Sun protection is important for skin, but why is it vital for hair too?
If hair is damaged by the sun, it loses protein and turns dry and brittle. UV rays can also cause hair colour – natural or dyed – to fade, says Dr Georgia Lee, medical director of the TLC Lifestyle Practice Clinic.
How can we protect our hair then?
Besides using haircare with sun protection benefits, Dr Lee recommends wearing a hat whenever possible and using a moisturising hair conditioner.
But do not use sunscreen meant for the face or body on your hair. According to Dr Lee, the creamy texture of those formulas will clog hair follicles, which can in turn cause hair fall and scalp irritation, or result in an oily scalp.
And as haircare products with SPF are usually not water-resistant, touch-ups are required before and after you have done some sports.
How do you shop for haircare?
Dr Eileen Tan, founder of and dermatologist at Eileen Tan Skin, Laser & Hair Transplant Clinic, recommends haircare products with SPF15 or more. But not all of them have SPF indicators like skincare products do (not yet, at least), says John Goh, research and development deploy manager for Home & Personal Care at Unilever. So look for products with UV blockers or filters (typically made of chemical compounds) – just check the packaging – like Dove Intense Repair All Day Repair Cream.
Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil, $50.
This fuss-free spray reportedly offers sun protection for up to 16 hours – no touch-ups needed, unless you’re going for a swim. This is great for freshly dyed hair as it minimises colour fading, damage and dryness.
Alterna Caviar Anti-aging Photoage Defense, $63.
Think of this creamy treatment as a sun shield for your hair. It’s said to deflect UV rays and prevent sun damage. Ideal for dehydrated hair, the cream locks in moisture and boosts shine instantly.
Dove Intense Repair All Day Repair Cream, $7.05.
This leave-on cream is more like a watery lotion. It has a UV blocker to shield hair from sun rays, and also detangles and lightly scents hair. A big bonus: It reportedly repairs existing hair damage, and prevents split ends and hair breakage.
DrGL Sun Protection Mist SPF29/PA++ (Hair/Face/ Body), $88.
A spray of this fine, quickdrying mist is all it takes to protect and lightly condition hair. This can also be used on the face and body.
L’Oreal Paris Extraordinary Oil, $26.90.
This reformulation has UV filters to prevent hair colour from fading. It’s also lighter in texture compared to the previous version, so it tames flyaway strands and leaves hair looking glossy without weighing it down.
Shiseido Professional The Hair Care Luminogenic Protector, $42.
If your hair colour is looking dull, give it a boost with this lightweight oil. Besides protecting hair from UV rays, it moisturises and softens strands.
Photos: Winston Chuang
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This story was first published in HerWorld Magazine June 2014.