Protecting your hair from excessive heat is a no-brainer. Using curling tongs, straighteners and other styling tools can fry the hair follicle, encourage split ends and leave you with a frazzled, unhappy head of hair that can be difficult to remedy. So, we take preventative measures with products such as heat protective sprays, (my personal favourite is Vo5’s Heat Protect Spray.) But have you considered how exposure to UV rays is damaging your hair? Does your hair need SPF? Read on to find out.
Many of us like to think that we know what we’re doing when it comes to SPF. We know it’s the best solution for protecting your skin from premature ageing and is one of the best tools for preventing skin cancer, not to mention the pain and inconvenience sunburn brings.
However, Paul Windle, co-founder of London-based hair salon Windle & Moodie stresses the need to pay as much attention to your hair as you do to your skin, telling Bustle:
“The scalp is like your skin on your face and body and can be damaged by the sun. Be mindful of too much sun exposure, as UVA/UVB rays zap moisture from the hair. It breaks down the keratin in your hair causing it to become brittle and dry.”
But that’s not all. UV rays oxidize and degrade your hair in a similar way to bleach, and can burn your scalp just like they can the skin on any part of your body — especially along your parting, or in areas where the hair is thin, says Annabel Kinglsey, trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic. “The amount of damage depends upon how long you spend in the sun, and the intensity of the UV rays," she explains. "Being by the beach and in the water also increases damage, as rays are reflected, doubling exposure."
So what can you do about it? Besides the obvious solution of wearing a hat, SPF is the answer. No, not the sticky lotions you may be envisioning, but a whole host of high-performance, targeted treatments that you can slot into your beauty routine and give you healthy, hydrated, and protected tresses.
This leave-in treatment revives lacklustre locks damaged by not just UV exposure but environmental pollution and one too many dye jobs. Simply apply a pea-sized amount to clean, damp hair every couple of days for an added layer of security against the elements.
Windle & Moodie’s cult product is well-loved for good reason. The vegan formula is a lightweight cream that can be massaged into wet or dry hair thanks to the enriching monoi oil and sugar beet, which combined with a UV filter restores shine and vitality.
Adam Reed, hairstylist and co-founder of Percy & Reed, recommends using a mask regularly to maintain the hair condition, as it’s an intensely deep-conditioning remedy to the hair cuticle ravaged by UV rays. This marshmallow, coconut, and mango oil-infused treatment will also protect from colour fade and leave you with soft and manageable locks.
The blend of UVA/UVB filters derived from cinnamon bark and wintergreen oils, green tea extract, shea butter and coconut oil makes this your hair’s very own security guard against environmental aggressors, while helping condition and detangle it. Simply spray onto hair before and during sun exposure.