The tan’s great but your hair’s a state. Panic not, Craig Smith explains how to fix your post-holiday follicles

Go on, admit it. We’ve all walked back into the arrivals lounge and nipped to the loo, only to catch sight of our mop in the mirror as we wash our hands. Suddenly, those sun-kissed ‘beachy waves’ are limp locks. It’s an out-and-out hair emergency.

However, if you’ve come home with sun-ravaged tresses, don’t worry, the solutions are reassuringly fuss-free.

Of course, the best thing to do is visit your regular salon for a trim and a treatment that will replace the moisture lost through sun damage.

If you’re worried about losing length by cutting any split ends, you only need to trim about one centimetre to be, literally, back in shape.

Making sure that you remove damaging chlorine and sea salt is also essential. These will have built up as you spent time on the beach or taking regular dips in the hotel pool. A good, deep-cleansing shampoo will do the trick, especially if you also invest in a moisture-replenishing conditioner.

As a doctor will tell you, ‘prevention is better than cure’. Like your skin, sun exposure damages the condition of your hair and dehydrates it. Consequently, the colour can fade – ‘sun-bleached’ – and break more easily. Just as you’d apply sun screen to your face and body, shield your hair either with a hat or scarf, or seek shade under a parasol or awning. Buying a UV or SPF spray for your hair is also a wise investment before you jet off on your jollies. You can then simply massage it into your hair and scalp from the comfort of your lounger.

Many shampoo and conditioner companies now make UV and SPF products which will further give your hair a pre and post sun protective boost. If you’re reading this before your holiday, my tip is to start using a UV shampoo and conditioner a week before you go, allowing time for it to build up a form of defence from the sun’s rays.

As you’re on holiday, why not give the styling appliances a rest? After all, it’s a little daft to worry about the adverse effects of the sun, sea and pool and then subject your hair to the harsh dry heat of a dryer, straighteners or tongs. Just go with the natural texture of your hair by rough drying and using moisturising products.

Another piece of advice – and I hope this doesn’t come too late – is to park the idea of attempting au naturel highlighting by using leave-in conditioner and lemon juice. I have also heard of newly-blonde tresses turning a vivid green following a reaction with the chlorine used in a hotel pool. Unless you’re the joker or a member of Suicide Squad, it’s not a look I’d recommend.

However, if the worst comes to the worst, pop into your salon post-holiday for a pep-up using professional colour and toner. Blonde hair actually fades in strong sun while brunettes get more warmth in their colour, which is a sign that the pigmentation has started to break down.

It makes sense to then take your shade slightly darker than it was pre-holiday, putting in deeper, richer tones. Not only will this help make your hair look and feel more shiny and healthy, but it will also freshen up your look in time for autumn.

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