Sun damaged hair at the beach

10 Ways to Protect Your Hair from the Sun

Protecting your hair from the sun isn’t just for your holiday. If you’re planning on taking a dip in the sea, sunbathing on sandy white beaches, or simply spending time out and about in the UK, you’ll need to take extra care to restore your mane to its post-holiday hair glory. Hair sun protection is […]

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Protecting your hair from the sun isn’t just for your holiday. If you’re planning on taking a dip in the sea, sunbathing on sandy white beaches, or simply spending time out and about in the UK, you’ll need to take extra care to restore your mane to its post-holiday hair glory.

Hair sun protection is as important as packing your sun cream for that last-minute winter holiday. Our team shares top hair care tips to avoid unwanted frizz or a damaged ‘do, guaranteeing you great hair in the summer sun and beyond.

If you’re looking for more expert advice, book an in-person consultation with our stylists.

Are certain hair types more prone to sun damage?

Yes, certain hair types are more prone to sun damage. Hair that is naturally finer, lighter in colour, or chemically treated is generally more susceptible to sun damage compared to coarser, darker, and unprocessed hair. But everyone needs to take precautions to protect their hair from the sun.

What does sun-damaged hair look like?

Just like our skin, our hair can also be prone to the damaging effects of the sun. Too much exposure can strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving your locks feeling dry, brittle and dull.

There are a few telltale signs that your hair has suffered from too much sun. Your colour may have faded slightly, and it may feel lacklustre, more knotty than usual and frizzy to the touch.

If you have naturally straight hair, you might find that your locks feel uneven and kinky as they soak up water and products faster. If you have naturally curly hair and/or afro hair, your hair may be more prone to sun damage than other hair types, as the sun acts as a drying agent and can make your curls feel rough to the touch.

Example of what sun damaged hair looks like

How to avoid sun-damaged hair

1. Put in the prep work

Prepping your hair before stepping into the sun is a must to keep your locks in good condition. To ensure your hair stays healthy and luscious all year round, hair sun protection should be used at all times.

Our Session Team member, Nicole Appadu, explained: “We all love enjoying the sunshine, but protecting your hair against UV damage is important. You can build up strength in your hair before your holiday by having regular Olaplex treatments and a fresh cut to ensure your hair is in its optimal condition.”

Regular haircuts will help to remove any dry or split ends before you expose your mane to the sun. Using the right shampoo, conditioner and at-home and salon treatments helps to protect your hair all year round: Olaplex is a great option for all hair types.

2. Make sure you’ve got the right products on hand

Keeping up a good hair care routine is crucial when it comes to maintaining your hair’s natural moisture levels. Nicole explained: “The best type of products for hair sun protection are leave-in conditioners, leave-in oils, after-sun exposure shampoo and conditioner as well as those handy masks and treatments.” Apply your leave-in product to clean wet hair or dry hair (it works both ways) before heading out into the sun for the best results.

If your hair is treated or dyed, you’ll need to be extra cautious to keep your colour looking vibrant, too. Nicole continued: “For coloured hair, I would recommend Moroccan Oil- prevent and protect ChromaTech, which creates a protective shield to minimise any UV damage. If you’re looking for a product that’s perfect for all the family, try Serie Expert Solar Sublime UV Conditioning Spray which is enriched with aloe vera, which acts as a natural antioxidant. Try to avoid salt-based products as these will draw out the hair’s natural moisture.”

Treatment being applied to sun damaged hair

3. Prefer a wide-tooth comb over a brush

Choosing a wide-tooth comb over a brush in the summer is a smart move because it’s gentler on your hair when it’s more vulnerable to damage in hot weather. Brushes with fine bristles can pull and stress your hair, particularly when it’s dry or sun-exposed. In contrast, wide-tooth combs glide through your hair with less friction, minimising breakage and reducing the risk of split ends.

Combs also help evenly distribute natural oils, keeping your hair hydrated and less prone to frizz caused by humidity. Overall, using a wide-tooth comb is a hair-friendly choice that helps maintain healthier, more manageable locks during the summer months.

4. Limit sun exposure during peak hours

Minimising sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. protects your skin and hair. During these hours, the sun’s rays are at their strongest, posing a higher risk of sunburn, dehydration, and damage. So plan outdoor activities earlier or later in the day when the sun is less intense, or stay in the shade when possible.

5. Splash before you swim

Trust us when we say that chlorine and salty seawater are the last things you want your hair to be soaking up. The good news is that splashing your locks with clean water before you take a dip will help to minimise hair damage.

