Do A Detox

Too much fun in the sun? Here's how to restore your mane to its former glory.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Singapore’s climate – hot and humid year-round – calls for frequent dips to cool off. But while we get a refreshing hit, we’re also exposing our hair to saltwater, pool chemicals such as chlorine, and more time in the sun (hello, free radicals), all of which can wreck havoc on our prized asset. Although protection is important, it’s often difficult to sustain (swim caps and hats usually play second fiddle to sunscreen). This detox plan will help you counter whatever has gone awry, so you step into the new year with a head of healthier-looking hair.


Spread conditioner through damp hair at the beach to keep colour from fading.


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“If you’ve ever seen fabric that has been left out in the sun – think patio furniture – the fibres are faded, fragile and rough,” says Rachel Zipperian, a research and development expert at Herbal Essences. “UV rays cause oxidation, which destroys structural proteins in hair and the protective outer cuticle layer, leaving it more likely to snap, and causing split ends and frizz.” That means that the more sun your strands take in, the more damage you can expect. In addition to shielding your strands with a UV-protective product such as Sachajuan Hair In The Sun ($39, before heading outdoors, counteract the sun’s effects with a weekly deepconditioning mask such as Aesop Rose Hair & Scalp Moisturising Masque (from $47). Don’t skimp on regular conditioner either. Keep product off your roots if you have fine or thin hair, and apply it all over if it’s normal to thick.
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“It might seem counterintuitive to wash your hair when it feels dry after being in a pool, but you want to remove the chemical residue as soon as possible,” says Brianne West, founder and CEO of Ethique. That’s because chlorine strips hair of its natural oils, which accelerates damage and results in rough hair. Over time, it can even lead to a shift in colour (for example, blonde hair can look green). To fully remove chlorine and all product build-up, give charcoal a try. “The pores on charcoal’s surface allow for meaningful absorption of toxins and impurities, beyond what a standard shampoo can do,” says Nancy Twine, the founder of haircare line Briogeo. Give chlorine-soaked strands a deep cleanse with a charcoal-infused shampoo, such as Hask Charcoal with Citrus Oil Purifying Shampoo ($16.90, Guardian). It’s beneficial to give your scalp a good detox once in a while too. “Chemical and product build-up on the scalp has been known to cause follicle inflammation and can potentially even lead to hair loss,” Nancy says. Try clarifying scalp drops, such as Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment ($47,, and keep excess oil in check on days you don’t wash with a dry shampoo such as Handmade Heroes Drop Dead Gorgeous Dry Shampoo ($15.90).


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A little salt can help create textured, beachy waves, but too much of it, or leaving it on for too long, will severely dry out your hair, says Rachel. When salt hits your strands, it sticks to the surface, and not only pulls moisture out of your hair but also builds up and hardens, leaving a clumpy, crusty residue. This is why it’s important to wash your hair right after a day at the beach (or if you’ve OD’d on salt spray). Stick with a mild cleanser for daily washing such as Tresemme Cleanse & Replenish Deep Cleansing Shampoo ($14.90, Guardian).

If it feels as if regular cleaning isn’t cutting it, look for another purifying ingredient: cider vinegar, which helps balance your scalp’s pH levels and cleanses the hair without stripping away natural oils or colour. In the hotter months, aim for a weekly vinegar rinse. If you’re an avid saltwater swimmer, go for a biweekly one. ACV by Dphue Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse (from US$15, or S$21, is suitable for all hair types and gentle enough even for daily use.
Like Woolite for hair, these gentle washes are suitable for even the most damaged strands.
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1 R+Co Acid Wash ACV Cleansing Rinse (US$32, or S$44,

2 Ethique The Guardian Conditioner for Dry, Damaged or Frizzy Hair (US$18,  or S$25,