A Complete Guide To Understanding Sun Protection For Hair

Sun Protection Hair

It’s not just the skin that needs protection from the potential sun damage, your tresses need to be layered with a sun protectant too. Prolonged sun exposure causes cuticle damage and loss of pigment which can lead to the literal ‘bleaching’ of the hair. Harsh sun rays can also zap moisture from the hair shaft leading to dry and frizzy ends. It can also cause protein degradation leading to brittle hair and breakage. And for those who are rocking their natural greys, your mane is not sun-proof just yet. UV damage can cause discolouration of grey hair, leading to yellowing or further fading of pigments. Now that you’re persuaded to sun-proof your mane (we hope!), here’s a handy guide on deciding the basics of it. 

Wait, Is Hair Sunscreen A Thing? 

We bet it is! It works as effectively as the most potent SPF in your vanity. Leave-in sun protectors are formulated with antioxidants to protect the hair shaft from free-radical damage and physical or chemical actives that function as barriers against sun damage. 

This is extremely crucial for grey hair as it is devoid of melanin which functions as a natural sun barrier. Rimona Ganapathy, Co-founder, Amazing Greys commented, “Grey hair has lost more than just its colour, it’s also lost melanin which acts as a natural shield against environmental stressors like UV rays. So grey hair is more prone to damage than regular hair and starts getting an unsightly yellow tone overtime.”

Amazing Greys’ Daily UV Shield serum has resveratrol, an antioxidant which absorbs UV rays to help reverse and prevent discolouration so the result is healthier, more radiant-looking grey hair. “It is dermatologically tested on Indian hair and skin. Even if you colour your greys, this serum helps to prevent colour fading and protects hair from damage caused by environmental aggressors,” says Ganapathy.

How Does Hair Sunscreen Work?

Hair sunscreens work similar to daily SPF creams and lotions; they either reflect UV light or absorb it to neutralise it. But unlike skin sun creams, hair SPF products come in the form of serums, sprays, and powders that get absorbed into the scalp and hair shaft.

Shaily Kataruka, founder and CEO, The Earth Collective, explains, “Just like your skin, your hair needs sunscreen too. The Earth Collective Sun Protection hair serum is a light, non-greasy formula that is enriched with alfalfa, Argan and orange to protect the hair outdoors. The UV protectors used in it are a combination of naturally occurring chemicals found in some flowering plants. Along with these, the serum has nutrient-rich ingredients that nourish the hair and keep it soft, healthy and frizz-free.”

It is quite obvious that hair sunscreens are practically painless and fuss-free to apply. So an added step of protection for your hair and scalp may not just be a sales-driving hustle but a legitimate step your hair care routine deserves. 

Is Hair Sunscreen The Only Form Of Sun Protection Available For Hair? 

It is not just SPF scalp powders, hair sprays, or serums that help with sun protection, a hair conditioner is essential as well. Look for formulas that are hydrating, repairing, and deposit silicone or silicone replacements to your hair. For people who get exposed to the sun a lot, the otherwise well-known hair care villain dimethicone – they sit on your hair shaft and lead to buildup if not properly cleansed – won’t be bad for your hair after all. 

Other Factors That Make Your Mane More Susceptible To Damage

Hair that is exposed to chemicals is more prone to damage. If you are someone who likes to experiment with hair colours or is a regular swimmer, your hair routine needs to be upgraded. Use protective sprays before taking a dip in a pool to minimise chlorine damage. And for coloured hair – make sure to use post-swim products to buff the chemicals off from your hair before stepping out.

A full head of hair that is healthy and enriched with natural oils will work as a natural barrier against the sun. But in areas where the hair is sparse, or if you have fine or red hair that is more susceptible to damage, avoid overwashing the hair to protect its integrity. Limit shampooing to two to three times a week and use a dry shampoo or water cleanse to freshen up the scalp in between washes.

If you ain’t a scarf or a hat person, we suggest you become one! Nothing better than keeping hair under wraps and blocked from sunrays. Use a silk or satin scarf to neatly tuck in your hair and protect from the sun. These fabrics let your scalp breathe and do not create unnecessary friction that leads to frizzy hair.

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