Your hair follicles work like a sponge, soaking up water, chlorine and any product you have in your mane. Wet hair isn’t as absorbent as freshly dried locks, so a quick rinse will ensure your mane absorbs less damaging minerals and chemicals.

Too much chlorine will strip your hair of its natural moisture, especially if you’re a regular swimmer. To help protect your hair even further post-dip, apply a leave-in conditioner to help close up your hair’s cuticles and lock in extra moisture.

6. Hold off on the heat

Using heat in the heat is a big no-no: sun-damaged hair dries faster, meaning your natural oils are stripped from your hair more quickly. The added heat will only add more strain to your hair, so try to embrace your natural beach babe hair.

When it comes to caring for your sun-parched locks, it’s best to leave them alone and instead embrace your hair’s natural texture. If you can’t go without blow-drying your hair, use a low-temperature setting, and always use heat protection spray to avoid any further damage.

7. Avoid tight hairstyles

Avoiding tight hairstyles during the summer helps prevent potential damage and discomfort. Tight styles like braids, ponytails, or cornrows can pull on the hair follicles, leading to hair breakage and thinning. In hot weather, these styles can also trap heat close to the scalp, causing excessive sweating, itching, and irritation.

Opting for looser, more breathable styles in the summer not only reduces the risk of hair damage but also enhances comfort and scalp health, allowing for a more enjoyable and healthy summer experience.

8. Step up your shampoo game

There’s no better feeling than washing away the day, especially if your locks have taken in sand and seawater while you’re on holiday. However tempting this sounds, jumping in the shower every evening will strip your hair of its natural oils, and will leave it feeling dry and damaged.

Limiting your hair wash days to three times a week will allow your hair’s natural oils to do their job, helping maintain softness and shine.

Nicole explained: “When you do wash your hair, use a moisturising shampoo like Soleil Kerastase range which helps to remove salts, chlorine and sand residues, gently cleansing your hair from their drying effects.

If you love the feeling of fresh hair every day, spritzing a dry shampoo into your roots can help you achieve that bouncy, just-washed feel. If you’d rather avoid using any product on your no-wash days, opt for a sleek up-do, which is perfect for hiding your unwashed hair.

9. Treat your body like a temple

Especially on hot holidays when you’re out in the sun each day, it’s important to drink as much water as possible. It’s recommended that you drink up to eight glasses of water every day, as keeping hydrated can play a big part in the overall health and strength of your skin and hair.

Opt for foods that are good for your hair and skin, such as green tea and dark chocolate. Hair-friendly fruits such as pears, avocados and papayas are a great way to keep your locks shiny and healthy.

If you’re in the process of restoring sun-damaged hair, try adding vitamins to your diet, such as vitamins A, B12, C and D to help your locks grow stronger.

10. Have fun with hair coverings

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to covering your hair, especially during the hottest part of the day. This is a great way to ensure that your hair and scalp are fully protected from harmful UV rays, and will also help protect you against heatstroke and dehydration, too.

There are so many different types of hair coverings you can choose from, so have fun with your look. Opt for a wide-brimmed hat for that bohemian holiday vibe, or twist your hair into a silk scarf and tie at the front for the ultimate beach babe look.

There’s a fine line between enjoying the sun while keeping your locks in top condition. As long as you’re mindful about protecting your hair and scalp, you can enjoy the sunshine without worry. Once you’ve nailed your hair routine, try the beachy waves look to get that summer feeling all year long.


How does sun exposure affect hair colour?

Sun exposure can cause gradual fading and lightening of hair colour, particularly in individuals with dyed or natural dark hair. The sun’s UV rays break down the pigments in hair, leading to a bleaching effect that can make the hair appear lighter or more washed out over time.

How does the sun affect your scalp?

UV rays can harm your whole head if not protected properly and can leave your scalp red, sore and flaky if you burn severely. To avoid a burnt scalp, cover your head with a hat or scarf and try to stay out of the midday sun.

Should I adjust my hair care routine during the summer?

Yes, it’s a good idea to adjust your hair care routine during the summer. The increased exposure to sun, heat, and humidity can lead to greater moisture loss and potential damage. Consider using hydrating and UV-protective hair products, deep-conditioning treatments, and minimising heat styling to keep your hair healthy and vibrant during the summer months.

Can I spray sun cream directly onto my hair?

Using your fingers, apply a small amount of sun cream to your scalp and gently rub it in. Too much sun cream can make your hair look greasy, so start with a small amount, and build up gradually if needed.