Whether it’s bleached or balayaged—from a box or done by a pro—your color-treated hair requires extra upkeep this time of year if you plan on spending your summer days outdoors enjoying backyard barbecues, beach workouts, or possibly joining a swim team. (Nobody wants an unfortunate case of “chlorine green,” right?)
To find out how to have fun in the sun—and maintain your unicorn mane—I spoke to healthy hair guru Amanda Jo (AKA Organic Bunny) about the best ways to protect your processed tresses from dehydration and fading. The good news? There’s no need to quit your dye job.
Here are her 4 tips for caring for your color-treated hair during the summer.
1. Get it wet: Before you take your highlights for a dip in the pool, start out by giving your hair a good rinse. “It sounds backwards, however, wet hair is less absorbent than dry hair, which is why wetting yours first reduces your risk of damage [from chlorine],” says Jo.
2. Keep it hydrated: Leave-in conditioner should be a part of your healthy hair routine anyway (add it to the list of “things you can use coconut oil for“), but it’s especially important before a day outdoors. “By simply applying [it] to your hair before exposure, it provides a protective coating that you can simply rinse out,” she advises.
3. Oil it up: Considering the extra-crispy connotations that come with using tanning oil on your body, the thought of putting any on your hair to go out in the sun probably seems counterintuitive. But actually, doing so “effectively coats the hair so that things like chlorine can’t come in contact as easily,” explains the style pro—plus, it helps with hydration. “To select the best hair oil for protection, look for one with coconut oil to seal in moisture.”
4. Wash it all out: As much as you probably wish you could keep your beach waves all day, if they’re not from a bottle, it’s best to say goodbye as quickly as possible for the sake of your color. “Once you’ve left the beach—or are done swimming in the pool—you want to wash your hair immediately to remove any build up,” says Jo. Plan on taking a nice, long, conditioner-and-comb-filled shower. Your unfaded tresses will thank you later.
Something else to add to your color-treated hair-care routine: sunscreen—just make sure it also makes it onto your scalp.