By Alexa Santory
Yesterday we started our lessons on SPF and UV rays. We know how damaging they can be to our skin, so why doesn't anyone talk about how damaging that can be to our hair?? Protecting your skin from sun damage seems easy enough, just slap on some SPF and you're good to go, right? Protecting your hair from sun damage, though, well...that's a whole other set of rules. Let's get into it.
How do UV rays affect natural hair?
Overexposure to UV rays tends to suck the life out of natural hair. It damages the hair cuticle, which is the outer part of the strand, making it more prone to breakage. UV rays also dry out the hair like crazy!! They cause all of the oils and moisture in your hair to basically evaporate, leaving your hair brittle. It’s also prone to photobleaching, or the lightening of the hair just by sun exposure. Yeah, it can look cool to have lighter hair after a day of just sitting on the beach, but this has damaging effects on your hair’s texture.
How do I know if my hair is sun damaged?
Normally, sun damaged hair is very dry, brittle, discolored, thin, and frizzy. Similar to how your hair feels if it's damaged from using too many hot tools or overdying. Oh, and those chlorine pools we love so much in the summertime? They’re just adding insult to injury. Chlorine is extremely drying as it is, but factor in sun exposure, and you're on a fast track to broken hair. But worry not!! There are ways to reverse this damage that'll have your hair soft, shiny, and manageable all summer long.
Definitely check out this video on how to safely swim with natural hair.
How can I fix it?
Well, it's important to figure out what your hair needs. Sun damaged, and damaged hair in general, tend to have similar features. Figure out which matters are the most pressing and focus on those until your hair gets back to a state where it's more manageable. You don't have to do anything as drastic as cutting all your hair off (unless the damage is severe and basically irreversible or its just something you've been meaning to do), just trust the process and know that there are products (often natural ones) out there that can help you. Adding protein to your hair routine can help strengthen your strands. Ayurvedic proteins like henna are excellent for weak, brittle hair.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR HAIR FROM SUN DAMAGE
As far as protecting your strands, you can wear physical covers like hats or head wraps. If that's not your thing, there are shampoos and other hair products that contain SPF. Avoid products with alcohol, like certain hair gels, because they just dry out the hair even more. Also, moisturize!!! Heavily!!! Try the L.O.C. (Liquid Oil Cream) Method to help lock moisture in. Don't be afraid to keep your hair in protective styles. Installing box braids or twists or faux locs can help keep your natural hair directly out of the sun. Remember, buns and braids are your friends. One of our fave beauty girls, Amber Ansah, shows us how she keeps her natural hair moisturized using the Transitional Custom Hair Mask. Using this combined with your favorite store bought deep conditioner can keep your strands moisturized and healthy all summer long!
This video gives some more great ideas for protecting your hair from the sun!
Summer care involves all areas of the body--protection from the sun is important for not just the skin, but the hair as well. So have fun, let your hair down, but don't forget to take the extra steps to make sure your hair is healthy and safe.
The Streets Are Talking
This mask will keep your hair nourished and moisturized all summer long. Check out how Jeanette uses it!
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Ahh, this mask is heaven. Super hydrating and restoring, what more do you need?
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