How to Protect Your Hair From Sun Damage

protect your hair from the sun

photo by: Nan Palermo

As the summer sun starts to peek out from the spring rain clouds here in Toronto, many of us are drawn to the outdoors. Picnics, beaches, poolside–however you like to get your Vitamin D, do you ever stop to think about what the sun might be doing to your hair? A lot of people apply sunscreen to their skin to protect themselves from UV damage–some even go as far as applying it to the part in their hair where their scalp is exposed–but not many think about protecting their actual hair strands.

Does the sun damage your hair?

The short answer is yes. The UV rays can actually start to break down the cuticle, leaving it dry and brittle and even causing split ends and breakage. This is especially the case if you colour your hair because the molecules of the hair colour are extra susceptible to sun damage. It’s also extra concerning for people with naturally curly hair or highly textured hair, which tends to be dry to begin with.

How to protect your hair from harmful UV rays

Cover it up: This one is pretty straightforward–just wear a hat or a scarf to protect your hair whenever you’re going to be in the sun for long periods of time.

Use hair products that contain sun protection: Many hair products, from shampoos and conditioners to styling products, contain UV-absorbing ingredients that protect your hair from the harmful effects of the sun. You’ll find these ingredients especially in products for coloured hair, because they help prevent colour fading that can happen with sun exposure.

Hair products with UV protection

Here at Studio 86 hair salon in Toronto, we carry Design Essentials hair care products, and can recommend a few that are formulated to protect your hair from sun damage. Their Gentle Balance Sulfate-Free Shampoo, for example, is a great choice. Infused with rose hip oil and panthenol, this shampoo gently cleanses and removes impurities while restoring moisture balance. It also contains UV absorbers to protect your hair from sun damage and help preserve your hair colour.

Another thing you can do to protect your hair from sun damage when you’re hanging by the pool or lounging on the beach is apply a coconut oil treatment. Coconut oil contains natural UV protection and it also penetrates and deep conditions the hair shaft. Natural hair blog K is for Kinky recommends applying your coconut oil to wet hair before and after swimming. Learn more: How to Use Coconut Oil Sunscreen for Hair.

What do you use to protect your hair from the sun? Share in the comments!


  1. Scalp stimulating treatments you can do at home | Studio 86 Salon - August 12, 2015

    […] can you do to encourage a healthy scalp, and therefore healthy hair growth? In addition to protecting your hair from sun damage, staying hydrated and eating a nutritious, balanced diet, you can try some natural at-home scalp […]

  2. How to Keep Your Hair Beautiful All Summer | Studio 86 Salon - May 25, 2016

    […] Your hair can be damaged by UV rays just like your skin, but you can take measures to protect it. Beyond the obvious such as wearing one of those big brimmed hats that are so hot right now, or getting creative with your scarf tying (try these: 10 Different Ways to Tie a Scarf in Your Hair), you can also reach for hair products that contain UV protection. We have several suggestions in this post: How to Protect Your Hair from Sun Damage. […]

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