With the UK heatwave out in full force and set to continue through August, it’s never been more vital to defend against the sun’s damaging rays. But are you forgetting something? Your hair and scalp need protecting too – and the majority of us just aren’t doing it.
Sun damage can wreak havoc on your locks, especially if your hair is naturally fine or light in colour, or if you use bleach, dye or heat styling tools frequently. That’s because UV exposure can break down hair proteins, leading to weak, brittle strands (hello, split ends and breakage), and speeding up colour fade, causing hair to feel dry and look dull.
As for your scalp, the skin here can burn just like the rest of your body – and if you’re only protecting it by wearing a hat on holiday, you may want to reconsider. Your scalp can develop skin cancer too: in fact, basal cell carcinoma (the most common type of skin cancer) is most frequently found on the scalp, along with the neck, back, face, hands and arms – essentially, the places most exposed to the sun in our day-to-day lives.
While SPFs designed for the face and body was once our only option – cue a whole lot of mess and seriously greasy-looking roots – there are now some seriously good formulas designed especially with the hair and scalp in mind.
For SPF and UVA/UVB protection on a budget, you can’t go wrong with Malibu’s Scalp Protector SPF30. A team SL favourite, the invisible formula genuinely leaves no trace and dries in seconds – plus, it’s water-resistant, so it’s ideal for poolside days. Or, for added beauty benefits, Clarins’ Sun Care Oil Spray SPF30 helps soften hair and soothe skin with a blend of nourishing (yet non-greasy) oils and aloe vera.
UV protection hair sprays, on the other hand, don’t protect your scalp from the sun – but adding one to your daily hair care routine could seriously improve the condition of your locks. If you’re prone to dryness or damage (bleach blondes and highlight fans, we’re looking at you), it’s well worth investing.
Described as an everyday version of the brand’s cult Elasticizer, Philip Kingsley’s Daily Damage Defence is a year-round hero – conditioning hair, aiding post-shower detangling and reducing breakage, along with providing protection from heat, environmental stressors and UV rays. And, although not a spray, Sachajuan’s Hair In The Sun most definitely deserves a mention: a rejuvenating mask-cum-UV filter-cum styling product, it’s the multitasker we’ll be taking on holiday.
Shop SL’s edit of the best protective products for hair & scalp below…
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