel's new Smartbond system is an in-salon treatment to repair the damaged sulphur bonds in your hair. Added to your colour and applied post-holiday, it will not only repair damage but also prevent hair breakage and make colour last longer. For home use, invest in a hydrating and protein-rich mask and apply it at least once a week."
Jack Howard is available at Paul Edmonds; visit pauledmonds.com. L'Oréal Professionnel Smartbond is available at salons; visit lorealprofessionnel.co.uk
1. Melissa Odabash Elle cowboy hat, £140; visit odabash.com 2. Kérastase Masque UV Défense Active, £29; visit kerastase.co.uk 3. Redken Frizz Dismiss Rebel Tame, £18; visit redken.co.uk. A great anti-frizz styling cream for holiday hair 4. John Frieda Beach Blonde Cool Dip Purifying Shampoo 200ml, £5.89, from Boots. Formulated to help prevent that "chlorine green" tinge forming in holiday hair 5. Kérastase Discipline Fluidissime Spray, £20.90. Anti-frizz spray for after sundown 6. L'Oréal Professionel Série Expert Solar Sublime After Sun Protect Shampoo, £9.30, from lookfantastic.com. With L'Oréal's patented Mexoryl sun filters 7. Invisibobble The Traceless Ring, £3.75 for three, from Boots 8. StriVectin Color Care UV Protective Spray, £24, from Boots 9. Kérastase Soleil Micro-Voile Protecteur, £20.90. "Proves that hair sunscreen can be as light as air and not affect your style" 10. Invisibobble Nano Crystal Clear Bands, £2.95 for three, from Boots.