The UK has certainly been experiencing a long, hot summer, reaching peak heatwave at 35 degrees in the capital on Thursday! And while we're all spending most of our time wondering whether we should invest in air conditioning and slathering on the factor 50, many of us have forgotten that there's another key thing we need to protect from the sun – our hair. In fact, during the summer we put our hair under much more stress than the rest of the year, with everything from UV damage to pool chlorine and humidity. Oh, man.
Image: @hollywilloughby Instagram
We chatted to Atoshi George, senior scientific advisor for L’Oréal Professionnel, who told us all about why heatwave-hair is not a good look. And sadly, its those of us who are addicted to colour treatments that are worst affected – so long, highlights. "Heat and humidity actually cause the hair fibres to swell which makes it more prone to damage and also as a result makes it easier for the hair colour molecules to wash out of the hair," she says.
"On top of that, the drier and more damaged your hair, the quicker the fade! As colouring your hair means that special colour pigments sit under the surface of your hair to reflect the colour of your choice, when the hair is damaged it is more porous and it’s easier for these molecules to leach out, was well as more prone to free radical and UV damage,” she adds.
And, while the sunshine makes our skin colour darker (typically, anyway), UV exposure actually does the opposite to the hair. "UV rays darken the skin as it is a living organ, inducing more melanin production," she says. "But in hair it has the opposite effect - as the UV and free radical damage degrades natural melanin in the hair and also has even more of an effect on some colours. This is why we often find in the summer months coloured hair may fade faster or lose its shine - or even shift from its original beautiful colour to something quite different. Think bleached hair and chlorine!"
L’Oréal Professionnel's Serie Expert Solar Sublime range
So, it's coloured hair that's most at risk to this pesky heatwave. Luckily, Atoshi recommends the L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Solar Sublime range, which protects the outer surface of the hair to help it maintain its colour. Nifty. Now, excuse us while we stick on a hat, too...