Beating the heat

Summer days are drifting away, but the damage to your ’do isn’t as easy to shake. Sun, sea, chlorine, and even air-conditioning can sabotage your locks, so we asked a few local experts for tips on the best services, products, and DIY tricks to help you face fall with your head held high.

IN THE SALON

If your blonde hair looks a bit seasick, you probably have chlorine damage. Stylist and colorist Gary Croteau of Mario Russo (9 Newbury Street, Boston, 617.424.6676; 60 Northern Avenue, Boston, 857.350.3139) suggests giving green-tinged locks the Malibu Treatment ($45), a
medley of deep-cleansing shampoos that removes chlorine and mineral buildup.

To give dull locks some serious TLC, head to Jackie Siegel’s chair at Beaucage (71 Newbury Street, Boston, 617.437.7171) for a fast-acting Kerastase Repairing Treatment ($35–$45) that will have your hair bouncing back in no time. We mean that almost literally — this spray-in treatment penetrates your hair instantly, replacing protein that has been stripped by the elements all summer long, so you’ll see an improvement in breakage and frizz right away. The treatment, or “prescription,” is a customized cocktail of sorts: each unique formula is tailored to the depth of damage.

Another quick fix? Ask your colorist to take you a shade darker. “Coloring hair conceals damage, and darker hair appears to shine more,” Siegel points out. A color gloss is a good solution: it’s easier, faster, and less damaging than a single-process dye job.

And don’t forget to ditch those split ends. Anne Freeman, a senior skincare advisor at Sephora (800 Boylston Street, Boston, 617.262.4200), emphasizes that a trim effectively eliminates what is likely the most damaged part of your hair, so your coif will appear sleeker and shinier.

Finally, remember that salons don’t have a monopoly on hair-repair services. Elena Kucerova of La Residencia Spa (336 Elliot Street, Newton Upper Falls, 617.244.2280) suggests requesting a 15-minute scalp massage ($25) when you visit for a facial or a massage. It will stimulate hair growth, get blood flowing, and jumpstart the production of nutrients essential for healthy hair.

AT HOME

To nurse your hair back to health between salon visits, Freeman suggests a regimen of sulfate-free clarifying shampoo ($13) and conditioner ($16), like the Rosemary Mint line from Carol’s Daughter. She also has a sweet spot for the Living Proof line, which was developed by MIT scientists. Its Restore Targeted Repair Cream ($28) functions like a leave-in conditioner, absorbing into the hair’s cuticle to repair damage without weighing it down.

Croteau recommends treating your locks to an at-home moisturizing mask. He’s a fan of Oribe’s Masque for Beautiful Color ($59), which works overtime to restore and maintain color and shine, repair damage, shield hair from harmful UV rays, and infuse major moisture.

If you really want to take matters into your own hands, head to the kitchen. Kucerova’s go-to DIY remedy is mayonnaise — and not the low-cal kind, either. It might not be the healthiest sandwich accoutrement, but slathering your hair with a monthly mayo mask works wonders. The lipids, proteins, and cholesterol that could have your doctor cringing are actually great for smoothing your hair, puffing up dry follicles, and cramming in moisture.

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of mayo. To ward off scorched hair next summer, Croteau says, make sure to rinse after each dip, even if it’s just with bottled water. Not letting your hair marinate in sea salt can make a world of difference. Siegel adds that wetting your hair before a swim will reduce absorption of salt and chlorine. And keeping your noggin under wraps while you’re basking in the sun is key, says Freeman. A hat is a better choice than most products with a UV shield, which aren’t required to disclose the actual SPF factor. In short, remember the definition of insanity offered by Albert Einstein (who also happened to possess a famously frizzy head of hair): doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.