The Sun Can Damage Your Hair—unless You Take These Steps

The Sun Can Damage Your Hair—unless You Take These Steps


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Protecting your skin from the sun is very important, and the instructions are simple: wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen or wear opaque, tight clothing. However, when it comes to the prevention of sun damage, the topic is less discussed and the recommendations are less clear. But just as UV rays damage your skin, they can change the color, texture and strength of your hair.

We caught up with colorist Lorena M. Valdez of Maxine Salon in Chicago for tips on how to protect your hair from the sun.

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How does the sun damage the hair?

When your skin is exposed to the sun, it can burn or redden due to sunburn and loss of moisture. Hair can react the same way: "The sun's rays can bleach and dry strands, which can cause frizz and split ends," says Valdes. These changes can happen to your hair in as little as 10 minutes without sun protection.

The condition of the hair exposed to UV rays affects its appearance after sun exposure, regardless of color. "If you dye your hair, the sun exposure will be more obvious," says Valdes. This is because coloring or highlighting your hair "strengthens or thickens the cuticle", making your hair more prone to fading and drying. Color-treated hair can also lose its luster, and those with cooler shades can become coarse or yellow. A person with warm hair color, such as red hair, will notice that the color fades or lightens. Finally, those with gray hair "may feel that the coverage is lacking or undefined, and that it's permanent," Valdes said, adding that discoloration on the crowns is more common. . or in the "bang area" (ie the part that grows along the frontal hairline, like bangs).

The story continues

Sunlight also varies in undyed hair depending on the color; In general, UV radiation will "reveal the natural heat underneath," says Valdes. For example, tanners may see red or copper tones, while those with light brown or blonde hair may see brighter copper tones or highlights.

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How to prevent sun damage to your hair? Cover your hair

Covering your hair with a physical barrier is the most effective and easiest way to protect your strands from the sun. It can be in the form of a hat or a scarf, as you wish. Look for options that offer UPF protection, which means the fabric will block the sun's UV rays. A UPF rating of 50 or more protects your hair and scalp, as well as your skin.

There are many sun hats to choose from, but the Outdoor Research Sun Runner Hat keeps your hair hidden thanks to a removable hood that covers the sides and back of your head. Baseball caps and hats are UPF 50 rated and made from lightweight, water-resistant nylon. If you plan to wear the hat while being active, you can use the adjustable drawstring to keep the hat in place during running, boating, or other windy activities.

$38 at REI

The Buff CoolNet UV+ Insect Shield Versatile Hat has a UPF 50 rating and can be adjusted in multiple ways to protect your skin and hair from the sun. It comes with a tri-color print and uses quick-drying microfiber fabric to keep you cool and dry. In addition, he treats the helmet with "Bug Shield" and binds an insect repellent containing permethrin to the fabric of the suit to help repel mosquitoes and other biting insects.

$28 at REI

Choose an anti-UV treatment

In addition to covering your head, or if you can't wear a hat in hot weather, you can add protection to your hair care routine. The Soleil Kérastase line is one of Valdez's top recommendations, as it includes a variety of sun protection options, including shampoos, conditioning masks, and creams.

From $39 at Kérastase

If you want to start with one product, try the versatile Kérastase Soleil Crème UV Sublime Conditioner. This leave-in treatment has a UV filter that claims to absorb sunlight to protect hair, and each contains coconut water and vitamin E to hydrate and moisturize hair and prevent breakage. Before going out in the sun, apply a pea-sized amount of the mixture to clean, moisturize hair and comb from root to tip.

$39 for Kerastase

You can also maintain the overall health of your hair by trimming every few months to remove dead spots and using a hydrating mask once a week instead of your regular conditioner. Opt for the Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask, which conditions and protects hair with argan oil while hydrating and softening curls with plant proteins. Once a week, apply the formula "generously" to washed hair, leave for five minutes and rinse thoroughly.

$15 at Ulta

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This article was originally reviewed in: Hair Sunscreen: Should You Worry About Damage to Your Strands?

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