It goes without saying — when out in the sun, it is important to sun protect your skin. But what about your hair?
And lately, there are all sorts of products promising protection for our scalp and hair. But how on earth does SPF for hair even work? We clearly can’t load up on chalky, heavy lotion in our hair — so what are our options? Nutrafol talked with some experts to give you the best hair-care tips before you hit the outdoors. Paying attention to your mane and sun protect it, is now more important than ever.
What does sun damage to the hair look like?
By stepping outside without protection, you’re putting your hair at risk. These risks include faded color due to oxidation, lack of moisture, and overall distress, explains Ric Pipino, vice president of global creative at Alterna Haircare. These short-term effects make strands look and feel dull and dehydrated, but the longer-term problem is premature hair aging, he continues.
This process could mean a depletion of volume. You know that great, thick ponytail you’re used to? As you age, it’ll get thinner. And the sun only makes this process a whole lot faster.
The summer also brings wind, chlorination and salt water that produce free radicals which attack the hair fiber, says Pipino. These harsh seasonal foes weaken the hair’s integrity, putting you at risk for an overall withered, brittle appearance.
But doesn’t the sun only affect people who color their hair?
Not exactly. Although sun damage on dyed hair is more noticeable, it still affects everyone. The sun’s rays bleach both artificial and natural pigments. This is why it’s important to stay protected when you’re outside for long periods of time, explains Sacha Mitic, founder of Sachajuan. No matter the color, the sun will react with your texture, ultimately resulting in a dimmer, dryer appearance. Even though those rays don’t discriminate, chemically treated hair is more sensitive and therefore more prone to moisture loss, Mitic continues.
How do you sun protect your hair and scalp the best?
The goal when using sun protection in our hair, is to protect it from bleaching and to prevent moisture loss. You could apply SPF lotion for your skin to the scalp. But since that’s tricky, reach for a hat says Mitic. Alternatively, when you’re outside, definitely use a hair product with UVA/UVB protection and work it from your roots to your ends. Also, try a lower bun that sits at the nape of your neck, Pipino adds.
Try applying a conditioner, all over your hair, then throw it in a knot during a trip to the pool or beach. And do not forget to hydrate your body too while you are at it. Adding some supplements that will rebuild the structural integrity of the hair follicle environment and improve moisture is going to help prevent your hair from getting damaged by the sun.