How to Protect Your Hair From the Sun

woman covering hair with sun hat
Letizia Le Fur/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:

    Tips for Protecting Your Hair From the Sun

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

    Wear a Hat

    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.

    Use Products With SPF
    Many styling aids, leave-in conditioners, and hairsprays have an SPF right in them. The general consensus is to use an SPF of 10 to 15 in hair products with SPF 12 being a very popular choice for many hair product manufacturers.

    Make Your Own SPF

    Making UV protection for your hair is pretty easy too! Simply dilute 2 teaspoons of SPF 25 sunblock 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.

    Protecting Your Hair When You're Not in the Sun

    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), it's important to use a deep conditioning treatment with protein or keratin.

    Avoid Certain Ingredients

    Check product labels and stay away from alcohol, peroxide, lemon juice, and "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.