Sand, salt water and sunshine are synonymous with summer, but unfortunately, they’re also the very things that can cause lasting damage to your hair. As a result, you’re left to contend with brittle, straw-like strands well into fall. Here’s how to turn the tide on post-summer damage before winter sets in.

Don’t neglect your scalp. 

John Pulitano, creative director at Headcase Hair in Sydney, Australia, suggests starting from the top when it comes to restoring your hair’s health.

“Our scalps sweat more than usual in summer, creating buildup and irritation that cause itchiness and dandruff,” he says.

Exfoliation is crucial for keeping the scalp healthy and allowing the follicles to breathe, so enlist a scalp scrub as part of your regular routine to cleanse, purify and restore balance. And don’t forget to protect your scalp from sunburn. A hat may be the obvious choice, but consider this hack: “Run a lip balm with SPF along your part before heading out,” says Joey Scandizzo, co-creative director at ELEVEN Australia.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. 

Hold off on the deep-conditioning mask (for a second) and start the repair process before your next shower. Pulitano favours pre-shampoo treatments for bringing dry and brittle ends back to life.

“One of my favourites is Oribe Gold Lust Pre-Shampoo Treatment, which is made with proteins that penetrate deep into dry hair while the natural oils protect and moisturize the outside,” he says.

This may sound strange, but it helps repair a porous cuticle so it absorbs less water and retains more moisture when wet. Follow with a hydrating shampoo before you bring in the big guns: the hair mask.

Add protein. 

When it comes to choosing a treatment, Scandizzo recommends opting for a product with protein to supercharge the repair.

“If your hair is extremely dry and brittle, moisturizing masks alone aren’t enough; the actives won’t have anything to hold on to and will just wash out,” he says. And don’t forget the basics: Simply brushing can help revive lacklustre hair.

“Your natural oils are the best moisturizer,” says Scandizzo. “Brushing your hair from the roots to the tips is a great way to loosen excess oil and bring it down the hair shaft to give dehydrated areas a big drink of moisture.”

Consider adding a Mason Pearson brush to your repertoire; the bristles are a mix of synthetic and natural fibres to delicately aid in the distribution of moisture without further aggravating stressed-out strands.

Get a trim.

Some damage can’t be undone, so know when to cut your losses (literally). Committing to a regular trim every six to eight weeks will stop any current damage from spreading farther up the hair shaft and ensure that strands are strong and healthy come spring. Maximize the benefits by cutting back on the use of heat-styling tools and avoiding tighter hairstyles, such as severe topknots and ponytails, which strain the follicles. A loose braid or plait is a gentler, heat-free option.

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A version of this article appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of ELLE Canada. Subscribe now.