Do We Need An SPF For Our Hair? We Asked An Expert


Spend a minute on the internet and you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of times you hear about the importance of wearing an SPF daily. Three-finger’s worth, bring it down to your neck and reapply every 2 hours- that’s the mantra. But is protecting our face and neck enough? We spoke to Dr Sravya Tipirneni Reddy, dermatologist and trichologist, to explore the validity of a hair SPF.

What is hair SPF?

Your skin’s melanin protects it from harmful UVA/UVB rays but extended exposure can cause a sunburn. To prevent this and other adverse effects of these rays, we use an SPF. So what is a hair SPF? “Ultraviolet radiations not only damage the skin but the hair as well. The structure of the hair is affecting- resulting in brittleness, fading of colour, split ends, rough and dull hair, and poor hair texture in the long run,” says Dr. Reddy. And therefore, a hair SPF is the answer to protect against these harmful effects.
But how are hair SPF different from those we use on our skin? “Facial sunscreens cannot be used on the hair because they might have sun-protecting ingredients but their formulation is not suitable or cosmetically acceptable,” explains Dr. Reddy. Putting a creamy face sunscreen on the hair can make it oily and weigh it down. Therefore, Dr. Reddy suggests using a spray, lotion or even a leave-in-conditioner that is incorporated with an SPF.

Hair SPFs vs Heat Protectants

Heat protection products protect the hair cuticle and the hair shaft from the physical temperatures of blow dryers, straighteners or curling iron. They don’t really protect the hair from distant heat or radiation. UV rays are a completely different form of energy and hence require different ingredients to protect. Some ingredients to look for in a hair SPF Avobenzone, Octinoxide, Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide.


How often should you reapply hair SPF?

Similar to face sunscreen, it is equally important to reapply sunscreen on the hair. However, it’s trickier than the reapplication on the skin because of its length and volume. “Two to three hours is the frequency at which you need to reapply a hair sunscreen, but that’s sort of an impractical thing to do when you are actually out and about,” says Dr. Reddy. An easier way around this, like for the face and body, is to use an SPF in the form of a spray. “There are a few products which are very easy to use and don’t make the hair too sticky,” she adds. 

Although hair SPF is a fairly new and niche introduction to Indian markets, here are a few for you to try-

Kerastase Soleil Sun Protection Hair Care Range

Kerastase’s Soleil rage protects, nourishes & beautifies the hair. It contains ingredients like coconut water to hydrate, Babassu oil to boost radiance, vitamin E to reduce breakage and UV filters to minimise the sun’s harmful effect on the hair.

NUXE Sun Moisturising Protective Milky Oil


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This delicious-smelling hair oil has a blend of sweet orange, Tahitian gardenia and coconut. It not only protects the scalp from UV rays but also from salt and chlorine making it a perfect product for summer.

Moroccanoil Protect And Prevent Spray


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If you want to stop colour fade and damage at the source, the Morocconoil Protect & Prevent Spray is your leave-in hair protectant spray. It shields the shafts from UV rays, pollutants, and thermal damage from hot tools. It also features their signature mix of spicy amber and musk with sweet florals.

Streax Sun Block Hair Serum


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Streax Sunblock Hair Serum contains UV filters, thus promising 24-hour UV protection with each application. It also prevents frizz, adds shine and makes your hair more manageable.

Dot & Key Hair Sunscreen + Softening Serum SPF 15

This hair serum offers SPF 15, while also protecting against heat and pollutants. It does this while keeping your tresses bouncy and grease-free, makes it a fuss-free addition to your daily routine.

Beauty Writer

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