Skip to main contentSkip to footer

How the UK heatwave is affecting your hair - and the best products to tackle it

Find out how to protect your hair in the sun

holly willoughby holiday
Fiona Ward
Acting Fashion and Beauty Editor
Updated: August 7, 2020
Share this:

The UK has certainly been experiencing some much-appreciated warmer weather, reaching peak heatwave at 36 degrees in London on Friday! And while many of us will be spending our time wondering whether we should invest in air conditioning and slathering on the factor 50, some may have forgotten that there's another key thing we need to protect from the sun – our hair. In fact, during the summer we put our hair under much more stress than the rest of the year, with everything from UV damage to humidity. Oh, man.

Image: @hollywilloughby Instagram

We chatted to Atoshi George, senior scientific advisor for L'Oréal Professionnel, who told us all about why heatwave-hair is not a good look. And sadly, its those of us who love our colour treatments that are worst affected. "Heat and humidity actually cause the hair fibres to swell which makes it more prone to damage and also as a result makes it easier for the hair colour molecules to wash out of the hair," she says.

MORE: How to treat sunburn this summer: best tips and tricks

WATCH: Gorgeous golden-haired royals

"On top of that, the drier and more damaged your hair, the quicker the fade! As colouring your hair means that special pigments sit under the surface of your hair to reflect the colour of your choice, when the hair is damaged it is more porous and it’s easier for these molecules to leach out, as well as being more prone to free radical and UV damage," she adds.

MORE: The £5 suncream Meghan Markle loves to use on son Archie

And while the sunshine makes our skin colour darker (typically, anyway), UV exposure actually does the opposite to the hair. "UV rays darken the skin as it is a living organ, inducing more melanin production," she says. "But in hair it has the opposite effect - as the UV and free radical damage degrades natural melanin in the hair and also has even more of an effect on some colours. This is why we often find in the summer months coloured hair may fade faster or lose its shine - or even shift from its original beautiful colour to something quite different. Think bleached hair and chlorine!"

loreal solar spray

L'Oreal Professional Solar Sublime Advanced Conditioning Spray, £16.90, Amazon


So, it's coloured hair that's most at risk to this pesky heatwave. Atoshi recommends the L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Solar Sublime range, which protects the outer surface of the hair to help it maintain its colour. Nifty. Check out some of our other favourite hair heroes below, too, and excuse us while we stick on a hat - or a gorgeous silk hair wrap...

silke hair wrap

Silke London protective hair wrap, £50, Cult Beauty

dr paw paw

Dr. PAWPAW It Does It All 7 in 1 Hair Treatment Styler, £9.99, Look Fantastic

davines hair milk

Davines SU hair milk, £8.50, Liberty


Kérastase Soleil Huile Sirene Treatment, £21.05, Look Fantastic


HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.

More Hair

See more