Products Collette Hartner recommends to save your summer hair 

We recently had the chance to catch up with Collette Hartner, owner and stylist at Sarasota's Top Knot Salon, on what we should be doing to maintain healthy hair this summer. Hartner, who has been stylist in Sarasota for 10 years, knows all too well the beating hair can take from intense sunshine, chlorine in pools and salt in the sea.

We first chatted about purple hair treatments that appear to be everywhere now. Purple shampoos and conditioners are color-tinted products that help get rid of undesirable brassy tones in your hair. Hartner says those treatments are not just for blondes. One of her best sellers is an Ash Brown conditioner that helps “cool down” brunette strands. The conditioner is made by the Swedish brand REF, and is part of an entirely vegan product line.

Next up, what is the deal with sulfates in hair products? While beauty magazines have claimed that sulfates are evil shampoo additives that are out to eat our hair, what they really do is create lather. Hartner tells us that lather helps the product get in and clean your hair and that instead of worrying about sulfates, we need to look for shampoos that are pH balanced. Manufacturers market those products with a pH label on the bottle.

When asked about hair masks, Hartner says they aren’t worth your time or money. She recommends making your own DIY hair mask by combining your daily conditioner with your favorite hair oil and keeping it in your hair for at least 10 minutes. (Hartner says you could keep the DIY mask on for three days, but... eeks!) Hartner also suggests you stay away from any products with silicone as a top ingredient, and apparently, it's in way more hair products than you would think. "Silicone stops hair from absorbing conditioner and other products and also leads to product build-up in your hair," she says.

Sea salt sprays were next on our list. These help create waves and separation in the hair for those on a quest for mermaid-worthy locks. Hartner urges us to pay attention to what kind of salt is inside your "sea salt" sprays. "Sodium chloride, the scientific name for salt, should be used sparingly in products," Hartner says. Products like Kevin Murphy Hair Resort spray give you those same salty waves, but balances the salt with lots of natural oils.

When it comes to frizzy, wild-looking hair that is the (immediate!) result of stepping outside during a hot and humid Sarasota summer, Hartner recommends two products. Bedroom Hair spray by Kevin Murphy is not marketed as an anti-frizz product, but Hartner tells us it's her secret weapon for those annoying little baby hairs that fly up around your face. While this product works best for people with fine hair, she also recommended Easy Rider cream by Kevin Murphy for those with coarser or thicker hair. "This product helps define natural waves in the hair, minus the humidity 'poof,'" Hartner says.

Her parting secret tip? Wear your conditioner to the beach. Seriously. Hartner recommends putting a glob of conditioner directly into your dry hair and then throwing it up into a top knot before a day in the sun. “Lots of people wear sunscreen, but most forget that hair can suffer from U.V. damage as well,” Hartner says. Salty air and salty water can also wreak havoc on hair, turning your lustrous locks drab and dull.

Top Knot Salon is located at 426 Central Ave., Sarasota. You can purchase all of the products listen in this article at the salon, or make an appointment on the salon's website.

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