Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

Our skin gets all of the attention during the summer months. We obsess over protecting it (and tanning it). But what about our hair? You may have been told before to put sunscreen along your hairline and your part, but how do you protect your locks? And do you need to? The answer is yes, you definitely need to protect your hair from sun damage because it can ruin your hair. Find out how to protect your hair from sun damage and give it the same attention as your skin.

How Does the Sun Damage Your Hair?

Prolonged sun exposure allows UVA and UVB rays to damage the outside of the hair—the cuticles. When the sun damages your hair, you will notice discoloration, dry and brittle strands, broken or split ends, thinning, and frizziness. Not only will your sun-damaged hair look dry and dull, but it will feel that way to the touch too. If you have fine or light-colored hair, you are especially vulnerable to sun damage.

How You’re Making Matters Worse

In addition to exposing your hair to sun damage, if you’re also styling your hair with a flat iron or curling iron, swimming in a pool, or lightening your hair, you’re increasing the damage done to your hair and making it more vulnerable in the sun. Each of these things damages the keratin in your hair, which is the protein that is meant to protect your hair and make it more durable.

How to Protect Your Hair

Unfortunately, we don’t have the equivalent of sunscreen for the skin as we do for hair. Yes, there are products out there that promise to protect your hair from UV damage, but they don’t work to the same degree that sunscreen does. To be safe and really protect your hair, follow these tips. Just like you would do to protect your skin, avoid being outside during the middle of the day for too long. Go out early or late in the day to protect both your skin and hair. Wear a hat, or sit underneath an umbrella if you’re by the pool or beach. After you swim, rinse off in a shower to remove chlorine and/or salt. Avoid drying out your hair with daily shampooing (aim to shampoo 2-3 times a week). Minimize the amount you shampoo in the summer months and focus on deep conditioning your hair. Try a dry shampoo if necessary, like Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk.

Products That Work

While the best protection is to simply stay out of the sun, that’s not always ideal or practical. These products are tried and true and will help you minimize or avoid sun damage. Beauty Protector Protect & Oil protects against UV rays and heat damage while locking moisture into the hair. Beauty Protector’s Protect & Treat hair mask is a nourishing mask loaded with antioxidants to rejuvenate the hair post-sun exposure. Klorane’s Sun Radiance Protective Oil with Ylang-Ylang Wax is the closest thing to sunscreen for your hair. This dry oil acts as a protective shield against UV rays, chlorine, and salt.