I will admit that I’m not as smart about protecting my hair from the sun, even though the rays can spell trouble for strands as well. “The sun, ocean, and chlorine can all damage your hair,” says Edward Tricomi, master stylist and co-owner of Warren Tricomi salons. “I suggest always using a UV protectant spray to guard your hair from harsh rays.” And if you want to be extra careful, tossing on a floppy hat can be a good idea as well.
It might not be as apparent as a lobster-red sunburn, but in over extended sun exposure, hair can weaken. “The sun can make hair brittle and easier to break,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. If your hair’s getting prolonged sun exposure, the UVA and UVB rays can damage the outside cover of the hair strand, adds Carolyn Aronson, CEO and founder of It’s a 10 Haircare. “It’s damaging the cuticle,” she says. “Signs of sun damage to your hair include discoloration, dry and brittle strands, broken or split ends, thinning, and frizziness. Damaged hair has a dry look and feel, and the cuticle layer is fully open, which allows hair color to fade.”
Much to our luck, UV-protecting products aren’t difficult to find. These aren’t sunscreens for your hair, nor do they tap the same ingredients as SPFs for your body, though—instead, they’re targeted at helping to nourish and strengthen hair with vitamin-rich and antioxidant ingredients. “As long as the product claims UV protection and antioxidants, it’s good,” says King, who points out that you can’t actually claim a hair product has SPF in it.
To keep that head of hair protected, spritz a pre-sun product like a UV-protecting oil before heading out, and follow up with a post-sun clarifying treatment for good measure. Keep scrolling for the 11 best products to keep your strands in tip-top shape this season.
Protect your hair against all the summer elements with this a few spritzes of this product, which uses the floral wax as a shield….without feeling heavy. It also smells divine.
This one’s especially useful if you’ve dyed your hair, as it’s ultra-clarifying. It’s got baking soda—the do-it-all ingredient—and vitamins C and E to cleanse and detoxify your post-sun hair from buildup.
If your hair’s feeling straw-like or looking faded, this reviving hair mask will reverse the damage with Japanese ume apricot (to restore softness), soy and rice micro proteins (to prevent free radical damage from UV rays), and rosebay to clarify your scalp.
If you’re planning on a day in the sun, this mist will help to minimize sun damage via oils from wintergreen and cinnamon bark, which also combat sun-caused hair dryness.
It actually exists: an SPF specifically formulated for your scalp. Supergoop!’s mineral-based SPF 45 goes onto your hair as an invisible powder that has sun protection and vitamin C to give even more of a shield to your strands.
Use this spray—which smells like a tropical vacation—on your hair to protect it from UV rays, tangling, and frizz. Bonus points for being able to get it at Target.
A très chic French-girl brand has this luxe liquid that you can spritz on to leave a protective film over your hair as you go about in your sunny summer days and swim, thanks to both UVA and UVB filters.
This vitamin E and babassu oil-spiked mist helps to nourish and guard hair so that the UV rays don’t damage and weaken it.
For a more extra-strength post-sun treatment, run this detoxifying conditioner through your hair—which uses vitamin E to bring your dry strands back to life and leaves them silky smooth.
One of my fave hair-care brands has this magically restorative post-sun treatment that uses algae-based proteins and minerals to build your frazzled hair back up again.
A primer for your hair, this literally invisible oil works with a lightweight oil blend and UV filters to keep your hair healthy and thriving despite the powerful rays.
Also, be sure to pay attention to your scalp and swipe on these scalp serums to keep your head of hair in tip-top shape. If humidity’s more your problem, here’s how to fight frizzy hair once and for all.
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