5 tricks for better summer hair color

Haircolorist Johnathan Gale shares lightening trends and treatments.

Coming off winter, every head of hair can use a few highlights as a pick me up, but summer activities (think surfing in the ocean, swimming in chlorine, sweating through trail runs) are hard on newly processed heads.

Smart, strategic color coupled with care is the best way to go, says Los Angeles colorist Johnathan Gale of Sally Hershberger Salon. Gale is a master at hair that looks naturally lightened and remains in good condition. “Think of young, blonde children and how the sun changes their hair as they play outdoors. I just mimic what the sun does,” he says.

His healthy approach inspired a deep-conditioning oil, Replenish, and now a face-and-hair mist made with essential oils and pH-balanced Kangen water. “The blend is invigorating and calming so it’s great to spritz on post workout,” he says.

Here, Gale offers his tips on how fit folks can brighten up without breakage.

highlight with seaweed enzymes

“The traditional way to do highlights is with peroxide but a newer, gentler option is to use a seaweed-enzyme developer. For the last eight months, I’ve been using one from Trionics to lift the hair. It’s worth asking your colorist about,” says Gale.

go with baby lights for a california sunshine blonde

“I do these tiny highlights without lifting the base color of the hair, then I balayage certain strands to brighten them further," Gale says. "It gives your scalp a break and you get that natural surfer look. I did it for Liam [Hemsworth], because he wanted to feel blonder like when he was surfing, and I just did my hair too. Now as I rock climb and swim the highlights will continue to lift through summer."

focus color at the temples

When you look at blonde children, their hair is naturally lighter at the temples—redheads and brunettes are a bit lighter there as well. "This natural softening happens due to sun exposure so I like to replicate it," Gale says. "I call it an angelic face frame because it brightens your face and makes you glow." Bonus: It’s economical.

party in the front—and in the back

“Every third or fourth visit, make sure your colorist adds some highlights underneath in the back,” advises Gale. “You don’t want your hair to look like a Klondike bar when you pull it up on the treadmill or elliptical—I’ve seen it at the gym.”

deep-condition at the beach or the pool

Before you go, saturate your hair with an oil or conditioner to protect it so the sea salt and chlorine won’t damage the cuticle and fade the color. The heat from the sun will help it penetrate so you won’t have that brittle feeling at the end of the day.