Hair expert reveals how to protect your locks from sun damage and harmful UV rays

31 July 2020, 12:23 | Updated: 31 July 2020, 12:24

UV protection for your hair should be on your staycation or holiday packing list
UV protection for your hair should be on your staycation or holiday packing list. Picture: Getty

Reaching for the SPF has become second nature when the sun's out, but did you know our hair also needs a bit of help when it gets hot outside?

With temperatures set to soar, parks, gardens and beaches are about to get very busy - but will you be packing SPF for your hair as well as your skin?

Leading wellness expert Simone Thomas says that it's crucial that we pay the same attention to our locks as we do our skin, and that while we might all love getting natural sun kissed streaks, our hair really doesn't.

She told Heart: "If your hair could talk it would be screaming at you.

"Sun exposure means dehydration, which makes the skin less silky and the hair more fragile and more opaque.

"After exposure to the sun, it is important to hydrate your skin and hair, not only from the outside but also internally. You can use specific aftersun products for hair and skin, and drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water and integrate vitamins and mineral salts with fruit and vegetables to help hydration from within.

"The sun is at its hottest from 12pm - 4pm, so try to stay out of the sun during this time, or if you are out and about, wearing a T-shirt to protect your shoulders, and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, scalp and hair."

But as with most things, prevention is better than cure. Simone shares her top tips to keep your mane healthy and happy in the sun, sea or pool - including swimming while wearing a deep conditioning treatment on your hair.

Read more: Famous make-up artist reveals we've been doing our eyebrows wrong for years

Even if you're just out and about, think about protecting your hair
Even if you're just out and about, think about protecting your hair. Picture: Getty

Don't neglect your hair and scalp

"It is important to protect your scalp form the sun as I have seen over the years a number of melanomas on the scalp which are hard to detect.

"Melanoma is aggressive form of cancer which can spread into your blood vessels and lymph nodes as well as into other parts of the body. Never neglect your scalp even on a sunny winter’s day. 

"When you are on holiday, or a long walk on a hot summer day there are a number of things you should do to protect your hair and scalp. From baseball caps, to silk scarfs, panama hats and for me a good cowgirl hat, the choices are endless."

Collagen is not just for skin

"Collagen not only boosts your skin, but it also protects your hair. Collagen slows down as we get older and outside factors such as the sun, alcohol, and diet can accelerate the breakdown of collagen within our bodies.

"All of this will have an effect on the structure, feel and texture of our hair, skin, and nails. 

"Back in 2014 researchers had discovered that by eating particular fruits and vegetables daily, such as spirulina, spinach, kale, seaweed, etc can help your skin build up a natural barrier to the sun's harmful rays. This summer eat your rainbow with vegetables and fruits plenty of greens, oranges and purple foods to protect your skin and hair from the sun."

Be prepared

"Many of us spend time and money investing into lotions and potions for our skin but most of us neglect our scalp and hair, we should not as it is one feature we want to keep as long as we can and have our Crowning Glory even when we are 90 ~ I know I do. 

"My favourite product I always take away with me when I travel abroad is SU Range by Davines. - Always look for hair care and skin care products which have anti UV-A and UV-B filters. This prevents your hair from drying out and becoming damaged by sun’s rays."

Simone suggests swimming while wearing a hair mask for extra protection
Simone suggests swimming while wearing a hair mask for extra protection. Picture: Getty

Make a splash

"Swimming can strip your hair from its natural and protective oils so always wear your hair up if you can. I always wear a hair mask if I am swimming in a pool it makes it so much easier to comb through when I have finished, and I always use a wide tooth comb which also stops the hair from being pulled.

"Use a SPF hair and scalp spray, or a leave in hair mask or conditioner with SPF in."