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My summer haircare staples and tips for repairing sun-damaged hair

We’ve been having the most incredible weather in Cape Town recently, and I’ve been making the most of the lovely, balmy days by going for regular beach walks first thing in the mornings, followed by a quick dip in the ocean whenever possible.

These daily beach walks have definitely helped to keep that holiday feeling alive well into February, but the extended summer holiday vibes means that I’ve had to stay on top of my summer skincare routine, with a daily application of SPF and a hydrating mask once a week to help combat any dehydration and sun damage. And then it struck me: most of us are so good at protecting and looking after our skin during the summer months, but have you ever stopped to think about the damaging effects that the sun, salty sea water, chlorine, and wind have on your hair?

Now, more than ever, my hair is in need of some seriously effective products to help protect my hair and repair existing damage, all the while adding a much-needed boost of intense nourishment. The Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect collection claims to do all this and more, helping to prevent cuticle damage and repairing all the damage done to your hair during the holidays, while protecting it from any future damage at the same time. The result? Healthier, softer, and noticeably shiny hair – regardless of any exposure to the elements. Sounds good to me… but does the Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect collection really live up to it’s promises?

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In a nutshell? Definitely YES. I’ve been using the entire range on my hair for a full month, and my hair is feeling incredible: it feels touchably soft and smooth, and despite not having coloured my hair in well over eight weeks, my hair is still super-shiny and vibrant (proof that the range works well on coloured hair – if my red hair hasn’t faded, despite frequent washing and sun-exposure, I doubt other shades will fade).

Here are a handful of healthy hair tips that I’ve found useful during the summer months – follow these religiously, and I can guarantee that your hair will look better in no time!

1. Don’t wash your hair too often

As someone who is fanatical about washing my hair every second day, this was quite possibly the most difficult piece of advice to implement. Shampoo tends to dry out your scalp and your hair ever further, so it’s best to avoid washing your hair too often – easier said than done, especially in the heat of summer when you’re concerned about greasiness and sweat!

Switch to a mild shampoo, like Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Shampoo (R70), and try to add an extra day between washes. I like to rinse my hair with cold water – this helps to seal the cuticle (hello, shiny hair!) and makes your hair less susceptible to breakage.

2. Try co-washing your hair

Co-washing is one of the biggest crazes to hit the haircare world in recent months. Wondering what on earth co-washing is? In short, co-washing is when you skip your usual shampoo, and ‘wash’ your hair with conditioner instead. It doesn’t have quite the same squeaky clean feel that regular washing with shampoo does, but it does a good enough job and helps to top up your hair’s moisture levels to boot.

I simply alternate doing the full shampoo-and-conditioner routine with co-washing – using the Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Conditioner (R70) – every second wash, and I’ve noticed a huge improvement in terms of how soft my hair is.

3. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! 

You wouldn’t dream of going a day without applying a moisturiser to your skin, so why neglect your hair? The single most important thing I’ve ever done for my hair was introducing a weekly at-home treatment. Nothing fancy or expensive – Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Deep Smoothening Masque (R75) comes in a huge tub, it’s incredibly budget-friendly, and – most importantly – it really works. Sunday evenings are reserved for treating my skin and hair to some much-needed TLC, and I always apply a generous dollop of this Deep Smoothening Masque to the lengths and ends of my hair and leave it to work it’s magic while giving my skin a good buff and polish. Sometimes, if I’m in desperate need of an intensive treatment, I’ll leave it on to do it’s thing overnight. You won’t believe how super-soft and smooth (and healthy!) your hair feels after just one use!

Quite possibly my favourite product from the entire Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect collection? The new Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Deep Moisture Soufflé (R75). This product is everything!  

The super-luxurious air-whipped formula contains Pro-Vitamin B5 and a blend of four moisturisers for immediate results and locked-in moisture for up to 24 hours. I like to distribute a golfball-sized dollop through the roots and ends of my (damp) hair when I know I’m going to be spending the day in the sun – it adds immediate softness and shine, and transforms my hair from dull and dry while offering protection against the harsh elements at the same time. I can’t even begin to explain the sensorial joy of using this product – it feels so luxe and smells so good; I just can’t get enough! If you try just one product from the entire collection, make it this one.

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4. Don’t forget to cover up!

While both Beanie and The Husband are big on their hats, I never even owned a hat – until a few weeks ago. One of my resolutions for 2017 is to be even more diligent about protecting my skin and my hair from the sun, and one of the ways I’m doing this is by wearing a sun hat every time I’m outdoors. Not only does wearing a hat help to protect your hair from the wind and the sun’s damaging rays, it also helps your scalp to retain moisture – vital if you wash your hair frequently, like I do (see point number 1, above!)

5. Fight breakage

If you plan on spending the day at the beach or beside the pool, try applying conditioner and leaving it in your hair to help prevent sun damage and to ensure that your hair doesn’t absorb too much chlorine or sea water. Ensure that your hair is saturated with clean, fresh water before taking a dip – for the same reasons as described above. The less chlorine (or salt water) your hair absorbs, the better – chlorine and salty sea water dry out your hair, which leads to breakage.

I like to use a leave-in smoothening cream or serum – like Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Frizz Fighter Cream (R75) – to help prevent frizz and flyaways on hot, humid summer days. The Frizz Fighter Cream also helps to seal your hair’s cuticle, which helps to protect your hair while preventing breakage at the same time. It’s a win-win, and a must for every beach bag.

I’ve been using the Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect collection religiously for the past few weeks, and the state of my hair has improved in leaps and bounds. There’s no doubt that the haircare products that you use can have a massive impact on the health of your hair, but I’ve also found that following a healthy, balanced diet that contains plenty of omegas (think delicious avos, a handful of nuts, and a sprinkle of chia seeds and you’re on the right track) goes a long way towards healthier, stronger hair. I’ve also been taking my vitamins every day (as someone who follows a vegan diet, supplementing with Vitamin B is hugely important, and this has had such a great impact on my hair and skin), and I make sure that I hydrate from the inside out by drinking at least 2 litres of water daily. This holistic approach to haircare – paired with using some exceptional haircare products – has made a big difference to the overall look and feel of my hair, and I couldn’t be happier.

If you’re keen to give the range a go (and you should!), you’ll find the entire Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect collection at your nearest retail store. You can also head on over to the Pantene South Africa Facebook page (here) for more product info and advice.

* A very big thank you to Pantene for supporting For The Beauty Of It! Although this post contains paid-for content, all opinions are mine, and 100% truthful at that!