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The best sun protection for hair: 13 hair SPFs to protect your scalp

Your scalp needs protecting and so does your hair...

Frazzled, sun-scorched holiday hair should be a thing of the past thanks to the new wave of sun protection products for your hair. Not bought a hair sunscreen yet? We've got the best edit to protect your hair, stop your colour fading and turn it from straw-like to silky.

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Wondering what hair sunscreen is? It does exactly what it says on the tin – protects your hair from UV rays. As tempted as you might be to just slather your skin and body SPF on your hair, hold off – you need an SPF specifically designed to protect those strands.

Why does your hair need sun protection?

Just like your skin, hair can be damaged by the sun’s rays too.

“When UV rays penetrate the hair’s outer cuticle, they create highly reactive free radicals which damage the melanin pigment causing colour changes, and attack the protein structure of the hair, leading to thinning, breakage, and split ends,” explains leading hair stylist Michael Van Clarke.

Apply in the morning like you would your usual SPF, and reapply throughout the day, especially after swimming.

Best ways to protect your hair in the sun

As well as applying an SPF to the hair, Michael Van Clarke suggests covering your hair where possible, especially in direct sunlight – think a chic, patterned scarf or cute bucket hat.

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He also suggests packing a deep conditioning treatment to treat your hair post-swim and sun. “Replenish your hair daily with regular treatments. Holidays are an ideal time to treat your hair to the full deep conditioning treatment, like leave-in conditioners or pre-shampoo boosters.”

Best sun protection for hair

Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil, £24, FeelUnique

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Aveda’s lightweight, the water-resistant formula creates a UV defense mist on your hair for up to 16 hours.

Calypso Sun-Sea UV Hair Protection, £3.59, Amazon

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Packed with argan oil, apply this cream to hair and comb throughout before your sunny swim session.

NUXE Sun Moisturising Protective Milky Oil For Hair, £16, FeelUnique

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One spritz and this soft, milky oil help to protect hair from UVA/UVB rays, salt, and chlorine - it smells delicious too.

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Lifesaver UV, £24.50, Michael Van Clarke

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This 3-in-1 moisturising treatment protects the hair from UV while strengthening, reducing splitting, and smoothing hair too.

Malibu SPF 50 Scalp & Hair Protector, £9.47, Amazon

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A great oil for protecting not just your hair, but your scalp too.

Lee Stafford Coco Loco Holiday Hair Hero, £4.99, Boots 

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This purse-friendly option defends hair not just from the sun, but from chlorine and sea salt too.

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Beauty Works AfterSun UV Spray, £13, Beauty Works

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A handy spray for taking on the go, apply to hair to hydrate as well as protect against damaging UV rays.

Evy Technology UV Heat Hair Mousse, £25, Cult Beauty

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This UV Heat/Hair Mousse uses UV filters and is packed with vitamins and oils to soak hair with moisture.

Revolution Haircare SPF 30 Scalp Protect Spray, £7, Beauty Bay

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This is THE one if you’re worried about protecting your scalp. Spray over the scalp and onto your hair for UV protection. We love the coconut scent. Dreamy.

Soleil Crème UV Sublime, £29.05, Kerastase 

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A super-rich leave-in cream designed to protect hair against dryness and sun, and is full to the brim with Vitamin E to nourish sun-drenched locks.

Rahua Hydration Detangler UV Barrier, £12, LOOKFANTASTIC 

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Available in a handy 60ml travel size, Rahua’s luxe spritz coats your hair with a weightless shield to ward off harmful UV rays, as well as environmental aggressors.

 

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