For years bucket hats have been dismissed for being "uncool." They were the hats that your mom would tug over your ears before a middle school field trip or featured a chin strap and were emblematic of the classic fisherman's get up. Lately, that couldn't be further from the truth. Bucket hats have officially made the transition from dorky to "don't think I can open Instagram without seeing at least ten." While fashion it-girls like queen RiRi and Bella Hadid, may have resurrected the style made famous by '90s street style icons and hip hop artists, the best part about bucket hats isn't just that they are trendy. Since they have a wide, circular brim, they also serve some serious summer sun protection.
According to Elizabeth Hale, MD, board-certified dermatologist at CompleteSkinMD and vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, it's really important for people to recognize that, in addition to sunscreen, there are other steps that can be taken to protect from UV rays, like wearing hats and sunglasses when outdoors. "Hats provide an easy way to keep sun off your face, while also protecting your vulnerable scalp, which is a common area for skin cancer," explains Dr. Hale.
Of course, wearing any kind of hat is better than not wearing a hat at all, but what makes bucket hats so great is that, unlike a baseball cap, they offer 360-degree protection. "In an ideal world, hats should shade your ears, the sides of your face, and the back of your neck, which are all very common areas for squamous cell carcinoma. The broader the brim, the better," says Dr. Hale. When selecting the best bucket hat to sport this summer, the best options for optimal sun protection are ones that are light-colored to reflect sun rays so you don’t overheat, and have UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 50 or higher. Scroll down for the 7 best bucket hats to sport this summer for some serious sun protection.
Shop for the best bucket hats
Whether it means rushing around to do errands or going on a long hike, this hat is made for days spent on the go. This lightweight, reversible bucket hat is unisex, comes in five unique color duos, and in three sizes, so there is an option for everyone, and the fabric is sweat-wicking and quick to dry, so it’s perfect for the sweaty summer months.
If these smiley-face bucket hats (it’s a two-fer!) don’t make you grin ear to ear, we don’t know what else will. Oh wait, yes we do: That they’re only $15, made of high-quality cotton that’s soft and comfortable, and are perfect for protecting your face from the sun. They’re likely not going to last you a lifetime, so we’d say these are great for occasions for which you don’t have to stress if you accidentally lose them (it happens) or leave them behind at the beach.
At this point, tie-dye is a neutral. Choose from pink, green, blue and sunset (orangey-pink)—this Adidas bucket hat is a classic, and will make you feel like you’re on vacation even if you’re very much not. Made from 100 percent sustainable cotton, you’ll want to make sure to hand-wash this one.
A bit wider brim than many, this floral bucket hat comes with a ribbon you can tie around your chin—because you fancy! You also don’t want to lose your hat in the wind, so this tie keeps it on your head where it belongs. This floral pattern is specially designed from Liberty, which is a British print house that’s been making gorgeous flower-y patterns since 1875. It’s also made of cotton and is soft and kind to ears.
These Portuguese-made bucket hat from Pangaia will instantly brighten your mood, thanks to its bold jade green (it’s available in seven colors, so if green isn’t your thing, you might like it in blue, pink, or white). Made with all-organic cotton, it’s got a generous 2 1/2-inch brim that shields your face from the sun. Make sure to hand wash and line dry so it doesn’t shrink or shrivel.
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