How to protect your hair from the sun – tips, advice, professional secrets

A trip to the sea is a stressful situation for your hair. And if you don’t take care of protecting it, you’ll find when you return from vacation that your hair looks even worse than it did before you went on vacation. So today we’re going to talk in detail about how to keep your hair healthy and beautiful on a voyage to the seas and oceans.

Before the trip

You should start preparing before you even start packing your suitcase. Here are a few simple rules:

  1. A chemical perm should be done in the cabin at least 3 weeks before the trip begins.
  2. And any type of hair dyeing should be done at least 2 weeks in advance. Although it is best to refuse this procedure at all. Colouring is a serious test for hair and should not be subjected to unnecessary stress.
  3. A week before your departure, go to the hairdresser. Have him cut off all the split ends of the hair. It’s a great idea to shorten the haircut, so you can make hair care much easier for yourself.

    Sun protection is very important for healthy hair
    Sun protection is very important for healthy hair

What damaging factors threaten your hair on vacation?

There are three: UV radiation from the sun, hot and strong winds, and exposure to salt seawater or chlorinated pool water. Unfortunately, all these factors will act on you simultaneously, reinforcing each other’s negative effects. Let’s consider them one by one and talk about the effective protection of your hair from the sun, seawater, and wind.


Ultraviolet radiation of the sun is divided into three types depending on the wavelength: UVA, UV V, and UVC. The UVS wavelengths disperse very strongly in the Earth’s atmosphere, and therefore their impact is minimal, they can be neglected. But UVA- and UV V. radiation hits our hair almost unchanged. The damaging effect is also different: UVA waves intensively dry the hair, and UV V. – destroy the pigment, resulting in the loss of natural color.

Important! The lighter your hair, the more intense UV light is on it, because the pigment melanin, which dyes it in dark colors, serves as a kind of natural UV filter. Grey hair is the most dangerous – there is practically no melanin.

If you are exposed to strong sunlight, you must wear a hat.
If you are exposed to strong sunlight, you must wear a hat.

But protecting your skin and hair from harmful ultraviolet isn’t hard enough. Any headgear will help you here. If you do not want to use extra parts of the wardrobe, you will have to use special sunscreen, which we will talk more about below. The main thing to remember here is to apply SPF filters at least half an hour before leaving the house, not sitting on the beach.

Hot and strong wind

Hot air pulls moisture out of your hair pretty quickly. And fast gusts of wind can easily tangle your hair, causing it to break and split ends. But this problem is most common to long hair and can be dealt with by simply picking it up in a ponytail or, better yet, a braid. And tangled hair will need to be carefully combed with a comb, using a spray conditioner before.

Sea or chlorinated water

The main danger here is sea salt or chlorine contained in swimming pool water. They wash dyes out of their hair very quickly and dehydrate it due to their hygroscopic properties. In order to cope with this danger, it is sufficient to wash your head thoroughly with clean fresh water at least once a day.

What to take with you and what to protect your hair from the sun at sea?

First of all, your indispensable companion should be the headgear. Panama made of natural light fabric or even a straw hat will give your head excellent protection from both UV radiation and thermal shock. Secondly, you will need a set of products that will provide your hair with sufficient care when traveling to southern latitudes. Such care is composed of three stages:

Cleaning: Shampoo.

Contrary to popular belief, SPF protection is not very important for shampoo. Even if it contains substances that work like UV filters, after you’ve washed your head, there’s virtually no hair left in the shampoo. The main tasks when using shampoo are moisturizing and cleaning. Therefore, you will need at least two different bottles of this cosmetic product. Use them in a proportion of two to one: 2 times wash your head with a moisturizing shampoo, one time – cleaning.

Restoration: air conditioning or mask

It is the main weapon to combat the negative effects of sea salt. Dried in the hair, the salt causes the scales of the cuticle to rise, and gradually penetrates into the rod, where it begins to destroy its amino acid-base. Using conditioners or revitalizing masks after washing your hair will help to smooth out the cuticle and protect your hair from chemical damage.

