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Keep your hair in shape during summer!

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The summer months are the time when our hair really suffers and what was once shiny and healthy can become dull and lifeless.

Sun, salt water, styling products, colour and heating tools can all leave your hair dry, brittle and altogether unmanageable. No one likes to have hair that feels like straw and looks like hay. Having gorgeous, healthy hair can have a huge impact on your overall appearance. Not only does it frame your face, but when your crowning glory is unhealthy it is usually a reflection of how you feel as well and no amount of cuts and colours can make it look better.

Prevention, as with most things in life, is the best option. But with the middle of summer and the new year fast approaching now is the perfect time to whip that hair back into shape. Just keep in mind that once your hair is out of shape, it's a bit like neglecting your body, one visit to the gym is not going to fix it. But with a little TLC and the right products you can have healthy hairdresser hair that will feel, look and smell a whole lot better.

The Basics:
A conditioner is not a treatment and if your hair is longer than 6cm and/or has any form of chemical treatment in it, then you need to do both. The more you have done to your hair, and the older and longer it is, the more you will need to do on the treatment side. It's all about nourishment and knowing what type of hair you have and how to look after it.

Some basic rules of thumb would be:

* Use a once a month treatment if your hair is in good shape and you want to keep it that way.
* Use a once a fortnight treatment if you tend to suffer from any form of dryness or your colour fades.
* Use a once a week treatment if your hair is out of shape and needs nourishing.
* Use a twice a week treatment and even an in-salon treatment (which is stronger and more specific) if your hair is in really bad condition.

There is no use doing a treatment too often so make sure you only give your locks what they needs. Hair only has the ability to absorb so many nutrients, it's a bit like taking too many vitamins. Leaving it on for longer than is recommended is also not beneficial and may actually do more harm as when too much protein is added to hair it can become brittle and prone to breakages.

What's Out There?
There are several options for repairing damaged hair which range from in-salon treatments to supermarket products. While they range in price and vary in strength they all serve to put vital nutrients back into your hair.

LC2, available from Goldwell salons, is a range of intensive treatments including products to rebuild the structure of your hair and add strength. They also have treatment packs which give you the ultimate in added moisture. Selecting the right product for your hair is very important with this range so it's a good idea to go to your hairdresser for a diagnosis first. Recommended prices range from $17.50 to $29.50.

How to keep your colour looking good in all that sun:
ARTec the famous brand name in colour protection have everything from colour moisturisers in a shade to suit your hair colour with names like sunflower, strawberry, cherry bark and mahogany (RRP $28.30). They also have their Kiwi Coloreflector range of styling and finishing products that protect and preserve your hair colour from harmful UVA and UVB rays increasing the life of your colour.

Goldwell's LC2 range also contains Keep It Brilliant, a leave-in treatment designed to regenerate colour treated hair and leave your hair with a silky soft feel. They retail from around $29.50.

On the supermarket side of things, there is AM, which have a new range of shampoos and conditioners to look out for. These include rich moisture, colour and volume boosting products which all have the added bonus of UVA and UVB filters. There is also Decoré Intensive Colour Treatment which is designed to lock in your hair colour and protect your hair from damage as does VO5 Hot Oil Shower Works which includes Aloe Vera. These are all available from stores nationwide.

One more thing to keep in mind in your quest for smoother, shinier hair is that you are what you eat. If you feel unhealthy inside it will usually reflect on the outside, not just in you hair but in your skin and nails as well. So be conscious of what you eat and avoid too many fatty food, cigarettes, caffeine and alcoholic drinks. Instead try and work plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lean meats and water into your diet.

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