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Five common misconceptions regarding beach hair care & why hair oil will always be the best product



While researching for recommended best watersports and beach hair care practices I came across a few misconceptions which may need to be reconsidered. Although we are all entitled to our “own” miraculous recipe, we must check the theory behind each one of them and decide if it will work for ourselves!

But first, lets explain a few basics about hair and water. The inner core of the hair loves fat (a). While it does need some water to keep it hydrated, too much water will cause core swelling and bulging. This will damage the outer skin of the hair, what is called the cuticle layer, making the individual scale-like structure stand up and become porous. This will make the hair loose shine and elasticity, making the hair prone to breaking (a,b,c).

So, every activity in the water will challenge the natural protection capacity of our hair, making specific watersports and beach hair care not only mandatory but also different from your standard hair care.


1. Rinse your hair with fresh water before going into the pool or sea


Many swimmers seem to swear on soaking their hair with fresh water prior to jumping in the pool or the sea. The idea is, that the hair saturated by the fresh water has no “space” left for additional salty or chlorine water. The theory behind this idea is correct, and while it could be effective for a short swims, all the divers, surfers and kiteboarders are left exposed for a prolonged period of time and thus a phase where the equilibrium is found between fresh and salt water.

Once the hair is wet, it will depend on the integrity of our hair shaft, how much water will cross the scaly hair skin and enter into the core area. Already damaged hair will soak up more water than needed and the result is the swelling of the inner core. The next hit by salty water will have salt and more water diffusing into the coree, again causing additional damage to the already porous scaly skin (a,c).


2. Use conditioner or hair mask as hair protection from salt water


Most hair conditioners and hair masks are water soluble. Once your hair is immersed into the water, the applied mask will quickly dissolve and dissapear. Just like taking a shower. It may prevent your hair from getting entangled but it definitely does not help to protect the hair from salt water damage. As an additional thought: most masks and conditioners carry ingredients, like silicones and perfumes which are clearly not safe to coral reefs and aquatic life. So once the mask dissolves away, it enters the ecosystem.



3. The use of a hair cap


It is a very good to use a hair cap when active with watersports. It definitely prevents your hair, especially long hair, from floating around and getting entangled. Unless it is a waterproof hair cap however, it will allow water to come through and depending on the duration of water exposure, your hair might be affected nonetheless.


4. Comb your hair neatly after swimming


We should avoid combing our hair fiercely when wet, especially when already damaged or at high risk. The reason is simple: wet hair is heavy and the hair fiber stretches to it’s maximum length. I’m sure you have noticed wet hair is longer than dry hair! Without the extra elasticity, combing will overstretchthe hair. So… leave the comb or brush in your hotel room.



5. Leave in the salty water for beautiful beach curls


It is true that salty water is responsible for those beautiful wide beach curls, but you definitely don’t do your hair any favours if you leave in that salt while drying in the sun (a,b,c). Rinsing with fresh water after swimming in the sea is key to hair care - you will still develop some of those sticky curls and keep you hair healthy!


What is the best hair care for divers, surfers and swimmers who will spend most of the day on the beach or in the water?


The answer comes from hair fiber physiology. Our hair likes water to keep hydrated but not too much and not too fast. Getting the inner hair fiber core more hydrophobic (water repelling) and coating the outer cuticle layer with a water repellent emolient, is ideal (a,d). We find the most effective solution with the use of an oil blend containing oils with penetrating and coating properties.





Li Lé Blue Watersports Hair Care Oil is a hair product specifically designed for divers, surfers and swimmers. All the natural oils of this blend being carefully selected to protect the hair from salt water, while adding valuable nutrients to your hair and preventing the hair fiber damage by the effects of water, salt, sun and the drying sea breeze!

The natural content of vitamines and polyphenols as well as the selected properties of plant extracts will further nuture your hair repairing existing damage. The formula is composed of natural oils, without perfumes or preservatives and it has been awarded with Reef Friendly Certification.



References:

a. Dawber R. Hair: Its structure and response to cosmetic preparations. Clin Dermatol. 1996; 14:105-112.

b. Swift JA. The mechanics of fracture of human hair. Int J Cosmet Sci. 1999;21:227-239.

c. Robbins, CR. Chemical and physical behavior of human hair. fourth. New York: Springer-Verlag; 2002.Keis K, Persaud D, Kamath YK, Rele AS. Investigation of penetration abilities of various oils into human hair fibers. J Cosmet Sci. 2005;56:283–95.

d. Keis K, Persaud D, Kamath YK, Rele AS. Investigation of penetration abilities of various oils into human hair fibers. J Cosmet Sci. 2005;56:283–95.

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