Protection: SPF filters

And these care products are just what protects the hair from the sun directly, blocking its UV radiation. They work by enveloping each hair, enclosing it in a kind of protective shell, which due to its physical and chemical characteristics does not pass ultraviolet.

The form of such cosmetic products can be very different – oils, creams, sprays, mousses, etc. Which option to choose – it is not so important, except that the owners of thin hair are better to abandon the use of oils. But what will be really useful is the content of this product in addition to the UV filter some caring, nourishing, or moisturizing components. In this case, you will receive both protection from sunlight and support for hair health.

A very good choice will be products that do not require rinsing. You can apply them to your hair once and leave them on until the next time you wash your hair. And all this time they will perform their protective functions well. What’s more, many manufacturers produce specialized non-flush lines for hot summertime. Compounds in these cosmetics are usually selected in such a way as to make its daily use possible and safe.

UV filter types

All types of hair protection from the sun’s UV radiation can be divided into three large groups – chemical, natural, and physical.

Chemical filters

It’s a pretty large group of substances produced synthetically. They include, in particular:

avobenzone; mexoril; tinosorb; oxysalicylate; octocrylene; cinnamates and a number of other compounds.
The feature of such means is very high reliability and consistently maximum (SPF 50) degree of protection against UV radiation. And chemical filters can block both UVA and UVB spectra, and some – both at once, is universal. In addition, such substances are waterproof, have no color or odor, and leave no traces on hair and skin.

However, cosmetic experts do not recommend using products with chemical filters. Why not? Because with all the obvious advantages, they have a very significant disadvantage – after about two hours in the sun these compounds begin to change their properties and work as oxidants, destroying the protein base of the hair.

Natural filters

Various oils can be used as such means. In fact, this is the answer to a frequently asked question about how to effectively and cheaply protect your hair from the sun at home. This effect has:

jojoba oil (SPF 4);
shea butter (SPF 2-5);
sesame oil (SPF 5);
almond oil (SPF 5);
macadamia oil (SPF 6);
coconut oil and olive oil (SPF 2-8);
avocado oil (SPF 4-15);
wheat germ oil (SPF 20); coconut and olive oil (SPF 2-8); avocado oil (SPF 4-15); wheat germ oil (SPF 20);
carrot seed oil (SPF 38-40);
Raspberry seed oil (SPF 28-50).

It would seem then why buy professional products rather than use them to protect your hair from the sun, say almond oil? The answer is simple: natural ultraviolet filters have quite a lot of limitations and application features:
1) They are not suitable for thin hair, as we have already mentioned above.
2) Vegetable oils decay very quickly and therefore will provide you with protection for no more than one hour, and then it will need to be updated.
3) The oil film has a certain refractive effect, which “attracts” sunlight to the hair. That is, with a minimal decrease in the intensity of protection oil begins to work “against” your hair, increasing its fading.

Physical filters.

It’s primarily titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Here, the sun protection effect is based solely on the optical properties of these substances that can reflect ultraviolet radiation. SPF at them fluctuates from 10 to 30. Advantages of such means:

maximum safety – they are not toxic and do not interact in any way with hair or scalp;
versatility – they reflect both the UVA and UVB spectra;
Photostability – they don’t change their properties and structures under sunlight;
efficiency even at low concentrations;
low cost.
There are also a number of disadvantages to physical filters:

Instability to mechanical influences – such reflective film can be easily erased from the hair;
unstable to water – these products are washed away after washing the head and they must be reapplied;
Giving your hair a matte finish is a purely cosmetic effect that can still affect your image.

Important: In terms of pros and cons, stylists usually recommend the choice of non-washable sprays and those series of prof. sun protection products, which are based on physical filters.

How to use hair protection products correctly?

