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Can Your Hair Get Sunburnt? Summer Haircare Tips

Summer means sunshine! And very often we only think about our skin when it comes to the sun and the damage it can cause. But can the sun harm our hair? The answer is yes! Although your hair can’t technically get sunburnt like your skin can, UVA and UVB rays can indeed damage your hair from its cuticle to its inner structure.

So this summer I’ll be collaborating with Pantene to bring you all the essential info you need to know about keeping your locks looking healthy, shiny and fresh. Here come your top summer haircare tips.

Cover up!

The same basic principle with skincare applies here: if you don’t want to sun damage your hair, cover it up. When you’re out in the sun wear a hat or head scarf and keep your head covered. This also protects your hair from the wind and helps your scalp retain moisture. This is especially important for those of us who have colour-treated hair.

As Dr John Gray from Pantene explains, “UV combined with minerals deposited in the hair from water induces more damaging reactive oxygen species. This is even more pronounced when the hair has been chemically treated.” So basically, swimming and tanning isn’t exactly the best idea for our hair!

Another trick to not exposing your scalp if you don’t have a hat or scarf is to tie your hair into a ponytail with no partings – that way you can prevent sunburn on your head which can lead to dry scalp and dandruff. This is a great tip for those who also workout in the sun.

If you tie your hair up, make sure it’s in a loose style.

When it’s hot and we’re in the sun our hair tends to lack moisture and become dry. If you use tight elastics or braid your hair into tight french plaits your hair WILL break. Try and keep your hair loose or in a messy, loose braid to avoid unnecessary breakage.

Treat your hair at night.

Just as you’d have a facial for your skin give your hair a facial in the form of a hair mask. I recommend using Pantene’s Pro-V Deep Repair Mask and sleep with it in your hair overnight. When I use it makes me feel like a new person in the morning and I guarantee you’ll feel the same! Using treatment products religiously through the summer will prevent sun abuse, which causes dull colour and dry, brittle hair. Dr Gray recommends a deep conditioner/masque at least once a week to help reduce mechanical damage particularly for women with vulnerable hair.

Take in extra omega oils.

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil capsules can also benefit your hair, making it shinier and stronger. Omega-3s are a healthy fat, helping to reduce skin dryness that can lead to dandruff or an itchy scalp. It won’t harm taking in some extra capsules during the summer season to help your hair in the health department.

Other foods rich in omega-3 are salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, tuna, anchovies and egg yolks. Get them in!

Don’t wash your hair too often.

Too much shampoo can dry up your scalp and hair even more. If you tend to sweat more on the scalp and if your hair gets greasy and sweaty easily, go for a mild shampoo that is especially good for summers. I like using the Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Shampoo.

Shampoo only on the scalp, not the hair, and as you wash your hair, the suds will rinse down, cleaning up your hair too. Putting shampoo separately on your hair and hair tips will dry them out.

Keep hydrated.

Unfortunately, I’m not talking about G&T’s here…Drink lots and lots (and LOTS) of water! If you’re not drinking enough water none of the above will mean anything. You hydrate your hair from the inside out and not just from the outside in. If you’re wondering whether 8 glasses of water a day are enough or not, click here.

Co-wash your hair.

Co-washing is short for conditioner washing. Every now and then it’s not the end of the world if you don’t use shampoo. It means skipping shampoo and relying solely on conditioner, whether you’re a daily or a weekly washer. The result is something between squeaky-clean and second-day hair – that is, smoother, softer, and easier to manage.

Dr Gray does advise that regular, daily conditioning, particularly for vulnerable hair (processed, curly or very fine), is an essential. I’ve been using the Pantene Pro-V Moisture Renewal Revitalising Conditioner and can highly recommend it.

When it comes to swimming, conditioner is key.

Dr Gray advises that another important aspect of hair care in summer is to reduce the damaging effects of sun and chlorine. Conditioning hair BEFORE swimming in the pool or the sea is critical. So make sure your hair is prepped for the beach or pool and keep it protected.

Follow Pantene South Africa on Facebook here and Pantene International on Instagram there. You can also find me on Instagram here.


Makeup: Morag Steyn
Hair Styling: Tiffany at JK Ginger
Hair Colourist: Jenna at JK Ginger
Styling: Sarah Mitchell with Parooz Fashions and Elizabeth Summer Accessories
Photography: Reflection 9

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