The Unexpected-but-Crucial Beauty Product You *Need* to Be Packing in Your Beach Bag

You'll be prettier for it.

Fun, Sand, People on beach, Leisure, Summer, Comfort, Beach, Vacation, Sitting, Bikini,
(Image credit: Getty, design by American Artist and Katja Cho)

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of having two French hairstylists named Etienne and Rishi coax my thicket into a romantic up-do for a fancy party I was attending that night. They, on the other hand, had the distinct displeasure, I'm sure, of working with my Summer Weekend hair: disturbingly slick at the roots after some ill-advised co-washing, simultaneously hedge-like at the (colored) ends after a few consecutive days of sunning myself on rooftops and bar patios, and all-around grody, if I may.

Let's just say there was a lot of David Mallett Volume Powder (opens in new tab) dispensed that afternoon.

After the cameras stopped rolling, one of them gave me a very specific set of instructions, which was perhaps a gentle way of telling me that my mid-lengths felt as if they'd been run through a dehydrator like so many apple slices. "Every time you're about to get in the pool," Etienne said not unkindly, "put some conditioner in."

I've not dipped a toe in une piscine for a month now, but I'm semi-flattered that my hair can be mistaken as the product of many laps swum and not just poor personal hygiene. Here's the rub: Even if you're more conscientious than me, you're still probably not pre-treating and protecting your hair against chlorine—you're still probably not chucking a bottle of Pantene in your beach bag alongside a pseudo-intellectual bestseller that will be thrown over for Hello! the minute the umbrella's open.

But you *should* be, because 1) my present could be your future, and 2) *my* future could be Slash but with a much less well-defined wave pattern. Prevention is key, people, so condition, condition, condition. Then, when you're done straddling swan inflatables (opens in new tab), rinse off and apply even more. Don't be like me.

Liquid, Blue, Product, Brown, Fluid, Bottle, White, Aqua, Beauty, Turquoise,

(Image credit: Courtesy, design by American Artist)
  1. 1. Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light Conditioner, $6,
  2. 2. Matrix Total Results Moisture Me Rich Conditioner, $12,
  3. 3. David Mallett Conditioner No.1: L'hydration, $50,
  4. 4. Five Wits Hydrating Conditioner, $36,
  5. 5. R+Co Sunset Blvd Blonde Conditioner, $28,

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Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.