What To Know Before You Dye Your Hair During The Summer

Many people who color their hair seem to expect that it won't look its best during the summer. Exposure to the sun and chlorine from pools can conspire to fade the color, dull the shine, and even imbue it with brassy or copper undertones (via RevAir). If you've heard their warnings but don't want to wait until fall to begin dyeing your hair, go ahead and book that hair appointment or purchase the supplies you need to dye your hair at home. People who color their hair during the summer may be realists, but they deserve to be optimists, too.

In other words, there are steps you can take to protect dyed hair, and none of them involve wearing a hat. These proactive steps aren't magical. And since you're probably your own worst critic, your discerning eye may still catch a glimpse of a slight change in the quality of the color. But you'll certainly be able to harness and slow the dreaded summer color slide. Before you do, understand what you're up against. It will make your victory over the elements that much sweeter.

Learn what you're up against

This is where beauty advice can become somewhat contradictory. On one hand, your body needs exposure to the sun for vitamin D. This powerhouse nutrient keeps your bones strong while supporting your muscles, brain cells, and your body's natural ability to fight infection (via the Mayo Clinic). Your hair benefits because the sun helps generate keratin, a protein so vital to hair health that it's included in many shampoos and conditioners (via Jean Louis David). But too much exposure to the sun can backfire and drain keratin from the hair. When this happens, hair becomes drier, thinner, and more likely to split and break.

Chlorine offers no such good news-bad news bulletin. Unfortunately, exposing hair to chlorine brings only negative effects. Chlorine is good at killing bacteria and keeping pools safe. But it can strip the natural oils from hair (as well as skin and nails), causing greater dryness and brittleness the longer the exposure continues. It doesn't help that chlorine has a nasty habit of literally attaching itself and clinging to whatever it comes into contact with — the reason swimmers are encouraged to rinse off after exiting a chlorinated pool. This clinging habit bodes poorly for people who color their hair. In fact, Biolage explains, "If you have colored hair, chlorine will bond with the artificial color and draw it out quickly." However, it's never too late to launch a counteroffensive.

Shield your hair

If you plan to simply sit in the sun (without going in the water), applying a protective balm or thermal protector to your hair will help blunt the UV rays of the sun. As a result, the chemicals in the hair dye should stand tough and resist fading (via Robert Gold Salon). But as hot and sweaty sun lovers know, even a quick dip in the pool can be immensely satisfying. Now that you understand how chlorine can virtually attack hair and drain it of moisture, it should make sense that wetting your hair and applying conditioner before jumping into a chlorinated pool can serve as a double shield. To reinforce it, consider using coconut oil.

While it may not be your favorite, rinse your hair with cold water, which will keep those hair cuticles closed so that the color stays put. Perhaps most important, be sure to moisturize your hair. Conditioner will soften and add shine to your hair — outcomes you can intensify by applying a weekly hair mask treatment (via Corpore Sano). Buy one at the store or follow a recipe to mix your own. You can have some fun if you take this route, creating a mask around a pivotal ingredient such as bananas, eggs, honey, or olive oil (via Healthline). The first two may be the best choices as they contain healthy amounts of the sunshine vitamin — vitamin D.