Living with the tropical South Florida climate during the summer can be a challenge for all hair types. PBI recently caught up with Sheila Papillon of Salon Edge in Boca Raton to talk favorite products and top tips for ensuring hair is as healthy as possible.
PBI: What are your favorite products to calm hair in hot, humid climates like ours in South Florida?
Papillon: I have two lines that I absolutely love: Iles Formula and the Olaplex system. Olaplex has numbers one though seven, and they all do different things, starting from an in-salon treatment, an at-home treatment, shampoo and conditioner, and then a smoothing cream and bonding oil. I love their cream and oil mixed together to calm down hair in the South Florida humidity.
How can we protect our hair from the sun?
The best way to protect your hair from the sun is to actually cover your hair by wearing a hat, cap, or scarf, especially if you’re going to be at the beach all day. On the other hand, a lot of times people want to have the sun hit their hair because that will lighten up natural highlights—it just depends on what you’re trying to achieve. A cap truly is best, but if you’re going to be out boating or out at the pool all day, you could actually wet your hair first, towel dry it, and then put on a leave-in conditioner that has UV protectant in it.
What are some ways to keep blonde hair from turning green due to the chlorine in pools?
It’s really important, especially for our blondes who have been colored, to do this particular strategy of wetting your hair first, towel drying it to take most of that moisture out, and then adding a deep conditioner all the way through. That really protects the hair from absorbing the chlorine. It’s important to wet it first so the chlorine/chlorinated water isn’t the first thing hitting the dry hair. If that problem does happen, make sure that when you come out of the pool, you rinse your hair out, reapply conditioner, then shampoo it as soon as possible. If you do have problems with your hair taking in chlorine, there are specific treatments or products you can use that can counteract the green tinting.
What are the best ways to maintain color-treated hair?
I 100 percent believe in and advocate for in-salon treatments like Olaplex. They have the No. 1, which is actually used in the color, lightening agents, or chemical services like a perm or a chemical straightener—[however,] not in a keratin—and it keeps the sulfite-sulfate bonds together. If you imagine a chain-link fence, that’s what our hair looks like under a microscope. When we use the No. 1, it actually helps the bonds stay connected so that they don’t open up and become disconnected, causing the hair to become weak, brittle, and dry. After we remove the color from the hair, we do [Olaplex] No. 2 in the salon. I highly recommend for all my color-treated clients to use [Olaplex] No. 3 at home at least once a week.
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Are there certain extensions that can withstand the summer climate?
Yes! There are two brands that I love. The first one is called Covet & Mane, and the reason I like them so much is because the hair is very natural feeling and it doesn’t have silicones or filler hair. It’s the most natural to a person’s hair because it’s all human hair. Their extensions are for somebody who has straight hair or just slight movement in their hair. If somebody has curlier hair, I’ve found that Adored [Signature Hand-Tied Hair Extensions] has the most beautiful wavy or naturally curly hair. You can use those on people during the summer months or the winter months. They’re year-round as long as you take care of them. I’ve always found, with extensions, less is more. When you do very little to them, they last the longest.
What factors should you take into consideration when trying to determine how often to wash your hair?
I believe that less is more. If you have fine hair and you find that your hair’s oily, you might be over-washing it. You can start by skipping a day to see if you start noticing a difference. Generally, as a rule of thumb with most of my clients, I tell them to go at least every other day or every third day when washing their hair. If you can go a little bit longer that’s better because it allows your hair to get in the natural oils. Especially if you’re coloring; the least amount of shampooing you do when you’re color-treated the better because your color will last longer and remain vibrant. When you’re highlighting your hair, it will be able to retain more moisture if you’re not shampooing as frequently. Also, using shampoos that are sulfate-free does help because they’re not as drying. Naturally curly hair is a little bit different, and a lot of times you need to just wet or remoisturize the hair. I recommend using a spray bottle with water to add some moisture back into the hair so that the curl can pick up its natural curl formation again.
Are there any products to avoid during the summer that can increase existing frizziness?
I don’t think that there are any products that would cause frizziness during the summer other than heavy hair spray. It can make your hair feel dry and frizzy because once the humidity hits your hair, it can make it look a little stiff and awkward. It’s always best to use products that allow you to run your hand through your hair. I also think it’s very important, once you’re home for the night, to really brush through your hair. It helps pull your natural oils from the roots down through the ends, and it keeps blood flow moving at the scalp, which keeps our hair growing and keeps our hair healthy. We have thousands of tiny blood vessels that feed each little follicle of hair, so we want to make sure that we stimulate our scalp to ensure that our hair stays nice and healthy. We also want to make sure that we take care of our hair from the inside out by taking vitamins and eating healthy.
What leave-in products can people with curly hair count on during the summer?
Olaplex is my hands down winner in addition to the Iles Formula. The thing that I love about Iles Formula is that it has a shampoo, conditioner, finishing serum, Curl Revive, and hair mask. Their conditioner, finishing serum, and Curl Revive actually have protectants against heating tools and UV, and they help with color exposure and humidity. The Curl Revive from Iles Formula specifically has the right pH balance for naturally curly hair, it has coconut alkanes and macadamia seed oil in it; it’s great that it has some protein [because it] helps keep your curls beautiful and healthy looking. It also can be used when you want to style your hair straight.
The same goes with the Olaplex No. 6. You can actually use that for curly hair or if you want to smooth out your hair with a blow-dry. That’s the thing about both of these product lines that I really love: They’re interchangeable if you want your hair to be curly or straight. Both of them are vegan, sulfate-free, and paraben-free. They’re using ingredients that will actually moisturize and restructure your hair from the inside out to make it healthy.
*This interview has been edited and condensed.