You’d never put oil on your face or body before hitting the beach (well you might, but we wouldn’t recommend it), so why would you put it on your hair? Elizabeth Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic, says, “Castor oil, olive oil, and elastin hydrate the hair, creating a protective barrier.” Why do you need a protective barrier? Because while your hair might not react as immediately as your skin--you won’t come home with red, itching, sunburnt locks--cumulative exposure to the sun (not to mention salt water and chlorine), will cause long-term damage, drying, breaking, and fading the hair. And don’t forget about your scalp! “Saturate a Q-tip with the sunscreen used for your face and apply it to your part line,” reminds Philips before signing off: “consider wearing a hat!”
Redken UV Rescue Protective Oil ($15)
Redken’s C2 Solar Complex fights UV damage, dryness, and discoloration. There’s vitamin C in there to help repair already damaged hair, too.
Ouidad Sun Shield Sun & Sport Leave-In Conditioner ($21)
On top of UV protection, Ouidad’s Sun Shield defends against wind, salt, and chlorine, locking in moisture for maximum shine.
Goldwell Outdoor & Sun Hair and Scalp Protection ($17)
This lightweight cream spray protects your head from the sun (and chlorine and salt) from scalp to ends.
Alterna Summer Sun Recovery Spray ($20)
If you forget to spray your hair pre-sun exposure, douse it with Alterna’s Sun Recovery spray. It’s full of avocado, sunflower, and hemp extracts (and scented with mango and coconut oil) to restore moisture to your hair.
Philip Kingsley Swimcap ($32)
The US Olympic Synchronized Swimming team asked trichologist Philip Kingsley to develop a product that would protect their hair from consistent exposure to chlorine and the sun. He whipped up Swimcap, a deep-conditioning cream that also defends against salt water and discoloration.
Rene Furterer Protective Summer Fluid KPF 90 ($23)
Sesame oil, a natural UV filter, is at the core of this leave-in formula that blocks 90% of UV rays. KPF stands for Keratin Protection Factor, so if your hair is chemically treated, grab this one.
L’Occitane Aromachologie Radiance and Color Care Mask ($32)
Though it’s made to rejuvenate color-treated hair--and the grapeseed extract and essential oils will do that--this mask also coats your hair in UV filters to protect against sun exposure.
Bumble and bumble UV Protective Styling Balm ($28)
If you want to style your hair before heading out in the sun, try Bumble’s Protective Polish.
Davines Sun Protective Moisturizing Cream ($28)
Wheat protein creates a protective film on top of the hair while vitamin E prevents aging due to UV rays. It also has UVA and UVB filters for added protection.
Leonor Greyl Huile de Palme ($52)
We’ve waxed poetic over this oil’s restorative powers before, but it’s also a strong defender against the sun, saltwater, and chlorine. Comb in through your mid-lengths and ends before heading out into the sun.