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Help Your Hair Beat Summer Heat

Is your hair out of control from the heat and humidity, or dried out by the sun and swimming?

Fear not! The Early Show's stylist to the stars, David Evangelista, shared some summer hair care tips Monday to help you keep your hair looking fabulous in the summer heat:

While damaging hair can be easy, repairing can be frustratingly hard.

The primary components of hair fiber, keratins (proteins) and melanin are hair's natural shields against UVA and UVB rays. While your skin can heal itself after exposure to UVA and UVB (skin is in a continuous state of renewal — if you burn in the sun and peel afterwards, you know your skin will be back to a healthy condition in a few days), hair can't be spontaneously repaired.

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Excess exposure to the sun can end up causing keratin degeneration, which ultimately leaves you with dried out, discolored hair that can only become more damaged if it isn't treated.

Sun, wind, salt, chlorine are all harsh on your hair. Heat has a drying effect (the hair's moisture content is reduced, so it loses its softness); wind dries out the hair and increases static electricity, and salt and chlorine attack the hair. The cuticle opens up, the hair breaks, and split ends appear.

The result? Your hair loses its natural elasticity and becomes dry and brittle, causing breakage, hair loss and other problems — your hair is dry, dull and impossible to style.

So, if you've been enjoying the sun and surf sans protecting your head, and you're left with brillo-esque hair, what should you do?

First, it's important to prep your hair before you head out into the sun (or pool or ocean). An old lifeguard trick is to wet your hair with water (tap or spring) before swimming. If you do, dulling chlorine and salt water won't be able permeate the hair membrane. Make sure you carry a bottle of water with you so you can wet your hair throughout the day before jumping in for a swim — a big, water-filled spray bottle is a good option to throw in your beach tote.

It's also important to protect your scalp from the sun, so you don't burn and turn into a flaky mess. A quick trick: Take a bottle of spray, no-rub suntan lotion and spray at the roots of your hair, where your scalp is exposed. It doesn't take a lot of spraying, and if you use a clear spray, it lessens the mess.

You can also use some products on your hair that block UV rays from frying it. Companies such as Frederick Fekkai, Kerastase, Redken and Biolage all have products, from sprays to gels, that contain a UV shield that will protect your hair from root to end. Another trick: Using a wide-tooth comb, comb olive oil through you hair and slick it back. You'll be giving yourself a hot-oil treatment in the sun, and the sun won't be able to get through the olive oil to the cuticle.

Once your hair and scalp are covered, what should you do with your hair when you're out in the summer sun? The best tip, of course, is to wear a hat or wrap your head in a scarf. But, if it's too hot to do either, wearing your hair down isn't a great idea: Wind at the beach also damages hair, so your best bet is to pull hair back.

There are a few techniques for pulling your hair back at the beach: First, if you're pulling your hair into a simple knot-like bun, let the ends stick out (they'll break if you secure them too tightly with an elastic). Once hair is pulled back, spritz hair with a UV-protecting product, or slick back with a UV protectant gel.

Another way to style your hair is in a full twist, which looks chic and stylish while being good for your hair and super-easy to create. Slick back your hair with a UV protectant gel or cream and put it into a high ponytail with an elastic band. Split the pony into two sections, and wrap each section around the other, forming a twist. Secure at the bottom with another elastic (give yourself an inch of hair below where you place the elastic, so that the ends can hang out). When you take the pony twist out at the end of the day, you'll be left with lovely cascades of healthy-looking curls.

So, what to do if your hair has gotten fried in the summer heat?

You actually have several options. First, don't shampoo the conventional way. Try a dry shampoo or a spray shampoo (it acts like dry shampoo, but it's a spray); they don't strip the oils of your hair. When you shower, try this beauty editor favorite trick: Add some conditioner to your shampoo (and you should be using a gentle shampoo designed for color-treated, dehydrated, or broken hair), rinse, then do a regular conditioner treatment. Your hair will de-knot and seem silky in seconds.

If your hair has been ultra-fried in the sun and surf, you should invest in a good treatment mask to replenish moisture to it (some are even specifically made for sun and sea damage). Once a week or, max, twice, if your hair has really been wrought with heat havoc, use a heavy-duty moisturizing mask after you've shampooed your hair. Making sure you saturate each and every strand of hair with the mask, leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse out with cool water. You'll find your hair is much silkier and smooth.

Another tip: Load a wide-tooth comb with leave-in conditioner and comb through your hair. Or, use a spray-on leave-in conditioner and comb through hair with a wide tooth comb.

The best advice is to stay away from heat tools if your hair's been fried by the summer. If you must use that dryer or flat iron, though, make sure you use a heat-protectant product to minimize damage to the cuticle, and once you're done styling, rub a few drops of vitamin E or jojoba through hair to keep hair looking silky and shiny.

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