Protecting Your Hair in the Sun

The warm, beautiful weather is coming fast, which means picnics, pools, and LOTS of time outside. While fresh air is great for the lungs, and the soul, with the outside comes sunshine. Now, sunshine’s also great for the soul, but not so much for skin and hair. You’ve heard a million times to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, but the effects the sun can have on the hair is often unaddressed.

Hair is an appendage of the skin, so it’s structured very similarly. Both are made up of keratin, which is damaged when exposed to too much sun. These proteins dry and become fragile which, in the hair, causes frizz.

There is also the scalp to account for. The scalp is skin and it is well-known that a healthy scalp produces healthy hair. A burn on the scalp jeopardizes the health of that skin and, by association, the hair. It is also a difficult location to spot skin cancer because of the hair, so it needs to be protected. 

Then, consider hair color. Sun naturally affects the melanin in hair, but differently than it does that in the skin. While UV rays cause melanin production to increase in the skin, it actually breaks it down in the hair. To clarify, melanin is what creates pigment in hair and skin. When the melanin gets broken down, the color fades out of the hair follicle--natural or chemical color.

How can you protect hair from the harsh summer sun? Here are a few options.

Don’t expose it!

A big floppy hat, an umbrella, or shady tree are all great ways to prevent the sun from shining directly on the hair and scalp. Who doesn’t love a cute hat moment, anyway? 

Deep condition.

One to two times a week, give your hair a little extra love with a protein and/or moisture-filled deep conditioning treatment. Depending on which your hair is craving more, a protein mask will help strengthen hair against the sun’s potential damage, not to mention any chlorine or saltwater you may be splashing in. A moisturizing treatment is important to replenish that moisture will be lost to chemicals and sun rays. 

Skip the shampoo.

When you’re in the pool or ocean, you’ve got to wash those chemicals and salt out afterwards. It’s actually also beneficial to wet your hair down before diving in so your hair is already saturated and will absorb less of the drying chemicals. Oppositely, if your hair isn’t actually dirty, try to push out your wash days. Letting those natural oils stay on your hair will protect it. You can use some dry shampoo to keep you looking fresh in between. Style Edit’s dry shampoo actually mimics the keratin hair is made of to help strengthen, so it’s a win-win.

Sunscreen!

Okay, but not the sunscreen you’re thinking of. A regular SPF will help protect your scalp, so that’s definitely beneficial there, but there are some better ways to protect your strands. Many oils provide protection from the sun, naturally, and usually have added perks like adding moisture or protein, increasing hair growth, and nourishing your follicles. If you’re interested in some DIY hair sunscreens, there are some great recipes out there.

Keep your color fresh anyway!

If you do get a little too much sun and your hair starts to fade and frizz, there is still hope. Go back to that deep conditioning mask, try a bond builder, and keep your perfect shade of root concealer on-hand. Whether your hair is starting to fade out or your roots are starting to grow in, Style Edit’s touch ups are a perfect refresh so you never have to worry about looking less than perfect.

So, have fun in the sun as the weather warms up, but don’t forget the sunscreen on your face and your hair!

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