Haircare on vacation has to be built in several stages:
1. Wet hair with warm water, take a small amount of shampoo, and massage the roots and scalp until it foams. Then spread this foam all over the hair and rinse.
2. Then use conditioner on a clean head with the same massaging movements. Then pause for 5-7 minutes to allow the nutrients to have time for their regenerating effect. After that, wash your head again with warm water.
Finally, apply sunscreen to dried hair and leave it there until the next time you wash your hair.

Can I use something else as a UV filter if specialized tools are not available?

Will hair protect from the sun coloring, tonic, silicone, chamomile, other substances, treatments, or medicinal herbs? No, it won’t. All these products have no ability to prevent the spread of UV rays. The same answer will be given to the question of whether the thermal protection used in hot styling methods is suitable for protecting hair in the sun. Its purpose is to prevent the damaging effects of high temperatures on your hair. And on the beach, the main danger is not heating, but ultraviolet. Thermal protection is simply not designed to block the sun’s radiation.

Is there any alternative to specialized SPF cosmetics? Yes, as we said, you can use any vegetable oil, but its protector effect will be short-lived. Besides, the temporary protection of hair will be provided by solar filters applied to the skin. But it is better to use them for a short time, only as an “emergency option”.

How can I further help your hair when going to the sea?

If you want to lift your hair, it is better to collect it closer to the neck than to the top. This will help protect the tips from excessive sun damage.
When making a tail like that, choose the softest, thickest and widest rubber bands. Unlike the tighter and thinner ones, they have minimal traumatic effects on your hair. A good option would also be to use a stud, better than a wood stud.
It should be remembered that twisting the hair, of course, is very convenient, but a long stay in this state will not bring anything good. Especially if you twisted your hair in such a way still wet. High humidity makes the hair brittle and especially susceptible to any mechanical damage.
If there is no shower cabin at the beach, take 2-3 liters of fresh water and use it to periodically wash away the salt from the hair.
You should not use high-temperature styling tools. Give your hair a break from flatbeds or irons. Especially since the look of your hairstyle, which can provide you with such a styling, still will not last too long. Seaside humidity is always high, which means that the effect of all your curling efforts or, conversely, straightening your hair will soon be destroyed.
In case you still can’t imagine evenings at a resort without a strict hairstyle, you will need special products. These are not ordinary hairsprays, but cosmetics, carrying the mark Apres Beach. Such marking means that this care is specially adapted to conditions of high humidity and with it, the hairstyle has a good chance not to break up until late at night.
Use your hairbrush more often. The best option is a brush with natural bristles.

How do I support my hair when I come home from vacation?

Even if you’re not lazy enough to buy all the sunscreen you need and have not neglected to use it, it’s likely that you won’t be able to completely avoid damage. Alas, the intensity of the summer sun in southern latitudes is so high that no SPF filter will be perfect, and the saltwater and hot wind will make your hairdryer, despite any moisturizing treatments. So in order to get your hair back to normal quickly, you’ll need a range of revitalizing measures:

During the first week after the holiday, wash your hair at least a couple of times with a mild cleansing shampoo.
Pay special attention to hydration, which will help you get rid of scalp flaking, which often results from the combined effects of sun, sand, and wind.

Take our advice

Visit your hairstylist and let him get rid of cut and dried hair ends, just like he did before the trip.
Try to wash your hair for a while after the trip, not with ordinary clean water, but with decoctions of herbs. As phytosanitary preparations will perfectly suit pharmacy chamomile, nettle, dried lime flowers, burdock root, or a succession.
Nutritious masks are very useful during this period. They are easy to make at home. To do this, you will need to take 2 egg yolks and add juice squeezed out of half a medium-sized lemon. Mix the resulting mixture and pour into it 10 drops of any vegetable oil (preferably burlap or almond). Apply this mask to the washed head, spreading it all over the hair. Cover them with a food film and top with a terry towel and hold for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse the hair thoroughly with warm water and brush gently.
If you know any special secrets about protecting your hair from the sun, share important information with us and our readers and tell them in the comments below.