We are all well aware of the harmful and long-term effects that the sun plays on our skin, yet we rarely, if not, ever, think about how to protect our hair and scalp when the temperature rises. SPF for hair has been late to the party. Until now, wearing a hat and staying in the shade were our only choices of hair protection.
But why do we need sunscreen for hair? According to world-renowned hair stylist, Michael Van Clarke, “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,” which is why we often return from holiday in desperate need of a hair cut and colour.
Whether you air dry, or blow dry your hair daily, a UV heat protective spray should definitely be in your haircare arsenal – especially when heading on holiday. Here’s our roundup of the best hair and scalp protectors to sun-proof your hair and keep it in tip-top condition…
Australians know how to do suncare, which is why this cult favourite suncare brand has recently launched into haircare, bringing a top of the range dual-phase sun protector that creates a sun shield for your hair while also conditioning and speeding up hair drying too.
Lightweight but moisturising, this daily sun shield contains hydrating shea butter and coconut oil, protective antioxidants, and naturally derived UVA and UVB inhibitors to keep hair protected (for up to 16 hours!) and perfectly conditioned with the lingering smell of a tropical spa. Top Tip: For knotted end of day tresses, this works great as a detangler too.
If you like to frolic in the sea water and the pool and then back again for days on end, the chlorine and salt will soon take its toll on your hair. Your tresses will feel and look like straw, your colour will fade or may even change, and your hair will be crying out for nourishment, but a daily (or even twice daily) application of this wonder cream will erase all of the above and leave both your hair and scalp protected – and smelling divine too.
This is everything you expect from a luxe brand and more. This hair-specific sunscreen is quite simply what it says it is, suncare for hair. It will protect, nourish, and hydrate with every spritz. Plus, the smell will transport you to the beach even if you’re on a city break. Just don’t forget to wash out at the end of the day to avoid product build-up.
The king of haircare knows a thing or two about protecting your tresses from harmful aggressors (read: sun, sea, chlorine) so it’s no surprise that the aptly named Swimcap, (which was originally designed for Olympic swimmers) is one of the best for preventing a multitude of hair-ravaging factors. And if you like a scraped-back hair look, this rich leave-in cream doubles up as a great styling product too. Win, win!
Not specifically designed as a UV protector but it has all the properties of one. This will detangle hair, restore shine, smoothe frizz while creating a heat/sun shield on hair. What more do you want?
This is definitely one to ‘unintentionally’ have on display next to your sun lounger. This super-luxe spray gives off a light mist without weighing hair down with product, making it a great choice for fine or thinning hair in need of even more protection. Super-moisturising, deeply-conditioning and gives hair a subtle shine on both straight and curly styles. Spritz throughout the day to get your money’s worth.
Does it get any posher than a designer hair spray? We think not. Yet label aside, this spray has earned a place on this list because of its nourishing ingredients, rich amino acid content and lightweight watery texture. Spritz into damp hair and top up on dry lengths. Expect to see this on full display with the Mykonos crowd!
This is basically aftersun for your hair. Packed with protectors, moisturises and all the goodness your hair needs after a day at the beach. A blob of this cream run through your hair from root to tip will ensure your hair doesn’t suffer if you prefer to forgo your Panama for sun-kissed locks.
This two-in-one formula is a true space saver. Spritz this from your face to your body and all over your hair for no-nonsense head-to-toe SPF protection. Don’t be put off by the oil texture, it’s grease-free and gives skin and hair a gorgeous sheen rather than a slippery look.
This is multi-tasking at its very best. Protecting, styling, frizz-fighting, curl-supporting, a complete game-changer for summer hair in need of some TLC and sooo much more. Don’t even bother to pack your usual styling products, this does it all. Just a teaspoon of this cream run through damp hair will give you the finish you want. Once you’ve tried this, you’ll quickly understand why it’s been named the Lifesaver!
Without doubt, this is the star of the Beach range, designed to care and protect your hair in sunny climes. This light cream, dubbed the swim cap, creates a barrier to protect against all the usual holiday aggressors. Packed with coconut and olive oil, you can be sure your hair will feel conditioned and smell divine too.
The products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however, The Handbook may make a small commission on some products purchased through affiliate links.