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Essential Tips for Protecting Hair from the Sun

Essential Tips for Protecting Hair from the Sun

You know the best way to protect your skin from the sun—use sunscreen daily (year-round) and generously to help shield yourself from harmful UV rays. But your sun protection needs to go beyond that. This summer, it’s time to extend your coverage to protect yourself from your toes to the top of your head.

Protecting hair from the sun may not be your first thought before heading outside on a sunny day, but it’s an essential step in your sun care routine. There’s more than one good way to protect hair in the sun, and, here, we’ll cover all your best options. Read on to discover tips on how to shield your locks from UV damage and keep your hair healthy and vibrant all summer long.

Why Your Hair Needs Sun Protection

We know how important it is to use SPF on your skin. It’s a vital part of keeping your skin happy and healthy, no matter the time of year. And while protecting your hair from the sun isn't always top of mind, the sun’s UVA and UVB rays also affect the health of your hair.

Let’s get into the details of how the sun exposure can harm your strands:

  • External lipid hair damage: Exposure to UV rays can break down the outer layer of your hair, causing your hair to lose its ability to retain moisture. Damage to this naturally protective layer can result in dry frizzy hair.
  • Internal structural damage: Sun damage causes weakening of the internal structure of your hair, resulting in split ends and potentially more serious breakage.
  • Damage to hair color: When you bleach, dye, or color your hair, it often makes it more porous and vulnerable to further hair damage from UV rays. The sun can also strip your color faster or even cause tonal changes like brassiness. If you want to safely lighten your hair in the sun, read these tips to maintain your hair’s health in the process.

What Can I Put On My Hair to Protect It From the Sun?

There are various ways to keep your hair protected to ensure you don’t cause sun-induced damage. Here are some of the most effective ways to keep your hair healthy under the heat of harmful UV rays.

Using Hair-Specific Sunscreen Products

One of the fastest and easiest ways to keep your hair and scalp protected is with an SPF specially formulated for hair, like our Scalp & Hair Mist Spray. It’s a quick, powerfully protective option that you can keep in a bag or purse for mist-on scalp and hair protection on the go.

Although SPF hair products are an ideal way to protect your hair, make sure you aren’t just using regular body sunscreen, which can weigh down your hair strands and leave them looking greasy.

Wearing Hats and Scarves

If you’d rather skip the products, use a physical barrier to block the sun, like scarves or hats. Ideally, opt for a sun hat with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) for ultimate protection, or at least choose a fabric that’s tightly woven.

Applying Natural Oils as a Protective Barrier

Some natural oils, like avocado and coconut oil, can act as a barrier to help protect your hair from UV damage. However, using hair oils isn’t as effective as using sunscreen, so this isn’t the best option for optimal sun protection.

Additional Tips for Preventing Hair Sun Damage

In addition to using hats and SPF to protect your hair, there are some other things that you can do to help minimize sun damaged hair.

Minimizing Exposure During Peak Sun Hours

You may have heard it’s best to keep your skin out of the sun’s rays during peak hours—between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.—to avoid the harshest (and most damaging) UV rays. So, not surprisingly, this same advice goes for your hair.

If you do end up getting too much sun and a sunburned scalp, try these tips to help with your after-sun recovery.

Hydrating and Nourishing Your Hair

Exposing your hair to the sun’s UV rays tends to dry it out, so ahead of a sunny day outside, make sure you’re keeping your hair well-nourished and moisturized. Before you head out, apply a deep conditioner to seal in extra moisture before UV exposure.

Also drink plenty of water and snack on high-water-content foods like fruit when you’re out on a hot, sunny day to avoid your skin and hair from getting dehydrated.

Choosing the Right Hair Care Products

In addition to using a deep conditioner before you spend a day in the sun, consider incorporating heat-protectant hair products into your routine. Not only do these products protect your hair from heat styling with devices like hair dryers, but they also provide a protective barrier from the sun and even typically contain UV filters for color-treated hair.

But, these heat protectors are not a replacement for sunscreen. Make sure you’re using a high-quality SPF to truly protect your hair and scalp.

COOLA's Solution to Scalp and Hair Protection

The ultimate way to protect your scalp this summer is with our Scalp & Hair Mist Spray. Our weightless, non-greasy SPF 30 UV protection formula mists on quickly and easily and even has a targeted nozzle to make application to your part a breeze. So, you can simply apply, protect, and enjoy your day.