Photo by Rex

We all know about the importance of skin protection, but what about hair protection?

As creatures of habit it’s become ingrained into our routine to include skin sun protection on the daily, as well as slathering it on when temperatures rise. But what about sun protection for hair?

Consistent warnings of skin cancer and sun spots has commanded our attention for decades, leaving us scrambling to get our hands on the best sun creams with the highest SPF for our skin.

But exposure to UV rays damages the hair as much as it does our skin. The reason hair feels particularly dry over the summer months is because UV rays burn the inside and outside layer of the hair follicle, resulting in brittle and lifeless ends. So like unprotected skin, hair gets sun burnt.

Arming you with all the tools your need for your summer holidays, we have rounded up our top beauty buys with built in UV protection. Soon protecting your hair will feel as natural as protecting your skin…

Scalp sunscreen

Applying your average suncream to the scalp sticks to hair leaving it lank and greasy. So you need a product that is specifically for your where your hair parts. Malibu Scalp Protector SPF30, £6.99, or Redken’s Colour Extend Sun Take Cover SPF25, £16.85, shields without the stickiness.

Apply over damp hair by working the product from the scalp through the layers. Both are really lightweight and replenish any depleted moisture whilst protecting. Like sun cream, re-apply this regularly throughout the day, particularly after swimming.

Shop now: Redken Color Extend Sun Take Cover 150ml for £15.39 from Amazon

Shop now: Malibu Scalp Protector with SPF30 50ml or £2.93 from Amazon

sun protection for hair

Waterproof hair sunscreen

‘We all know how important it is to wear sun cream on our face and bodies but a common mistake is to forget to protect the hair and scalp,’ says Philip Kingsley, World Leading Trichologist. Straggly ends, moisture loss and faded colour are familiar symptoms of post-holiday hair, but, like skin damage, this can be prevented.

‘Sun exposure can cause the scalp to become sensitive,’ states Kingsley.

When hair is exposed to water, the negative effects of free radicals are amplified. The hair shaft is considerably weaker when wet and so more susceptible to UV rays.

Throw in the drying effects of sea salt and chlorine, it’s no wonder split ends and breakages are at their peak. Philip Kingsley’s Swimcap, £15, guards against chlorine and salt water by drawing moisture into the hair. Always apply to damp hair and comb it through to ensure every strand is evenly protected. Re-apply after swimming.

Shop now: Philip Kingsley Swimcap 75ml for £15 from Philip Kingsley

sun protection for hair

Coloured hair sun protection

UVA rays are responsible for colour changes – both for dyed and natural hair. Start by washing with Mark Hill Sunshine Shampoo and Mark Hill MiraConditioner, both £1.99. This prevents UV rays fading hair by locking in the colour.

For over processed hair that needs more, spritz L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Expert Advanced Protection Conditioning Spray, £12.90, throughout the day. It forms a protective film around the fibre to safeguard colour and radiance.

And if you’re still searching for a shampoo that feels like it was made for you, see our ultimate guide to the best shampoo for every hair type.

Shop now: L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Expert Advanced Protection Conditioning Spray for £12.90 from Amazon

sun protection for hair

Hair mask for damaged hair

Even with UV protection, hair will still be drier than normal after a day in the sun. We recommend overnight masks to boost hydration levels and feed the hair back to its healthy best. Maria Nila’s Head & Hair Heal Masque, £26.99, smooths sun-exposed hair and recovers softness. Plus, it’s perfect for dandruff prone scalps too.

While we’re now clued up on the best healthy hair hacks, to keep our locks looking their best, it’s also important to think about the after care, too. Leave hair masks on overnight for deep conditioning, but for particularly fine hair rinse after 5-10 minutes and let it works its magic.

Shop now: Head & Hair Heal: Masque for £26.35 from Maria Nila

sun protection for hair

So there you have it, sun protection for your hair, sorted.

On to the next big summer holiday – bring on the beach!

Reading now

Popular beauty stories