Most people only consider their skin when they hear the words ‘sun protection’ and ‘SPF’ but the reality is, your hair can suffer from sun damage just as easily. While the damage may not be as obvious as a bright red sun burn, prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays without the proper protection causes hair to bleach, break, dry out, and age faster—and that’s not even counting the havoc that summertime staples, like salt water and chlorine, wreak on our hair. Surprised? So was I. In an effort to educate, I’m breaking down the facts about the relationship between your mane and the sun—one that requires content tending.
1. HAIR AGING IS A THING
Aging hair is a lot like aging skin (minus the wrinkles) and the sun makes both happen all that much faster. Aged hair is thinner, duller, flatter, and drier. Um, no thanks! When you know you’re going to be in the sun (even on overcast days) swap your current styling creme with Bumble and Bumble’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer which gives sun protection; or prevent damage completely with a chic sun hat.
2. COLORED HAIR IS THE MOST PRONE TO SUN-BLEACHING AND DRYING
The sun doesn’t discriminate, but anyone with color-treated hair is the most at-risk as far as unwanted color changes and extremely brittle texture. If you’re worried about brassiness, protect your strands with products that are safe for color-treated hair, like Oribe’s Apres Beach Wave and Shine spray.
3. THE SPF IN YOUR SUNSCREEN WILL NOT PROTECT YOUR HAIR
The ingredients in your skin sunscreen won’t provide the same kind of protection for your hair. Sure, you can protect your scalp using products meant for you skin (I like the Honest Company Spray Sunscreen when my hair is parted) but if you want to protect your hair, you need to purchase something made with ingredients for just that. I recommend Sachajuan’s Hair In The Sun cream or the always-convenient Fekkai Pre-Soleil Hair Radiance and Protection Mist.
4. IF YOU CAN’T PREVENT OR PROTECT—TREAT
After a long day in the sun, or even worse, being poolside for a hot minute, you’ll need to restore moisture and remove any unwanted chemicals ASAP. Immediate treatment can do a lot to reverse unwanted damage and save your hair from further damage or discoloration. If you’ve been swimming, try a swimmers specific shampoo, like this one from Paul Mitchell. Swimmers shampoo is a type of chelating shampoo that’s designed to remove chlorine and other impurities. After cleansing, restore moisture with a treatment mask (with color restoration and sun protection), like this one from Alterna Haircare.
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