Summer is well and truly here and many of us will be heading to the sun over the coming weeks.
While we all know the dangers of exposing our skin to UV rays, our hair is often forgotten about.
We may think that sun kissed hair is a sign of hair health but in actuality, sunny climates can damage our tresses and leave them in poor condition.
This is why caring for your hair in the sun is vital and packing the right products is essential.
And to help with holiday hair protection, we asked hair expert Nicole Petty at Milk + Blush to share her must-haves to care for your locks in the sun.
‘A common myth surrounding hats is that they’re only necessary for people to wear in the sun if they have little to no hair as they protect the scalp from sun damage, but that is wrong,’ explains Nicole.
‘While hats provide extra cover for the scalp against strong UV rays, they protect the hair from sun exposure, too.
‘When exposed to too much sunlight, the UVA and UVB rays can strip moisture from the hair and damage the hair’s protein and cuticle, resulting in dry/brittle ends, frizziness, split ends, discolouration or even thinning.
‘Plus, if you get your hair coloured, wearing a hat is your best bet in locking in your hairdresser’s hard work for longer, as the sun will lighten the colour of the hair by stripping its melanin.
‘So, grab a hat and make sure it covers your head properly. It’s still possible to get one that is a great fashion accessory and sun protector.’
‘Wearing a hat may seem like a sensible solution, but it’s not the only thing you can do to protect your hair from sun damage,’ says Nicole.
‘There are several sun protection products that you can use on your hair and scalp to protect it.
‘Look for water-resistant UV protection sprays, heat oils/primers, or mineral parting powders that will lock in moisture and colour while protecting your hair from the heat and elements.
‘And if you’re more for natural remedies, look out for products with ingredients such as coconut oil (SPF of just over 7), Karanja seed oil (SPF of 20), and shea oil (good for scalp and hair health) or plum oil (an antioxidant superhero).’
No-fuss accessories and tools
‘Take your look from day to night with simple accessories that won’t weigh down your case but can help you create some killer looks while you’re away,’ advises Nicole.
‘Packing a selection of hair grips and bands will allow you to put your hair up in a range of different styles, while a headscarf is the ultimate fuss-free accessory you can wear any time of day that will cover your hair but leave you looking sophisticated and fashion-forward.
‘Plus, velcro rollers and vent brushes will give your hair extra volume without needing heat tools that can cause additional damage to your hair.’
Multifunctional styling products
‘When you go on holiday abroad, one of the biggest stresses is abiding by the airline’s baggage weight allowance,’ says Nicole. ‘That’s why packing a few products that fulfil multiple hair needs is essential.
‘For example, a texturising spray adds extra volume to your locks, absorbs oil and gives your hair grip for braids or updos. Similarly, a hair oil adds hydration to dry ends, can act as a barrier to chlorine, gives hair shine and can be used to smooth any flyways before styling.
‘And if you are still short of space in your bag, then don’t worry. Airport beauty shops are stocked with hair products for when you’ve gone through security, or see what products are up for grabs in local shops where you’re going. You never know – you might find a hidden gem.’
Deep conditioning treatment
‘After a long day in the sun, exposing your hair to UV rays, chlorine or salt water, you’ll want to give your hair and scalp extra nourishment with an overnight deep conditioning treatment,’ Nicole notes.
‘Chlorine and sea salt can be extremely damaging to your hair. Chlorine bonds to your hair and strips away the natural oils in the hair, leaving it feeling dry and damaged over time, while the salt in seawater has similar drying effects on the hair’s cuticle, too.
‘Leave-in conditioners can act as a shield if you apply them to your hair before swimming and replenish and lock in any lost moisture.
‘Lightweight conditioners are best for fine hair, whereas conditioners with a lotion-like texture are best for curly hair and heavier treatments if your hair is thicker.’
ASOS Design natural straw boater
Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer
Superdrug velcro rollers
Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast
Sheamoisture Intensive Hydration Hair Mask