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Do you really need to worry about sun care for your hair? The consensus among experts seems to be yes if you want to keep it in good nick come autumn. “The UV rays can cause damage to the outside cuticle of the hair,” explains Katie Allan from Charles Worthington Salons. “Not only will it discolour your hair, it will make it feel dry and brittle resulting in split ends.” Too much sun exposure is even more dangerous for scalps which, like any part of the body that has skin, is susceptible to sunburn, sensitivity and even worse, skin cancer.
While wearing a hat is the best form of protection, there are also some effective alternatives for helping shield hair and scalp from the elements. For hair, try a spray or cream with in-built UV absorbers or filters. For scalp and partings, treat them as you would the rest of your body and use your face sunscreen or try an SPF mist instead if you’re worried about greasy roots.
Acting as ‘invisible hats’ of sorts to protect hair from summer burnout, here are our top product picks.
Great for: Partings and scalps
Looking after your scalp’s suncare needs needn’t mean that you have to walk around with greasy roots. Fast-absorbing and lightweight, this ingenious SPF water is actually for face and body, but we've found it works for partings and hairlines without leaving a residue or weighing hair down. It's hydrating too thanks to its inclusion of hyaluronic acid.
Great for: Fine hair
This light, leave-in spray provides effective sun protection for ends courtesy of its Mexoryl S.O. Filter System which absorbs and blocks UV rays and prevent them from entering the hair fibre. It also has a tropical fragrance to match its sunny exterior - a summer staple in every sense.
Great for: Protection against straighteners and sun
This summer reboot of one our favourite heat protection sprays covers both styling and anti-sun needs. Containing benzophenone-4, a sunscreen agent that protects hair by blocking out and filtering UV rays, it provides all the hallmarks of the original with a little extra juice for holidays and heatwaves.
Great for: Sun and swimming
Originally created for the US Olympic synchronised swim team, this cult product has undergone a bit of a summer makeover (packaging-wise) to provide ample waterproof protection against sun, pool and sea. A rich leave-in cream containing UV filters designed to tackle the dryness and discolouration caused by chlorine and salt water, simply apply to damp hair, comb through and rinse off after sunbathing or swimming. Not only is it much easier to put on than a traditional swim cap, but it also looks a lot better too.
Great for: A budget buy
Enriched with benzophenone-4 and a small amount of benzyl salicylate, a light UV absorber, this pick’s as good for budgets as it is for sun-exposed barnets. It’s best applied to damp hair though to avoid any post-spray stickiness.
Great for: Frizz
This creamy textured sun protectant also doubles up as a handy finishing cream to keep the effects of humidity to a minimum. Containing a co-polymer which absorbs UV rays, it helps prevent colour and moisture loss and leaves it soft and smooth. It’s especially great for thicker hair types.
Great for: Coloured hair
If you’re looking to reduce premature sunshine-induced fade, this supreme multitasker (from the expert responsible for Beyonce’s and Jennifer Lopez’s camera-ready colour) is for you. Containing anti-sun agents, uvinul MS-40 and parsol MCX (commonly found in face sunscreens), and designed to disperse a fine resin which adheres to hair to provide light hold and humidity resistance, it’s an effective multitasker.
Great for: Detangling and dryness
Lightweight but moisturising, this daily sun shield contains hydrating shea butter and coconut oil, protective antioxidants (green tea extract and vitamin E for example) and naturally-derived UVA and UVB inhibitors with roots stemming from wintergreen and cinnamon bark. “Plants create many kinds of natural chemistry to help protect themselves from the effects of too much sun - two examples are cinnamates and salicylates,” Aveda’s Global R&D tells us. “Both types of molecule can absorb energy from the sun’s rays. If used on the surface of the hair as in Sun Veil, they will help protect by absorbing some of the UV energy before it can get to and damage the hair.” Helping to minimise colour-fade, dryness and breakage caused by excess sun exposure, it suits a wide range of hair types when it comes to tackling the summer elements.
May 11th 2018
October 31st 2017