Even as the fear of skin cancer keeps millions away from the recreation they might otherwise enjoy, there are more millions by far that continue to golf, play tennis, hike, bike and invade beaches like conquering armies. Although the synthetic sunscreens that fill pharmacies and surf shops might not be the best possible solutions, few natural alternatives are currently available. This article, however, is about hair and keeping it as healthy as possible.

While some people might see their hair as a “crowning glory,” for others it is a constant disappointment. This is typically because it is dry and without luster, which is caused, at least partly, by how they treat it. As they trek to their favorite activities, many throw their hair up in a tight band or scrunchie. Worse, they might leave it loose to soak up sunscreen, sweat and sun while being whipped into knots by prevailing winds.

It is easy to see the challenge that the lack of moisture in desert climates presents for hair. Seeing water as an equal challenge is less intuitive, but nonetheless true. Chlorine and saltwater (another form of chloride) act as desiccants that literally suck the moisture out of hair. The combination of chlorine, saltwater, sun, sweat and sand are a full-blown “hair cataclysm,” causing split ends, breakage and that not so sexy “bleachy-dry-out.”

Hair Hacks To Keep Your Hair Healthy

Hair Hack - Wet your hair with clean water before entering the ocean, lake or poolIf you’re reading this, it’s likely that your once lustrous tresses are now mussy mops. But, fear not. There’s a lot you can do to return life to your locks. Here are 11 expert tips for healthy hair.

1) Be Proactive: Believe it or not, you can reduce damage by simply wetting your hair with clean water before getting into the ocean or pool (or even a lake). Your hair soaks up the clean water, thereby limiting its ability to absorb chlorine, salt or pollutants. This is a BIG WIN. Of course, that clean water will dry at some point, so it’s wise to have a couple of bottles with you for re-do’s if you’re out for extended periods.

2) Give Your Hair A Rinse: Rinse your hair thoroughly with clean water (you can always use that bottle that’s too warm to drink) as soon as you’re out of the less pristine agua in which you swim, and then shampoo and condition when you get home.

3) Be Gentle: Be extra gentle with wet hair. Your hair’s structure is weaker when wet or damp, so use a wide toothed comb or untangling brush for styling. While your normal impulse might be throwing your air up in a top knot, you are better off drying it or letting it dry in the open air.

4) Protect Your Hair: Exposure to the sun depletes the vital protein called keratin in your hair. Keratin is like a super shield against humidity but when it is depleted, your hair will be more “brillo” than brilliant. Keratin treatments (or supplements) can help protect you from the frizzies and give your locks a new lease on life. Using a good keratin based hair care line at home is also wise.

Hair Hack - Cover your hair after being in the water or outdoor recreation5) Cover Up: After coming out of the water or engaging in outdoor recreational activities, wear a hat (cotton or silk is best). This will shield your mane. It also encourages that personal expression that brings out the best in you!

6) Nutrients Matter: Whatever the weather, certain nutrients are critical to your hair. A good supplement can be a godsend. If your hair is typically healthy, a good multivitamin based in Super Foods and Superior Herbs will be plenty. If you have an ongoing lack of luster, look for plenty of biotin combined with herbs like Fo-Ti, Asparagus root, Nettles, Codonopsis and Cordyceps, and speciality nutrients like Cynatine HNS (a special, solubilized Keratin), and Verisol collagen.

7) Add A Bit Of C: Get plenty of protein and Vitamin C so that your body can also produce Keratin of its own.

8) Prevent Breakage: Omega-3 fatty acids nourish the oil glands that keep your hair shiny, and iron helps keep your hair strong and prevent breakage. Flaxseed oil, krill oil or algal oil are your best choices here.

9) E Is For Hair: Vitamin E might be the most important of all vitamins for hair. It protects cell walls and regulates collagen breakdown. If you use a good multiple, you’ll probably get enough of these things. You’ll want at least 100 IU of Vitamin E and 300 mg of Vitamin C.

10) Oil It Up: Sandalwood products, and especially sandalwood oil used topically are an excellent option for those experiencing hair loss, as a compound called “sandalore” stimulates hair growth by acting on hair follicles.

Hair Hack - Get your hair cut regularly11) Keep It Cut: Getting your hair trimmed on a regular basis is an absolute must. Freshly cut hair seals the ends so that they can better resist the splitting and other damage caused by sun and chemicalized water.

Naturally, everyone wants great hair. After all, it’s the ultimate accessory. If your hair is great, you can wear anything. If not…well, not so much. But remember, the things you do to make it “seem” better – things like dyeing, highlighting and so on – are just quick fixes that add further wear and tear. We’re not saying that you can’t do those things, but be sure that as you do, you’re doing these other things to keep your “real” hair as healthy and happy as possible.