Summer Skin Care

These Powder SPFs Serve Double-Duty as Scalp Sunscreen and Dry Shampoo

Zoe Weiner

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Photo: Getty Images/ F.J. Jimenez

Putting sunscreen on your face every day is (hopefully) a no-brainer. But one spot you’re likely forgetting to apply protection? Your scalp, which happens to an area where you’re most prone to sun damage, due to simple proximity.

Admittedly, the idea of slicking your hair with a coat of goopy sunscreen isn’t exactly appealing, which is why many of us simply… don’t do it. But thanks to a class of powder sunscreens, you can get proper sun protection on your scalp without having to mess up your style. “Many people, including myself do not like applying regular lotion or cream sunscreen to the scalp because it makes the hair and scalp very greasy,” says Nava Greenfield, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology in New York City. “But the scalp—especially the part—is exposed to a lot of UV rays, and is a frequent location for the development of pre-cancers and skin cancers.”

As any skin pro will tell you, the “best” sunscreen is the one you’re going to wear consistently, and the ease of application and wear that powder SPFs bring to the table make them a dermatologist fave. “Powder is a great way to protect while staying grease free,” says Dr. Greenfield. “I think it’s a great idea, and I recommend it.”

In addition to protecting your scalp from sun damage, powder sunscreens also act as a sort of de-facto dry shampoo, soaking up grease and sweat to leave your hair looking clean. Scroll through for some of our favorite, sunscreens for dusting your scalp with, not a single one of which will mess up your hairstyle.

Shop now: Supergoop Poof Powder, $34

Photo: Supergoop

Spritz your scalp with this translucent powder, which offers SPF 45 protection in a single poof. It works to soak up excess oils, and won’t weigh down your hair or leave any sort of white cast in the process.

Shop now: Colorscience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50, $65

Photo: Colorscience

Though this stuff is technically meant for your face, it has awesome applications for your scalp, too. It comes in four different shades, and delivers SPF 50 mineral protection.

Shop now: Brush on Block Translucent Mineral Powder Sunscreen, $32

Photo: Brush on Block

Toss this brush in your bag for an easy scalp coverage re-up coverage. It’s sweat and water resistant, which makes it perfect for any sunny summer days at the beach.

Shop now: Tarte Sea Set & Protect Mineral Sunscreen Powder Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $28

Photo: Tarte

Designed to go on over makeup to help it set, this loose powder can also be dusted onto your part. Thanks to its subtle vanilla smell and grease-free formula, you’ll want to reapply on the reg.

Shop now: Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Sunscreen, $32

Scalp sunscreen powder
Photo: Peter Thomas Roth

In addition to SPF protection from zinc and titanium dioxide, this powder is packed with antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E to help the sensitive skin on top of your head fend off free-radical damage, too.

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