Your Guide To Post-Beach Day Hair Care

Picture this: you've spent all day at the beach, getting a tan, swimming in the ocean, and simply taking a day to relax. Maybe you brought your favorite book with you to enjoy under the canopy, or you're enjoying snacks with some friends after taking a few dips in the water. Everything feels picture perfect until you get home and realize your hair needs some TLC because of its exposure to the sun and salt water. But don't fret just yet! There are plenty of ways to take care of your hair from the comfort of your own home to get your moisture and shine right back.

Hair expert Christophe Robin tells Mane Addicts that saltwater can be both good and bad for your hair, explaining that it "is great for the scalp" and "gives hair texture for a messy look," but "it can be a bit drying" on your strands. Next time you're planning to go for a swim at the beach, consider the kind of love and attention your hair might need as a result.

Avoid shampoo

After you've gone for a swim in the ocean or the pool, your hair will be sensitive. During this time, experts recommend avoiding shampoos as they could be too strong for the vulnerable state of your hair. Ideally, you should only wash your hair with water. "Salt is very alkaline, so the best way to counteract the alkaline is with a conditioner because a conditioner is an acid. The conditioner will balance up the pH and take hair back to normal very quickly," Australian hair guru Kevin Murphy tells Mane Addicts. Murphy recommends using conditioner or conditioner wash instead of shampoo. If you really must have a "wash," you should use a hair cleanser, which is a shampoo alternative with a gentler, sulfate-free formula.

Always do a hair treatment

After you've done a gentle cleanse on your post-beach hair, you should also use a hair treatment to top it off. A deep-conditioning treatment helps reinvigorate the health of your hair, especially after it's been dried out at the beach. This process helps address any dryness, breakage, or that brittle feeling from the sun and the saltwater or chlorine (via Treehugger). When doing a hair treatment, don't be afraid to use coconut or jojoba oil at the same time for added benefits. Additionally, use a leave-in conditioner for continuous treatment.

Sun damage care

When you are spending lots of time out in the sun, plus in the saltwater, your hair cuticle is at risk of opening, which can lead to more damage. "Sun damage can come in the forms of discoloration, dry and brittle strands, broken or split ends, thinning and frizziness," dermatologist Wilma Bergfeld, M.D., tells Cleveland Clinic. You can apply a hair mask or deep conditioner to address the sun damage. And in terms of protection for next time, you can prevent excessive sun damage by wearing a swim cap or using hair products with SPF protection.

Make use of natural oils

Natural oils, such as coconut oil or olive oil, have hydrating properties that can offer damage control after a day at the beach. Hawaii-based swimwear designer Oleema Miller tells Vogue her go-to remedy is coconut oil: "When my hair is feeling a bit dry, I do an hour-long coconut oil mask." She adds that her hair "feels like silk" after, and if she wants a beach-wave look, she just washes her hair with water and lets it dry naturally. Alternatively, you can coat your hair in natural oils before you go to the beach to build up some defense against the dehydrating effects of the sun and the ocean.

Gentle combing

After you have done everything you possibly can to keep up with the post-beach hair care, be gentle with how you brush or comb it out. Desert Essence recommends using a wide-tooth comb to avoid any hair breakage. It's a kinder way to approach your tangles, causing less pain to you and less damage to your hair. Model and surfer Annie McGinty echoes this sentiment to Vogue, "My secret to the healthiest hair: Get a trim every eight weeks, and invest in a nice brush." McGinty recommends using a detangling hair brush, which should be gentle on wet hair while it helps detangle.