Chlorine remains one of the worst hair abusers, leaving it dry and brittle especially at the ends. It can also accelerate the fading color-treated hair, turn brown shades red and - in the worst cases - give blond shades a greenish cast. Salt water isn't much better, since it leaves drying deposits on hair and scalp. The best advice, according to Dr. David Cannell of Redken Laboratories: Wear a bathing cap and rinse hair thouroughly as you step out of the pool or ocean. Never allow your hair to dry in the sun without rinsing, since sunlight can intensify the damage. If you're heading for a beach where fresh water may not be handy, you might want to tuck a thermos of club soda or mineral water into your beach bag for a refreshing, bubbly rinse.
When you get home, wash your hair with a mild, acid-balanced shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner. Mixing a teaspoon of baking soda into the rinse water can help remove any last traces of chlorine. It's a good idea to give your hair a deep penetrating conditioning treatment. New York hairstylist Richard Stein recommends the following freshening rinse: Mix 1/2 cup cider vinegar with 2 1/2 cups of water. Apply the mixture to your hair after shampooing, leave on one minute, and wash out with lots of cool, clear water.