I Fried My Hair on a Beach Vacation — Now What?

Beloved hairstylist Julien Farel gives his best recommendations.
Reading time 5 minutes

When I left for Belize, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know that I’d see a crocodile from five feet away while motorboating down a river though rainforest. I didn’t know that I’d learn that I’m terrified of snorkeling. I certainly didn’t know I’d try a drink called “lizard juice.” And I also didn’t know that I would completely and absolutely fry my hair.

You know the times you goon vacation and it’s absolutely nowhere near as relaxing you’d expect? I didn’t have one of those. I had a perfect vacation. But I didn’t plan for the crazy amount of salt in the air, and although I had some wonderful shampoos with me, they were no match for the way the sand and salt blasted my bleach-blonde hair. No one reminds you to pack hair products when you’re going on a tropical vacation.

When I got back, the damage was done. My first shower upon returning home was filled with product after product, trying to fix my damaged hair. However, seeing as I’d never been in this situation before, I didn’t know where to start out with fixing my hair. When I turned to the internet, this is what I figured out:

Invest in a Good Leave-In Conditioner

To repair your hair and prevent future breakage, it's important to put in the extra work. So as long as your hair is in restoration mode, you should use a leave-in conditioner as well to protect your hair while out during the day. The best thing you can do is find one that protects your hair while also providing UV protection. Influencer-beloved brand IGK's recently released "Thirsty Girl" works for all hair types, and tames frizz and flyaways while giving your hair its much needed TLC.

Use a Heat Protectant—Or no Heat at All

If your hair is truly damaged, you shouldn't be doing anything that damages it further. This means heat-styling, teasing, and most hairsprays are out of the question. Regardless, some people don't have the option to let their hair air-dry, whether due to time or hair type. So if you absolutely must heat-style, pick up a product that will counteract the effects. Living Proof's newest release is a blowout concentrate that protects coarse hair up until 450 degrees. It's your safest bet.

Pick up a Treatment

If you have colored hair like mine, your hair has likely been through enough as is. Bleach and dyes are notoriously damaging to the bonds, which is why people get things like keratin treatments at salons. A product like Überliss—which repairs the bonds at home—is a good thing for anyone with colored hair to keep around. I was lucky I had it when I got back from my trip, and it was the first thing I reached for that really helped. It's not necessarily a salon treatment, but it's as close to salon quality as you'll get without spending the big bucks.

Ultimately, my hair was far too damaged to get back to normal on my own, so I reached out to the folks at Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa in New York City to help me out. To get my hair back to normal (possibly better than normal, honestly) we did three things: a PPT treatment, a toned gloss, and trimmed the ends. While the gloss got my hair back to the normal, ash blonde it is, and the trim cut off the ends, the PPT treatment was what truly fixed my hair. It's a really intense, customizable keratin treatment that uses NoiraudePro to make your hair stronger, healthier, and shinier. No, a treatment like this isn't the cheapest thing in the world, but it was beyond luxe, and I was taken care of every step of the way (thanks, Mike and Steven!)

Julien Farel himself had some recommendations too, for before the hair is damaged.

To keep hair from becoming brassy: 

"We love all-natural tricks, and a great one for brightening up blonde is to use lemon juice. However, this fruit is only for those with natural blonde or ashy light brown hair, because darker brown hair would turn brassy and orange.  For dark brown hair, I would suggest cinnamon or chamomile tea."

To prevent damage at the beach:

"I love the ocean, but salt water will strip your hair color and hair health. In order to combat this, use [a vitamin treatment] before a day at beach. Wet your hair before you head out, towel dry and then add [the treatment] to protect your hair while you’re out enjoying the sun. You can put it in a loose bun or braid under a hat.  When you come back from the beach, rinse your hair and you will see and feel the dramatically softer, healthier, and shinier results instead of the effects of salt damage."


Finally, what I wish I'd heard before:

"Do not stop taking care of your hair and skin while on vacation. Since many of us try to maximize fun in the sun, it's important to not overexpose.  Travel with a hat and buy travel sizes of your favorites so you can focus on making your memories."


related posts

Recommended posts for you