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How to Cope With Summer Hair Problems

Experts give advice for treating some common summertime hair problems.

Problem No. 2: Green Hair

If a swimming pool is not properly balanced, metals such as copper in the water can leach onto hair. You know that nice green patina of a copper picture frame? It looks less fetching on the head.

Again, treated hair, especially the blond shades, tinges the most. "Chlorine is a nightmare!" exclaims Wilson. He recommends pretreating your hair with a pH balancer to try to get it to a pH of 3.5, which is acidic. "This almost creates a barrier [to greening substances in the water]. It's like a mist."

Bank is not sure that a spray might not wash out. "It might not solve the problem."

He recommends rinsing hair thoroughly before going into either a chlorinated pool or the ocean. If the fresh water has saturated the hair, the salt or chemically treated water may not be able to get under the protective scales on the hair shaft as readily.

Problem No. 3: Using Chemicals to Change Texture

Japanese straightening techniques, defrizzers, straighteners for African-American hair, dyes -- any chemical process can weaken hair, Bank points out. "When you add chemicals to sun, it's a double whammy. Even chemicals to prevent frizzies in the humidity of summer can have a mild weakening effect."

Wilson has another archenemy: 6% peroxide. "People put this in their hair, even the biggest stars," he says, "thinking it will create highlights in the sun. There is nothing more damaging! It blasts open the cuticle and if nothing is deposited underneath and the sun glares down, it can turn the hair to shredded wheat. This cannot be fixed sometimes, either."

Problem No. 4: Raking or Frying Tortured Locks

"Any hair combing, brushing, or blow drying has the potential to weaken hair," Bank says. He adds that the 100 strokes a night recommended by grandmas is a hair care trick that has seen its day.

"Some rough brushing of wet hair can pull it out by its roots!" he admonishes. "Use a wide-toothed comb. If you use a dryer, use a diffuser."

Wilson recommends a tourmaline blow dryer. Reapply the leave-in conditioner before drying with any blow dryer, he adds. And, of course, if you've been in the water, rinse with fresh, untreated water.

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