Why Does Hair Get Lighter In The Summer? It's Not Just From The Sun

If you feel like at the end of the summer you look like you walked out of the salon with a fresh set of highlights, or if your perfectly bold and dark dye job feels far too faded for your liking when the warmer season hits, your eyes aren't fooling you. If it looks like your hair is brighter, it probably is, so what's the deal? Why does hair get lighter in the summer? There are actually a few reasons, and it's not just the obvious one you've probably already thought of — the sun.

While some of us can't wait for summer to roll around for our hair to brighten up naturally sans a salon appointment (and therefore, cost), the season can be the kiss of death for those who dye their hair dark, or just want to maintain their deep and rich natural color. If you think the sun is the cause, you're absolutely right. The sun bleaches out the melanin (the pigment that gives your hair color), causing your hair to look lighter. Because you spend more time outdoors and the sun is out more frequently in the summer, it's the season where you're most susceptible to lightening. But the sun isn't the only culprit.

Chlorine and salt water are also responsible for lightening up your hair. They affect the keratin in your hair, making your natural hair lighter. So what can you do if you want to avoid all this? Here are a few tips to protect your hair from the sun and chlorine/the ocean.

1. Wear A Hat

If it's covered up, the sun can't affect it, so always wear a hat when outdoors.

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2. Spray With UV Protection

StriVectin Hair Color Care UV Protective Spray, $12, Amazon

You put sunscreen on your body, so why not your hair? Try a UV protectant spray to ward off the sun's rays.

3. Use A Swimming Cap

Unique Bargains Silicone Stretchy Nonslip Swimming, $11, Walmart

It might sound lame, but keeping your color in tact is worth it.

4. Rinse Immediately After Swimming

Don't let the water sit in your hair — immediately after you get out of the pool or ocean, rinse your hair.

5. Go Darker In The Summer

If you dye your hair dark, maybe try going a shade darker than usual in the summer, keeping in mind that your hair will lighten more than it does the rest of the year.

Images: Pexels; Walmart; Nordstrom; Fototalia