Are harmful UV rays secretly damaging your hair? If yours is feeling dry, dull and brittle, that may just be the case. The good news is, these SPFs will bring your hair back to life in no time at all.
We’d like to think we’re all pretty clued-up when it comes to sunscreen. We know that we need to wear it every day, even on cloudy days, to protect our skin from harmful UV rays, aging and pollution. But what about sun protection for hair? If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably be guilty of leaving your hair out to dry in the sun, without thinking of the damage that those pesky rays can do.
Because, like our skin, hair can burn when unprotected. And it’s not just those who colour or bleach their hair who suffer. All hair types, when exposed to UV rays, undergo a certain amount of damage. “UV rays burn both the inside and outside layer of the hair follicle, resulting in brittle and lifeless ends. And just like unprotected skin, hair can get sun burnt!” Zoe Irwin, ghd UK ambassador, tells us. From frizzy strands to brassy colour— the sun has a lot to answer for when it comes to messing up our mane.
But don’t worry if you’ve accidentally been frazzling your hair every summer, because there’s an easy way to protect your hair from the sun. Enter: hair SPF. Yes, it’s a thing and it’s really quite revolutionary. From shielding strands to prolonging colour, a decent sun protection for hair is the key to keeping your hair looking healthy all year round.
Not sure which is for right you? We’ve done the hard work and rounded up the best sun protection for hair (and scalp!) so that you can step out in the sun without worrying what’s going to happen to your mane. Whether you’re after an all-natural product or the best sun protection for coloured hair, we’ve got a formula for you…
Best sun protection for hair and scalp
Sachajuan Hair In The Sun
This clever do-it-all cream simultaneously protects your hair from UV rays whilst providing subtle hold— meaning your hair won’t frizz out when rinsing or swimming. Enriched with a unique co-polymer, which is essentially a blend of coconut oil and cinnamon— plus sea algae and proteins that help to coat individual strands, your hair is defended against sun damage, by deflecting UV rays away. Applied to wet or dry hair, this is one to keep in your beach bag at all times.
£20, Cult Beauty
Philip Kingsley Swimcap
The OG in sun and swim hair care, Swimcap was developed specifically for the first US Olympic Synchronised Swimming Team way back in 1984. Containing UV filters to protect against the harmful rays of the sun, this leave-in treatment is also specifically formulated to protect against the drying effects of chlorine and salt water.
Simply apply on your wet hair and scalp, comb through and leave-on like a hair mask whilst you’re out in the sun or water. Rinse out when you’re done and your hair will be left in even better condition than before. Genius!
Best sun protection for coloured hair
Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil
With a blend of rich oils - think argan, jasmine and cassis - together with shea butter and omegas 3&6, you’d think this super nourishing hair oil would be too much for a lot of hair types. Yet somehow, it remains lightweight and perfect for colour-treated hair. Not only does it help to shield strands from UV rays and pollution, it boosts shine, reduces frizz, softens dry areas and smooths split ends. It’s an all-in-one hair saviour. Sure, it might be expensive, but the ultra-luxe bottle is a dream, right?
£48, Cult Beauty
IGK Hair Blocked Waterproof Teflon
Perfect for holiday hair, IGK’s Blocked works on wet and dry hair to protect your scalp and strands against UV rays, sea-salt, chlorine and any other environmental elements you might come across. The vegan and cruelty-free formula works to maintain your hair’s colour and shine, coating each strand in protective, light and natural waxes. Although the formula works on all hair types, for best results, we suggest you use it on damp or wet hair and embrace the wet look trend.
£25, Space NK
Ultrasun Daily UV Hair Protector
This daily spray not only helps to protect your hair against UV rays, pool chemicals and salt water— but actually helps to lock-in colour from the first use. Perfect for everyday, apply it to wet or dry hair prior to sun exposure and use as a de-tangler or hydrating leave-in conditioner. It’s the perfect primer for any hair situation.
£24, Space NK
Best sun protection spray for blonde hair
Joico Blonde Life Brightening Veil UV & Thermal Defense Multi-Tasker
Blonde hair gets a rough time of it during the summer, and can be especially damaged through UV exposure. This multi-tasting spray works to shield hair from damaging UVA and UVB rays— protecting your blonde from fading or turning brassy, whilst boosting shine, reducing frizz and providing heat protection from thermal styling up to 230°C. For best results, spritz onto towel dried hair before styling. Easy!
Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil UV Protective Dry Oil Finishing Spray
If you like the idea of hair oils more than you like the actual hair oils themselves then this might be the product for you. Bumble & Bumble’s Dry Oil Finishing Spray delivers a super fine mist of hydrating and smoothing oils, so that your hair isn’t weighed down and your blonde isn’t dulled. The non-greasy formula contains a protective barrier to fight against UVA and UVB rays so that you can spritz it on-the-go and not have to worry about sun damage. Ideal.
£26, Space NK
Best natural sun protection for hair
Briogeo Farewell Frizz Rosehip, Argan & Coconut Oil Blend
If you try to keep your beauty routine as natural as possible, then Briogeo’s Oil Blend might be a good natural sun protector for you. 99% of the ingredients are derived from natural, vegan oils— plus, it contains no artificial dyes, phthalates, sulphates or silicones. As for the oil itself, the antioxidant rich blend of coconut, rosehip and argan oil helps to tame frizz and flyaways, whilst protecting your strands against UV, free radicals and heat.
£24, Space NK
Best sun protection for fine hair
Wella Professionals Sun Protection Spray for Fine to Normal Hair
If you’re worried about weighing down your fine hair with excess product, then this is a great option for you. It contains a dual-phase formula— the ultra-fine spray helps to protect against UV rays whilst the vitamin-enriched complex works to hydrate your strands throughout the day. Shake well and spritz evenly over dry or damp hair. Hair is left soft and smelling great, without feeling greasy or limp.
Matrix Biolage Sunsorials Protective Hair Non-Oil
Another great option for thinner hair types, Matrix’s Biolage Protective Hair Non-Oil is designed to protect against the sun, sea and swimming pools without adding weight to your hair. Mist it through the lengths of your hair before sun exposure or swimming and let the rich antioxidants shield your hair from any environmental aggressors.
£15.95, Feel Unique
Best sun protection for damaged hair
Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil
With a blend of antioxidants, certified organic oils and vitamin E, this water-resistant mist packs a punch of hair protection in just one spritz. There’s organic shea butter to detangle and condition the hair, whilst wintergreen and cinnamon bark oils help to filter out UV rays and protect hair from sun damage. Plus, thanks to its water-resistant formula, one application will protect your hair from colour fade, damage and dryness for up to sixteen hours. Perfect if you’re going to be out in the sun all day long.
ghd Heat Protect Spray with UV Protection
Perfect for people who regularly heat-style their hair, ghd’s lightweight formula is enriched with Benzophenone-4, which specifically works to block out and filter harmful UV rays before they even reach your hair. It’s also packed with ghd’s patented heat protection system and conditioning agents, meaning your hair’s protected from everything from straightening, blow-drying or other environmental factors.
Main image: Unsplash