I’ve been blonde for about twenty years. And since I’m not a natural blonde – I like to think of myself as an intentional blonde – I have spent the last twenty years not necessarily ‘having more fun’, but desperately trying to preserve this blondeness. I’m not talking about the endless highlights, balayage and toners my hairdresser has on rotation but the aftercare necessary to keep blonde hair blonde. For years it’s been all about stopping my hair snapping under the weight of a lifetime of bleach. Today, us blondes can have loftier aspirations; we can actually achieve shining lengths and icy hues, thanks to the arsenal of brilliant products designed to keep blonde hair looking glossy.
But we are now entering the intentional blonde’s season horribilis. The summer promises an extra assault on bleached hair – UV damage, heat-related frizz, sea salt’s drying effect, chlorine’s green afterglow. The atmosphere tends to be dryer, and so your hair will be too. Air con will exacerbate the effects, as will a holiday, or more specifically the uniquely dire environment of a plane cabin and two weeks in tropical heat. Not only does dry hair look crispier and less glossy, but the colour will also fade more quickly as chlorine and salt gang up to make it more porous, causing colour to essentially lose its grip. My hair only has to see my passport out of its holder and it immediately tenses up. I usually start off strong with a big hat, but ultimately just watch as each tendril turns to straw, before getting a pretty drastic haircut come September. But this year, I’m assured my hair could survive the summer damage-free. According to the experts, we blondes can now summer-proof our hair.
“First, book in for a Californian Cleanse Treatment for blondes,” advises Nicola Clarke, Creative Colour Director, John Frieda Salons, AKA Queen of Blondes, who tells me it was Lady Gaga who first introduced this salon treatment to her. “It is vegan and all natural, instantly brightening blondes and highlights, restoring vibrant colour and shine, and infusing moisture.”
Then, if you haven’t already, it’s time to invest in your haircare routine, with products specially designed for blonde hair. JLo’s colourist Tracey Cunningham once told me: you don’t spend a ton of money on cashmere sweaters and then wash them with your jeans. If you’re going to pay to get your hair coloured, wash it with quality products to make it last. “It’s really important to speak to your colourist about the best at-home haircare for you,” says A-list hairdresser, Adam Reed, “It’ll depend on hair type, the tone and colour of the hair, as well as the frequency of hairwashes.” For me, it’s a combination of products from the Kerastase Blond Absolu range and Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment £30, where happily a little goes a long way.
Next, think of your hair as an extension of your skin. When you apply SPF to your face and body, make sure you do the same to your hair. “UV protection is key,” says Nicola, “Really smother your hair in the treatment, then put your hair into a messy bun, braid it or add a hat or scarf for a chic, laid back summer look.”
If humidity is your bête noir in the summer, try Nicola’s other top tip: slick back with Virtue Polish Un-Frizz Cream £19. And if you’re planning on taking a dip? “Remember to rinse your hair after swimming,” says Nicola, “And leave a conditioning treatment on for as long as possible.”
Summer Proof Your Blonde, with…