Expert's Opinion

Hot Ingredients for Summer Hair

By Philip Pelusi, Internationally recognized stylist and product artist | May 27, 2010

UV light can impact tresses—here’s how to offer the latest in nourishing formulations.

The warmth of the sun feels relaxing and gives you the sense of rejuvenation. However, nothing can be further from the truth! We all know that in moderation sunlight is beneficial, but in truth sunlight can be extremely damaging to both the skin and hair. UV light has been shown to degrade hair's structure, making it porous, weak, dry and brittle and with a generally lifeless appearance.

Obviously, the scalp is also subject to damage from UV radiation that can cause problems ranging from sunburn to significant structural and physiological damage. Keeping the scalp healthy is a critical factor to the maintenance of healthy hair.

To protect your scalp and to preserve your investment in your hair's beauty, especially the maintenance of expensive treatments such as perms and color, you must block the sun's rays with a SPF product to protect the scalp. While not able to be quantified on the hair as SPF, these products also absorb UV radiation at the specific wavelengths known to damage hair, thus doing double duty protecting the hair as well as the scalp.

It is sensible, then, to look for hair conditioning and styling products that contain UV absorbers. These products will help filter the sun's rays to help protect the hair from UV damage. As with sunscreens, these products should be applied before sun exposure and it is also a good idea to wet the hair throughout the day to help prevent moisture loss.

It is also a good idea to make repeat applications throughout the day, as SPF products are known to lose their effectiveness due to UV exposure. Due to the need to repeat this application, a weightless, non-greasy product should be used that detangles and helps control texture and eliminate frizz— as seen in my Tela Beauty Organics Guardian SPF-18.

It is also advisable to look for ingredients such as "Chlorophyll in Copper," an extremely unique plant derived UV absorber derived from the chlorophyll in green plants. Additionally, a blend of matricaria, sage, horseradish, asafetida, blackberry and grape seed has been found to add lubricity, strength and shine as it binds moisture deeply within the hair shaft. These ingredients also prevent color loss by blocking certain UV rays while it smoothes the hair surface–for example, in my P-2 Professional by Philip Pelusi Potion.

The sun can be very damaging and drying to the hair. Try to strengthen and replenish moisture loss with a weightless strengthening product. Conditioning agents that help prevent moisture loss such as organic sweet almond oil, organic shea butter and organic rice bran oil, in combination with the antioxidant-rich organic pomegranate, tomato and blackberry extracts, strengthen hair while also protecting from color loss and fade, as in my Tela Organics Healer.

Chlorine, salt water and perspiration during warm weather and exercise can also affect the integrity of your hair and cause color fade. Stop these damaging factors in their tracks by selecting products that contain chelating ingredients such as sodium or ammonium thiosulfates. These help prevent environmental damage and color fade, and are truly wonders. It is also advisable to look for products that contain a proper balance of these ingredients and the weightless strengthening power of proteins derived from wheat, silk, and yeast with vitamin E and sodium salt of pyrrolidone carbonic acid (sodium PCA).

Philip Pelusi is an internationally recognized stylist, photographer and product artist. Having gone from one salon to 13 locations as well as a magnificent industry centerpiece in New York City, Pelusi has created a philosophy, a product line, P2 by Philip Pelusi and systems for success. He created and trademarked, within the industry, the phrase “A Cut Above The Rest” to coincide with his creation of the registered Volumetric haircutting technique around which he built his empire.

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