I love that I can hop on the subway for 35 minutes and get to a legit beach in my major city, and this summer I plan to get out there at least weekly and write to you guys from under a hat and some Wayfarers on, like a Don Henley jam.
My love of the beach comes from my Mediterranean blood, but it does not do the health of my hair (especially my weave hair) any favors; though it looks pretty.
Flash back to a few months ago, when my beau treated me to a couple’s massage and bath sesh at Aire Ancient baths. That place was so fancy that I was surprised to not see any major stars floating with hilarious water slippers on. One of the greatest parts: the saltarium! It's a super-salinated pool for relaxation and floating, which I enjoyed every moment of.
I also let my hair free out in that water. Big mistake. Then, outside, it was one of those days where it was about nine degrees in NYC, and I didn’t completely dry my hair or have any of my precious oils on hand. Even bigger mistake. When I got in a cab (I am a prissy brat who saves up to be able to use cabs in the winter), I must have not covered it up properly, because my hair was frozen solid. Between that and the insane saltwater exposure, the faux hair within my own was fried and had to be replaced, pronto.
It wasn’t the first time I had "burned" my hair with saltwater, but it would be the last.
I should have brought a protective oil treatment with me and kept my hair in a bun. I should have then shampooed and conditioned my hair to restore the proper pH. I REALLY should have dried my hair and not walked into the ice planet Hoth with soaking wet salty hair. For all of the knowledge we acquire, following a super-relaxing massage and bath sesh does not leave one particularly sharp of the mind, and my (fake) hair paid the price. My own hair was relatively unharmed--nothing a deep conditioner couldn’t fix--but I had learned my lesson. Never again will I tempt Poseidon to educate me on my mistakes.
I have plenty of oils to use at home, but they don’t run cheap, and when I remembered this great orange colored oil that one of my girlfriends was using at the beach last summer, I went to Ricky’s to investigate.
Luckily if you do not have a Ricky’s in your hood, Hollywood Beauty Carrot Oil is stocked at many different retailers. Seriously, I don’t know where I haven’t seen this stuff. I grabbed a two-ounce bottle, perfect for adventures, and only a mere $2.99.
It's a fabulously affordable way to protect your hair while at the beach. Soybean oil and safflower oil makeup the base for antioxidant-rich carrot seed oil in this blend, and it is great for sun protection. Soybean and safflower oil balance the linoleic and oleic acids in the formula, which coat the hair strand and soften it.
Carrot seed oil is a big winner if you will be outdoors, because it's heavy on vitamin A, a carotenoid which boosts sun protection, especially when paired with the vitamin E content of pecan and rosehip oil, as well as added tocopherols. Common hair conditioning agents such as aloe, keratin, and cholesterol are also in this product, making it a bit more softening than pure carrier oils alone.
I used this stuff on my recent weeklong jaunt in paradise to protect my hair from the UV index of 11 at that latitude. I applied it before, during and after all sun and sand activities, and instead of having a broom for a ponytail after washing, I had dreamy, soft waves that made me forget all about my frozen tresses from January. It’s as if it never happened, and I plan on maintaining that through this summer, which the Farmer’s Almanac predicts will be hot hot hot!
Though I usually go the pure and natural route, it is hard to keep yourself fully additive-free when you are at the beach, between sunscreen, Sno Cones and such. That is why this less-than-five-dollar item is a must-have if you are going to be taking a dip--you can reapply generously and frequently without worrying about cost!
Photo by Darnell Scott