How To Protect Your Hair From The Sun

June 2, 2015 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

Summer is right up there with chocolate and red wine when it comes to things in life we love unconditionally. Sadly, it doesn’t always love us back. As glorious as the sun feels after a long, cold winter, it also gives off damaging UVA and UVB rays that–serious health risks aside–do a number on your skin and hair. Yes, even your hair needs protecting from the sun. So before you spend hours upon hours outside over the next three months, here’s how to prevent the sun from doing serious damage to your hair.

1. Shower the right way. If you hair is dyed–whether your full head or just a few strategically placed highlights–there is a right and a wrong way to shower and the difference could mean having healthy, glossy hair or brittle, dried-out locks, explains beauty expert Julie Ricevuto from YouBeauty.Keeping color-treated hair vibrant should always start in the shower. First, use shampoo and conditioner specially formulated for colored hair to to keep from stripping the shade and becoming brassy,” Ricevuto explains. She recommends Pantene Expert Fade Defy Vibrant Color Shampoo and Conditioner to help develop better color permanency so that your color will last as long as possible. Also, don’t forget to finish off your shower with a burst of cold water! It’ll seal the cuticle and keep color from fading prematurely,” Ricevuto says.

2. Cover up. “Salt water and sun may sound like paradise, but the combo is actually one of the worst things for colored hair,” Ricevuto says. “If you forgot a hat, shield your strands with a UV protecting product before you step out into the sun. My top pick is the Alterna Haircare Bamboo Beach Summer Shine Spray. It has UV filters to combat the damaging effects of the sun, the pool, and any saltwater your hair comes in contact with. It also adds shine while infusing sun-parched hair with extra moisture to prevent future damage.”

3. Deep condition regularly. Ricevuto stresses that prevention is key when it comes to keeping your hair in tip-top shape during the hot summer months so that you don’t need to run to the salon with a head full of straw-like strands. “Use a deep conditioning treatment once a week to protect your hair from becoming dry and brittle,” she recommends. “Since dry hair is more susceptible to color fading, a deep conditioning mask will help to increase durability and vibrancy for a long-lasting dye job. Try Shu Uemura Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Treatment Masque for some extra hair TLC.”

4. Coat your hair before taking a dip. Joanne Starkman, co-founder of InnersenseT Organic Beauty, says the number one complaint she hears about summer hair is dryness. The major culprits? Chlorine and the sun. “Before plunging into the pool, make sure your hair is saturated with water,” Starkman says. She suggests coating wet hair with a conditioner like Innersense Color Radiance Daily Conditioner before getting into water and then rinsing hair thoroughly and shampooing right after you get out of the water.

5. Give your hair a heat break. “Consider taking a break from the blow dryer and curling or flat irons during the summer,” Starkman suggests. “As an alternative, set your hair with rollers or braid it when damp to beat the heat and help create ‘beachy’ waves.”

6. Embrace oils. Summer is the ideal time to incorporate nourishing natural oils into your hair regimen in order to add moisture and protection to locks that–regardless of how may hats you wear–will likely be exposed to the sun. Harmonic Healing Oil contains tamanu oil, organic safflower and evening primrose oils to ease dry scalp and hair. Josie Maran 100 Percent Argan Oil is also a classic treatment for split ends.

7. Get a good haircut. Prevention 101: A great haircut grows out well and adds bounce and shape back into the hair, especially after over exposure to the sun, wind, and surf,” says Stacy Wells, CEO of L’esprit Academy, Schools for Hair, Skin & Nails. “When layers are too grown out or the ends are damaged, it’s difficult for even the most talented professional to make the hair look great.”

8. Use products that work with the elements. Instead of fighting the strong sun and humidity, Wells suggests finding great products that are specifically designed to keep your hair looking great all summer long. “AG’s Conditioning Mist is a summertime must-have because it contains PABA free sunscreen which protects your hair and scalp from UV rays. After all, a sunburned scalp is no fun! Pureology’s ColourMax spray is another great go-to product for protection and repair.”

Have curly hair? If you want to straighten it during the summer months, Wells recommends relying on professional products that lock out environmental moisture, are humidity resistant and protect from thermal damage. If you are going to be near water, forget the smooth look and use products that encourage curl like detailing creams and curl activators that can retain curl with some hold factor. One of Wells’ favorites? AG’s Beach Bomb, which is specifically formulated to add moisture for holding your gorgeous curls and waves all day long.

For more beauty tips, check out how to make brown eyes pop: how I finally learned to love mine and 12 cheap makeup products with incredible reviews and reputations.


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

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