We all know about the importance of wearing daily face SPF, and we wouldn’t dream of being on holiday and not stocking, and using, up the best new body sunscreen, but do we think about how to protect hair in the sun? Perhaps not so much. But it’s time to rethink what’s happening to your hair and your scalp when having fun in the sun.
Why you need to protect your hair in the sun
“Your scalp is an extension of the skin on your face so it needs to be protected in the sun in the same way,” says celebrity hairstylist and founder of haircare range, Arkive, Adam Reed. “Yes, your hair (if you have it) will protect the scalp a little but particularly those with thinning hair, fair hair where the scalp is more exposed, or with no hair will need to apply suncream into the hairline, partings and onto the scalp to prevent the skin from burning.”
Then there is the hair itself. “A combination of sun and the damaging UV rays, swimming in the sea and chlorine from the pool will effect the condition and quality of your hair too. They will cause it to dry out, become quite brittle and if you're fair, chlorine and the sea can turn your hair slightly green and if you have coloured hair, it will lift and lighten,” explains Adam. The solution? Well let's find out.
How to protect your hair in the sun
“The best way to protect your hair in the heat is to wear a hat,” says Adam. “If hats aren’t your thing, wrap your hair using headbands, turbans and headscarves - super easy to do and they look absolutely brilliant. That will protect your hair from direct sunlight, but you still need to apply heat protection onto the hair directly.”
There are also some hairstyles Adam recommends rocking in the sunshine. “I think most people want a style that’s easy on holiday, if it’s protective too then that’s great - so a top knot or a little bun slicked back with a hair oil is ideal because your hair won’t get frizzy, a lot of it is tucked away so it will get less damaged and it’s off the back of you neck, which is what you want on hot, balmy days and nights. Tie a headscarf around it or use claw clips to add some detail, but I’m a great believer in keeping things simple on holiday. You’re there to have a great time and make memories, not be worried about what your hair is doing!”
Adam also has one piece of key advice for your hair in the summer. “Don’t forget that heat damages the hair so be careful not to go out into the hot sun with damp hair, really use a towel to get as much water out as possible and get some product in.”
The products to protect your hair in the sun
When it comes to SPF, make sure you’re working in your regular face SPF into your hairline around your face but also around your ears and at the back of your neck - we love La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 SPF50+, £18, for maximum protection. You can also apply this along your parting line, but if you want something slightly less greasy then opt for a light mist or spray SPF. Naked Sundays SPF50+ Hydrating Glow Mist, £34 is for the body but works really well on the scalp.
Keeping your hair hydrated in the sun is key so it’s about continually applying products that will get moisture back in. “Leave a treatment or an oil in your hair during the day to boost moisture levels and protection, or use an oil in the evening when you slick your hair back and let it works its magic.”
10 of the best oils and hair treatments to protect hair in the sun
GTG’s freelance Beauty Director, SJ recently took this away to Corfu with her. “I have fine, fluffy blonde hair. On holiday it frizzes up like nothing you’ve ever seen before. I can’t be bothered to try and tame it so I do as Adam recommends and slather this oil on it and tie it back to keep hair moisturised and tucked away from the sun. It’s not greasy and gave my hair an amazing shine. Plus, I think, the slicked-back bun looks pretty cool too.”
This iconic product was made for sunny days. It contains UV protection and will wrap around your hair like a sun shield, smells like holiday and also acts as a great hair primer (want to know what is hair primer?) if you want to blow-dry your hair.
3. The UV protector that speeds up drying Sun Bum Heat Protector, £15.99
If you haven’t tried Sun Bun SPFs then you must and they’ve just launched haircare here in the UK. Hailing from Australia and designed with surfers and regular swimmers in mind, this brilliant dual-phase protects against heat and also speeds up hair drying so a great product to have if your hair takes forever to get dry.
This creamy mask is designed to protect hair from the damaging effects of chlorine, salt and also contains UV protection. It also contains ingredients to help increase the elasticity and strength of the hair.
Containing all the stuff your hair needs to protect it from the sun, such as wheat protein - to strengthen and increase hydration. As well as cashmere amino acids, that are almost identical to hair protein (FYI the more protein in the hair the less frizz you get) and a UV protector. This also avoids all the things your hair doesn't need, such as silicone, salt water and fragrance. We love to slather it on, tie our hair back into a bun and get on with having fun in the sun.
Also smelling like summer, this is a slightly richer mask that suits all hair types. Not only does it drench hair in hydration but it reduces frizz. It says to wash off after ten minutes but you could put it in your hair in the evening, go out, sleep in it and rinse the next day.
A light mist that coats the hair with UV protection whilst also delivering some hydration. Like all Aveda products it smells like a spa, and who doesn’t want that?
Designed for all hair types, but particularly suitable for fine hair that gets weighed down easily Think of it like a face mist just for your hair and keep spritzing it all your hair as and when you think it needs a hydration hit.
Not only an amazing, nourishing mask that will drench holiday hair with moisture but it also comes in 100 per cent recyclable packaging that houses a formula that’s vegan and has been made with green energy. And if you fancy giving it a go in a professional setting, head to one of the Hari's salons in London where you can try the After Sun Sunway Treatment, from £55. A three-step treatment to get post-holiday hair back to its best using all the Oway products and finishing with a blow-dry.
Blended to give brilliant heat and UV protection, this apple cider vinegar-based and hairdresser-founded formula also contains some very hard-working shine inducers. A little goes a seriously long way so you really do only need the tiniest amount.