SPF for Your Hair? Yep, It's a Thing

Crispy, faded hair can be avoided with these sunscreen-esque hair products.
Publish date:
August 5, 2015
sun damage, spf, sunscreen, leave-in conditioners, uv rays, Finishing Spray

Every summer, without fail, glossies and beauty websites practically scream at readers about the importance of sunscreen. This advice is given with love, of course, and it ought to be heeded.

I promise I'm not going to sit here and preach to you about sunscreen, because I know you know what's up in the SPF department for your skin. But here's something you may not be so familiar with: the importance of sun protection for your hair.

Believe it or not, UV rays can wreak major havoc on your hair. Pair it with all that action in the pool (hello, chlorine!), and you're looking at a recipe for super-sad locks.

"Though it doesn't pose as much of a risk as it does to your skin, sun exposure can cause noticeable damage to your hair," explains Dr. Jill Waibel, owner of the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute.

She explains that UV rays break down protein fibers, which causes the hair to weaken. This results in strands particularly prone to split ends, plus your hair ends up looking dull and lackluster. Additionally, excessive exposure to the sun--without protection--can result in expedited color fade. It can also fade hair that hasn't been color-treated.

One solution is to assume vampire status and stay inside until the sun disappears. The alternative is to use products that not only protect against potential damage, but nourish your hair in the process.

For starters, you can protect your hair from the sun's harmful rays with a product that's explicitly made to do so. Example: Rene Furterer Protective Summer Oil ($22). It contains KPF90, which shields your hair from UV rays. It also contains castor oil and sesame oil, which nourish and hydrate the hair shaft. Spray it on either damp or dry hair as frequently as you desire, and rest easy knowing the sun's not gonna leave you with a case of hay hair.

Another option for sun protection is leave-in conditioner, a multi-purpose product that doesn't get as much love as it deserves. Even I don't use them as much as I ought to! Not only are they less time-consuming than deep conditioners, they often have multiple benefits outside of creating shiny, shiny hair, including SPF for your hair and scalp.

I've been a big fan of Brioegeo for a while, and this leave-in is a good one. It smells amazing and doesn't weigh the hair down like some can. Plus it's cruelty-free, paraben-free, vegan, and affordable. It's best to apply it to towel-dried hair before styling, especially focusing on the ends; it'll protect you from UV rays and heat styling.

Talk about a multitasker! As the name implies, Phuse Beauty's Leave In Conditioner promises 11 benefits, including minimizing color loss, smoothing frizz, preventing split ends, mending and strengthening damaged hair, protecting against heat styling, adding shine, and providing SPF all day long. It has a clean, salon-y smell and lives up to its promises.

Finally, you can further protect your hair from the sun's harmful rays and damaging heat by using a finishing spray or hairspray containing SPF.

Eufora's Elevate Finishing Spray contains SPF 15, plus it gently keeps your hair in place while nourishing with aloe vera. This one is a firm-hold hair spray, but it does not result in helmet head the way some firm-holds can. It's perfect for those long days spent outside, or for special events when you want to make sure everything stays in place.

  • Any summer hair stories to tell? Green hair caused by chlorine?
  • Do you take extra measures to protect your hair from extended sun exposure?