How to Protect Your Hair in the Sun |

How to Protect Your Hair in the Sun

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We all know the importance of protecting skin from the sun, with plenty of reminders to wear SPF on a daily basis, but what about hair? Straggly ends, dry tresses and faded colour are familiar symptoms of post-holiday locks, but, like skin damage, they can be prevented. We called on Philip Kingsley’s Trichologist Anabel Kingsley, who studies the science of hair, to find out more...

First of all, how does the sun damage hair?

You can’t feel it but your hair burns in the sun just like your skin does. UV rays affect hair in a similar way to bleach: they weaken its protein structure making hair drier, brittle and more prone to breakage. Damage depends on the amount of sun exposure, the existing condition of your locks and whether you swim while away, as both chlorine and salt water can increase the sun’s effects.

Are some hair types more vulnerable than others?

Yes, hair that is already damaged or processed is more vulnerable to sun damage. This also applies to hair that is longer than mid-length, as the longer the hair, the older and therefore weaker it is.

Is there a pre-holiday fix to limit damage?

Book a small trim before you go away and then again when you come back to remove any damaged ends. This is important as split ends interlock easily, increasing the likelihood of hair tangling and breaking whilst you’re away, and a small trim when you return will remove damage that might have been done during your break. However, if you protect your hair on holiday properly the latter shouldn’t be that necessary.

So, what’s the secret when on holiday?

Apply a water-resistant UV filter in order to help prevent damage. Some change – albeit minimal – is inevitable, so if you want to keep locks safe, consider staying in the shade or wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

Finally, what can be done to repair damage post-holiday?

Use a hydrating hair mask during and also after your holiday, to tackle the effects of UV exposure and swimming. Try applying a weekly pre-shampoo conditioning treatment for 20 minutes in order to restore hair health to lock in moisture and keep hair healthy for longer.


Save your strands this summer with SL’s edit of the best UV hair protectors and after-sun saviours...

Colour Extend Sun Take Cover SPF25, £13.16 | Redken

Bamboo UV+ Rehab Deep Hydration Masque, £21.20 | Alterna

Sunshine Shield, £22 | Philip Kingsley

Bed Head Beach Bound Protection Spray, £7.90 | TIGI

Daily UV Hair Protector  £24 | Ultrasun

Soleil Masque UV Defense Active, £22.65 | Kérastase

Sun Care Protective Hair Veil, £22.50 | Aveda

De-Chlorinate Shampoo, £12.95 | RPR

Milky After Sun Hair Oil, £12 | Nuxe


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