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Like it or not we’re all creatures of habit (actually, we secretly love this about ourselves and find it really quite satisfying, but shh!). We don't know about you but when our routine is thrown off balance it leaves us in a right tizz.
So predictably, slathering on sun cream as soon as temperatures rise has become as second nature as putting the rosé on ice and lighting up a BBQ. Come summer, most of us feel naked leaving the house with out it. Constant warnings of skin cancer and sun spots have commanded our attention for decades, leaving us scrambling to get our hands on the highest SPFs. But what about hair protection?
'We all know how important it is to wear sun screen on our face and bodies but a common mistake is to forget to protect the hair and scalp,' says Philip Kingsley, World Leading Trichologist. Straggly ends, moisture loss and faded colour are familiar symptoms of post-holiday hair, but, like skin damage, this can be prevented.
Exposure to UV rays damages the hair as much as it does the skin. The reason hair feels particularly dry over the summer months is because UV rays burn the inside and outside layer of the hair follicle, resulting in brittle and lifeless ends. So like unprotected skin, hair gets sun burnt. Arming you with all the tools your need for your summer holidays, we’ve rounded up our top beauty buys with built in UV protection. Soon protecting your hair will feel as natural as protecting your skin.
'Sun exposure can cause the scalp to become sensitive,' says Kingsley. But sun cream to the scalp sticks to hair leaving it lank and greasy. Targeting this need, Solait Scalp and Hair Protector SPF30, £6.99, or Redken’s Colour Extend Sun Take Cover SPF25, £16.85, shield without the stickiness. Apply over damp hair by working the product from the scalp through the layers. Both are really lightweight and replenish any depleted moisture whilst protecting. Like sun cream, re-apply regularly throughout the day, particularly after swimming.
UVA rays are responsible for colour changes – both for dyed and natural hair. Start by washing with Mark Hill Sunshine Shampoo and Conditioner, both £1.99. This prevents UV rays fading hair by locking in the colour. For over processed hair that needs more help, spritz L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Expert Advanced Protection Conditioning Spray, £12.90, throughout the day. It forms a protective film around the hair fibre to safeguard colour and radiance.
When hair is exposed to water, the negative effects of free radicals are amplified. The hair shaft is considerably weaker when wet and so more susceptible to UV rays. Throw in the drying effects of sea salt and chlorine, it’s no wonder split ends and breakages are at their peak. Philip Kingsley’s Swimcap, £10.50, guards against chlorine and salt water by drawing moisture into the hair. Always apply to damp hair and comb it through to ensure every strand is evenly protected. Re-apply after swimming.
Even with UV protection, hair will still be drier than normal after a day in the sun. We recommend overnight masks to boost hydration levels and feed the hair back to its healthy best. Schwarzkopf BC Sun Protect Treatment, £13.25, smoothes sun-exposed hair and prevents breakages whilst the L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert After-Sun Nourishing Balm, £12.90, recovers softness. Leave hair masks on overnight for deep conditioning, but for particularly fine hair rinse after 5-10 minutes.
For sensitive scalps try Kerastase Sensidote Derma-Calm Serum Absolu, £20, which immediately soothes and calms sensitive scalps. Apply a couple of drops to wet hair, directly over the parting. Massage in with your fingers and leave to works its magic.