As summer is heating up, trips to the beach, pool or lake are likely on your calendar. As a summer lover myself, I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible once the days get longer. Exposure to heat, UV rays, chlorine, and salt water can all take a toll on your hair.
But fear not, I’ve got a few tips and recommendations of the best products with UV hair protection to pamper your hair in the sun, wherever you’ll be spending your lazy days.
Why You Need Sun Protection for Hair
Prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB rays can cause damage to the cuticle, the outside layer of your hair strand. This can eventually lead to dry brittle hair vulnerable to breakage, frizziness, dryness, split ends, and discoloration. Basically, everything we want to avoid.
We all tend to imagine beach days as coming right out of the ocean with our locks magically drying in a perfect mermaid wave. However, sun damage ruins this fairy tale for many of us, making the thought of managing hair before, during and after the beach really daunting. Battling knots, pulling out random seaweed bits, and preemptively combating frizzy and dry hair become common challenges, especially for women with curly hair types.
The Best Sunscreen for Hair and Scalp
You make sure to slather your body to protect it from the sun’s harmful UV rays, and it’s just as important to protect your hair and scalp. This is why topping your strands off with a layer of UV protection is a must when going out in the sun. Here are the best options to try:
1. Sun Bum Revitalizing 3 in 1 Leave-In Conditioner
Sun Bun Revitalizing 3 in 1 is a great vegan product that works for all hair types. I love this option because not only does it provide sun protection for your hair but also adds hydration. It also prevents color fade, which makes it a good choice for color-treated hair. I’d also recommend a separate scalp SPF, which you can also pick up from Sun Bum.
2. Kerastase Creme UV Sublime Hair Cream
Kerastase Creme is a powerful UV protector designed for hair exposed to both sun and water. Apply to damp hair before and after sun exposure for ultimate hydration and frizz control. You may also opt for the full Kerastase Soleil range for maximum impact.
3. Philip Kingsley Swimcap Water Resistant Mask
Looking for the ultimate protection from chlorine and salt water? Swimcap water-resistant mask with strong SPF sunscreen is definitely worth attention. The best part is that you do not need to reapply it every now and then; the shield protects your hair until you remove it with shampoo (you will normally need to double shampoo to fully remove it). In addition, the mask’s formula is enriched with anti-static and softening elements.
4. Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil
Wintergreen and cinnamon bark extracts that are part of the Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil formula naturally block UVA and UVB rays, making the product a powerful UV protector for your locks. As a bonus, the spray is packed with nourishing components like shea butter, green tea extract, vitamin E, and coconut oil.
5. COOLA Organic Scalp & Hair Sunscreen Mist
COOLA SPF 30 for hair and scalp is a natural and lightweight product to protect your hair from UV rays without any greasy residue. This hair mist has broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection, but its water-resistant properties are limited to around an hour, so be sure to bring it with you to give another spritz of UV protection to your locks every now and then.
Other Ways to Protect Your Hair from Damage
I’ve learned that having an arsenal of a few good products to shield your strands from harmful UV rays while spending hot days outdoors really makes a big difference in maintaining healthy locks. However, let’s make sure you do not place additional pressure on your hair and scalp during sun exposure. Here are a few things to avoid:
- Pulling damp hair back too tightly – this can lead to breakage and thinning;
- Having your scalp directly exposed to the sun – scalp sunburn is no fun and leads to flakiness;
- Letting the chlorine or salt water sit on your hair – wash your hair as soon as possible to prevent any possible damage;
- Using harsh products on your scalp – UV rays and salt are drying, so it’s better to skip the shampoo and opt for a co-wash instead.
With that in mind, here are a few of the items you’ll find in my beach bag at all times:
Ideally, I like to arrive at the beach or pool with my hair already wet. If your hair is already wet, there will be less absorption overall of salt water or chlorine. If you don’t want to arrive with wet hair or if you know you’ll be outside for a long time, throw a spray bottle filled with water in your bag to mist your hair before jumping into the pool or ocean.
Heat is the perfect environment for deep treatments to really penetrate your hair (think of the summer air as a giant heat cap.) Therefore, this is the perfect time to multi-task and let your hair soak up as much goodness as possible.
Brush or Comb
Tangles and knots are my biggest enemy when it comes to summer hair. So I always make sure to have a brush or comb on hand. If I can continually combat knots as they appear, it makes my hair routine so much easier. My current favorite brush is The Knot Dr. for Conair The Pro.
Hair Clip and/or Scrunchie
Again, we want to prevent knots, and keeping your hair in a protective style is the best way to do this. After applying your leave-in products, gently braid or clip up your hair to prevent damage from the wind.
Hat or Scarf
We’ve already got our scalp and hair covered with the best sun protection (if not, see above), but let’s add another good measure – tying a headscarf and thus using it for fashion and function. If a bandana isn’t your vibe, a hat is also a great option.
With a better grasp on how to take care of your hair at the beach, aftercare is just as important. Be sure to deep condition 1-2 times a week to keep hair hydrated and strong. Scalp scrubs or clarifying shampoos are also a great way to reset your hair and remove product buildup from your ends as well as your roots. A healthy scalp is a healthy hair. By keeping your scalp free of buildup, you’ll notice bouncier healthier locks.
All in all, shielding your hair from sun exposure protects your hair from breakage, dryness, and split ends. With these products, you’ll spend less time battling breakage in your dry hair and will be able to enjoy each and every sunny day.