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How To Protect Your Hair from Sun Damage

As much as we enjoy catching some sun, it’s important to protect your face, body and hair against UV damage. Wearing a hat is always the safest option, but any hair exposed to the sun is still at risk of damage. To prevent this, experts advise using targeted hair products that actively defend against UV rays. With a wide range to choose from, explore our edit of the best products that protect your hair from the sun.

How The Sun Can Affect Your Hair

If your hair has prolonged exposure to the sun, the outside cover of the hair strand—called the cuticle—can become damaged from UVA/UVB rays. According to the Cleveland Clinic, fine, lighter hair is more at risk for damage since it lacks the thickness or pigment that can protect it from the sun’s rays. How do you know if your hair is sun damaged? Here are some signs to look out for.

  1. Dry, Brittle Hair Strands

According to the Cleveland Clinic, damaged hair has a dry look and feel. It’s also harder to manage and style and usually dries quickly.

  1. Hair Discoloration

Have you ever spent hours in the sun only to notice lighter strands that look similar to highlights? This is common and happens to most—particularly if your hair is blonde or red—since melanin pigments that give hair its color are damaged upon exposure to the sun. Melanin absorbs the rays that lighten the hair fibers. When artificially-colored hair is exposed to the sun, the color evolves—fades and/or changes its shade—because the dyes in the hair fibers are altered under sunlight.

Sun Hair Care Tips

  1. Get a cut

Book yourself in for a haircut at home, and lose any dry ends. By having regular cuts, throughout the summer months, you can help your hair to weather this tough period. Having regular trims ensures that your hair is in good condition and there is less risk of split ends. If your hair is particularly showing signs of dryness, opt for trims as regularly as every 3-4 weeks and it’ll soon look healthy once more.

  1. Wear a hat

It seems obvious, but this is one of the best natural ways to protect hair from the sun. Simply cover it up, especially if you’re out when the sun is strongest. Choosing a stylish wide-brimmed hat is good news for your hair and your skin. 

  1. Look after your color

If your hair is colored, then you will need to take extra care of it during sun exposure. The chemicals used to colour your hair, combined with the sun’s rays, can change your look quite substantially. Colours can alter or fade. Sometimes they can become more intense or bleached. Additionally, coloring can already serve to dry your hair, so your hair is already prone to sun damage.

Choose products specifically designed for colored hair as these will effectively moisturise your hair. 

  1. Make conditioner your new best friend

In the summer months, expect to get through a lot of conditioners! You won’t be able to avoid all sun damage to your hair and still enjoy the outdoor living we all adore. Regular conditioning will help to bring back the moisture your hair needs to be healthy.

Choose the right conditioner for your hair. An excellent tip, and we would argue one of the best ways to protect hair from sun activities, is to smooth on some conditioner before you dive into the sea or the pool. Another of our favourite natural ways to protect hair from the sun is to use a small amount of coconut oil applied to your hair before getting into the water.

  1. Be a little more wary about shampoo

Whilst conditioner is your friend, shampoo needs to be your acquaintance. We don’t recommend shampooing every day, especially during the sunny months. You can still rinse your hair in cool or lukewarm water on those days if you wish.

When you do shampoo your hair, or if you want to do it daily due to sweat and grime build-up, then use a gentle shampoo. Focus on cleansing the roots and scalp thoroughly, but don’t scrub it through your hair, just let it wash down.

  1. Steer clear of extra heat

If your hair is already being exposed to the sun’s rays, then it doesn’t need another heat attack from straighteners and blow drying. Limit the amount of additional heat exposure. When you use a hair dryer, keep it on a low temperature and opt for a serum to protect your hair. However, allowing your hair to air-dry, where possible, is the kindest option.

  1. Consider an overnight treatment

Hair treatments which are left overnight can be particularly useful during the summer months. The deep conditioning can really help to keep your hair moisture-rich and lively. You don’t actually need to buy an expensive treatment if you don’t want to. You can use a leave-in conditioner, apply it mostly to the roots, and then secure your hair in a towel overnight.

Some leave-in conditioners come with built-in SPF protection which can be a sensible choice during the summer, particularly if you know you’ll be spending the whole day by the pool or at the beach.

  1. Avoid brushing

When you return home from time in the sun, especially if you’ve been blown about by the sea breeze, there’s a temptation to get to work with brushing your hair. 

We actually recommend that instead of brushing, you opt for a wide-tooth comb. This is less likely to break your hair as you detangle it. Go slowly and gently, using your fingers to separate knots where necessary, and you should be able to minimise breakage.

  1. Use a natural summer treatment

An excellent option which is one of the most popular natural ways to protect hair from the sun, and help with any damage, is to use a homemade hair mask. Mix together 1 egg white, 3 tbsp of natural yoghurt and 3 tbsp of mayonnaise. Cover your hair in the mixture for around half an hour before rinsing really well. Eggs are packed with protein, helping to nourish your hair.

  1. Keep your head above water

Enjoying the sea and the pool is fabulous, but it does strip your hair of natural oils. Try not to submerge your hair every day. Instead, cover it up, or keep your head above water, just to give your hair a break. It’s an excuse for using a pool floatie anyway!

Chat with your hair stylist about additional tips for sun hair care. They will also have their go-to ideas and solutions.

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