You’ve taken measures to protect color treated hair, combat oily locks and make fine hair look thicker, but have you done everything you can to maintain that balayage or fresh cut? If you spend a good deal of time in the sun – lounging in the sand or otherwise – the answer is probably not.

The One Way You're Not Protecting Your Hair

The need to protect your hair from heat damage is pretty well known by now, but we often think of it as strictly damage from the flat iron or hair dryer. We also know that SPF is key to maintaining our skin’s health. But did you know you need to protect your strands from UV rays too? Heat from the sun can certainly lead to dull hair color and brittle strands – but it’s not just about summer temps (exactly why you need SPF year round). The UV rays (including UVA and UVB) that are present whether or not it’s hot out break down the proteins in the shaft’s outermost layers.

It sounds pretty crazy – that the hair shaft would need UV protection (and not just the follicle), but exposure to the sun can really fry strands. Hair is made up of protein (mostly keratin), and these proteins are affected by environmental factors as well as internal ones. And those of us with color treated hair? Our mane is even more susceptible due to the chemical damage already done.

You might be tired of hearing this by now, but throwing on a hat or loose headscarf really IS the best way to protect hair. It’s easy to toss on a sun hat at the beach, but if you’re active outside and do a lot of walking or jogging or live in a region where just getting from point A to point B exposes you throughout the day (hello, Los Angeles), you’ll want to leave that hat on after the beach day is over too. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to leave a hat on the back seat of your car so you’re always prepared!

Some hairstylists question the effectiveness of UV protectants – but they often do offer some protection when soaked up by damp hair, so a product like Not Your Mother’s Love For Hue or Bumble & Bumble’s UV primer can help. If nothing else, they offer up protection from heat styling tools and the drying effects of the sun, so they’ll still be worth the extra step in your routine.

Don’t have UV protectant on hand? Dilute a little SPF sunscreen with water and work it into your hair in a pinch – just be aware that too much will create an oily dome! Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of a good condition. No matter the reason for dry, lifeless locks, it’s a sure sign that moisture is needed. 

Have you ever noticed your hair suffering from possible UV damage? Share your story below!


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