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How Can I Protect My Hair From Sun Damage?

Last updated Sep 27, 2023

As we move into the warmer months, we often will lather up with sunscreen to protect our faces and skin. But actually, in similar ways to how the sun can be harmful to your skin, it can also damage your hair. The good news is that you can take some precautions to protect your hair from sun damage.

If you want to maintain shiny, healthy strands while enjoying the sun, read on to learn how to prevent hair from sun damage with just a few simple tips.

Does The Sun Damage Your Hair?

Actually, if your hair undergoes prolonged exposure to the sun, the UVA and UVB rays can damage the outside cover of the hair strand, called the cuticle, thus damaging the hair shaft and leading to discoloration, early greying, dry, and brittle strands, broken or split ends, thinning and frizziness.

Before we delve into what can be done to protect your hair from UV rays, let’s take a quick look at which are some signs of sun damage to your hair.

What Are the Signs of Sun Damage to Your Hair?

If you have any of the following hair problems, then it could be that your hair has had too much exposure to the sun:

Faded hair color;

Dry and brittle hair strands;

Broken or split ends;

Frizzy hair;

Weakened and thinning hair;

So what is the best way to protect hair from the sun?

How To Protect Hair From Sun Damage

Just like you use SPF daily to protect your face and skin, there are several things you can do to protect your hair from sun damage naturally.

1. Minimize Peak Sunlight Exposure

To avoid getting sunburned, it’s best to steer clear of sun exposure during the hottest part of the day. And the same goes for protecting your hair.

As we all know, the sun is the most intense between 10 AM to 2 PM. If you plan to go outside, please aim for the morning or late afternoon. Although you won’t totally escape the sun, you can avoid some of the harshest and most damaging rays, thus reducing sun damage.

If going out is inevitable, it is best to cover your hair with a scarf or use your wide-brimmed hat.

2. Get A Trim

While cutting your hair might not be plan A, trimming the ends of sun-damaged hair might be one of the best ways to keep strands healthy and stimulate growth.

By trimming as soon as you see split ends or experience dryness, you may prevent further damage down the line and ensure that your hair is in good condition and there is less risk of split ends.


If your hair is in recovery mode, you just need to get a cut every three months or more.

If your hair is particularly showing signs of dryness, opt for trims as regularly as every 3-4 weeks to help it look healthy soon once more.

3. Use Natural Oils For Sun Protection


Natural oils pull triple duty: smooth the cuticle, add shine and deliver natural sun protection. My favorite natural way to protect hair from the sun is to apply a small amount of coconut oil to your hair before going out.

4. Keep Hair Moisturized With A Hair Mask

Even if you're not outside every day, just a few minutes in the harsh summer sun can leave your hair feeling parched. An excellent option which is one of the most popular natural ways to protect hair from the sun and help with any damage is to use a homemade hair mask.


Mix together 1 egg white, 3 tbsp of natural yogurt, and 3 tbsp of mayonnaise, and cover your hair in the mixture for around half an hour before rinsing really well. After all, the egg white is packed with protein, helping to nourish your hair.

Or, you can use a leave-in conditioner to keep hair moisturized. Only need to apply it to the roots, and then secure your hair in a towel overnight.

5. Throw On A Hat

Protection of hair by physical barriers is probably the best and most effective way to protect against UV damage. For example, a wide-brimmed hat that can cover your face and neck offers extra protection from the sun to minimize sun damage.

However, be aware that not all hats are created equal when it comes to hair sun protection. Hats rated with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number will be your best bet to minimize hair sun exposure since they’re tested and regulated by the FDA.


Besides, please choose a tightly woven fabric over an open weave straw hat. According to the American Cancer Society, straw hats aren't as protective as tightly woven ones.

Except for hats, a chic scarf wrap or even an umbrella will protect hair against UV damage the hair.

Even on cloudy days, you should consider covering your hair the UV rays can still cause sunburn and damage your scalp.

6. Style Your Hair In Protective Styles

When it comes to protecting your natural hair from sun damage, nothing is better than to style a simple protective hairstyle. Like a French Braid or a sleek bun can completely cover your scalp and decrease the surface area of hair that’s exposed to direct sunlight, which means you are protecting most of your hair strands from sun damage.


If you are feeling adventurous, you can also try dutch braids, fishtail braids, or the slightly complicated yet ever-so-stylish 4-strand Braid.

At the same time, keep in mind not to use tight elastic and avoid too tight hairstyles to avoid damaging hair follicles or hairlines.

7. Use A Sunscreen

Using an SPF on your scalp and hair while in the sun can be as important as using an SPF for your skin. If you tie your hair in braids or any other hairdo that exposes your scalp to the sun, apply sunscreen that is formulated especially for your hair and scalp, which can offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays to that area.


Spraying sunblock along your hairline and on your part before going outside can help to prevent damage to your scalp. Make sure that you choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 if you will be staying out in the sun for long, else SPF 15 would work just fine. Another important tip about sun protection for hair and scalp is to opt for a mineral-based sunscreen as it is comparatively lightweight and highly moisturizing.

8. Take a Break From Heat Styling

If your hair is already being exposed to the rays of the sun, then it doesn’t need another heat attack from straighteners and blow-drying.

If possible, please use heat tools as less as possible. After all, the heat from these styling appliances will damage the keratin sheath around the hair and leave it open to sun damage. Thus, allowing your hair to air-dry is the kindest option.


If you are in hurry or still have to use these hot tools, please keep it at a low temperature and opt for a serum to protect your hair.

When you want a blown-out, straightened, or curled look every once in a while, please make sure to use a heat protectant before using hot tools to guard against heat damage.

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