UV Protection

It's Not Just for Skin Anymore!

Photo by Kraig Scarbinsky/Getty Images

We're all aware of the risks we face by exposing our skin to the sun's rays. While skin cancer isn't a concern for your hair, the sun can damage your hair with prolonged exposure. UVA and UVB rays have the power to damage the hair from the cuticle to the inner structure of the hair.

Signs of sun damage to your hair can include:

  • Faded hair color.

  • Dry, brittle hair.

  • Broken or split ends.

  • Frizzy hair.

  • Weakened and thinning hair.

    If your plans include lots of fun in the sun, consider protecting your hair from the damage of UV rays with these tips.

    Hat's Off!
    Actually, keep the hat on! The best way to protect your hair from the sun's rays is to block the exposure to the sun. Whether you decide to put on a baseball cap or don a wide brimmed beauty, most hats provide 100% protection from the sun's rays. Of course, if portions of your hair hang out of the hat, you'll want to protect that in other ways!

    UV Protection Shampoos & Conditioners
    While I think the idea of shampoos and conditioners with SPF are pretty great, in reality they just aren't the best option. Anything that you rinse off your hair can not leave behind enough SPF to protect your hair from the sun.

    Protect with Style
    Many styling aids, leave in conditioners, and hair sprays have an SPF right in them! While I've heard varying options on how high the SPF should be for your hair, it seems that the general consensus is to use an SPF of 10-15 in hair products, with SPF 12 being a very popular choice by many hair product manufacturers.

    Crafty? Make Your Own SPF!
    Making UV protection for your hair is pretty easy too! Simply dilute 2 teaspoons of SPF 25 sun block down with one cup of water. Using a spray bottle, spray the product into your damp hair before styling. For additional protection, you can mist the solution on throughout the day.

    Don't Forget These Final Tips
    Half the battle of protecting your hair from the sun happens when you're not even in the sun!

    • Clarify! If you're using a UV protection in your hair, don't forget to use a clarifying shampoo once a week. SPF will build up on your hair shaft and a clarifying shampoo can remedy that. For lots of build up, try a super clarifying treatment.

    • Protect Your Part! Use full strength SPF directly on your scalp where you part your hair. The scalp's direct exposure to the sun in that manner can burn and peel! Hit your ears with the sunscreen as well!

    • Maintain Moisture! Weekly deep conditioning treatments will help keep the damage by the sun at a minimum. Because the sun breaks down the hair's protein (keratin) its important to use a deep conditioning treatment with protein or keratin.

    • Just Say NO!... to alcohol, peroxide, lemon juice, and "sun activated hair lightening" products. Check the labels and stay away from hair products that contain high levels of alcohol or peroxide. And please, do not try to lighten your hair using lemon juice or other sun activated hair lightening products. These products will cause your hair to dry out faster and will speed the process of damage caused by the sun.