Hair Health

How to Prevent & Revive Sun-Damaged Hair

In this Article

Did you know that just like your skin, your hair can suffer from sun damage too? While the natural glow and highlights the sun offers are often desirable, UV rays can weaken your hair cuticle and compromise keratin, the essential protein that keeps hair strong and soft. 

But fear not! This comprehensive guide will help you recognize, address, and avoid sun damaged hair whether you’re going for a quick walk or spending a day at the beach. Let’s dive in and explore the numerous ways to keep your hair healthy and vibrant, no matter the forecast.

What does sun damaged hair look like? 

Understanding the signs and symptoms of sun damaged hair is the first step toward restoring it to health. The symptoms often resemble other types of hair damage — like those caused by heat styling, bleach, or even friction — making it somewhat challenging to identify. However, there are specific signs you can be aware of, such as:

  • Frizziness and breakage: One of the initial signs of hair damaged by the sun is an increase in frizz and a tendency for the hair to break more easily. If your hair has become more unpredictable and delicate, it could be a sign that the sun has taken its toll.
  • Changes in texture and appearance: Sun damage can bring about substantial transformations in your hair. The strands might start to feel rough and brittle. Other indicators may include the presence of split ends and dryness that was previously absent. On a visual level, your hair may lose its radiant hue, appearing dull and lacking its customary shine.
  • Quick drying time: Another tell-tale sign of sun-induced hair damage is a decrease in the time it takes for your hair to dry post-wash. This change might indicate that your hair has become highly porous — a state in which your hair strands contain numerous tiny openings in the outer layer or cuticle. Hair with high porosity can absorb and release moisture rapidly, making it more susceptible to the harsh effects of the sun.

Close up of sun damaged hair

How to fix sun damaged hair

Dealing with sun damage can be frustrating, but incorporating several effective strategies can help revive and rejuvenate your hair. Here’s how you can help your hair recover:

1. Restore moisture to your hair.

Hydration is crucial for reviving sun-damaged hair. By avoiding overwashing and using the right products and sun damaged hair treatments, you can repair, strengthen, and protect your hair from future damage. Here are some practical suggestions:

  • Opt for moisturizing shampoos and restorative conditioners that offer hydration and vitality to your hair.
  • Incorporate reparative hair products into your routine, such as Living Proof’s Triple Bond ComplexRestore Repair Leave-In, and Healthy Hair Perfector. These products are specially designed to repair and protect.
  • Implement a routine of using nutrient-dense hair masks, which can provide much-needed nourishment and serve as a preventative measure against further damage.

2. Visit the salon.

A professional touch can provide considerable relief from sun damage. Here’s how a salon visit can help:

  • Regular trims can help get rid of split ends. If you’re on a quest for longer hair, a micro trim might be a viable alternative.
  • Avoid treatments that lighten your hair color, as these can compound the effects of sun damage.
  • A salon-grade hair gloss treatment can restore shine, smooth your hair, and seal the ends.

3. Take a break from heat styling.

High heat can add to the stress your hair is already experiencing. If possible, allow your hair some rest from hot styling tools. Keep in mind:

  • Iron curlers and flat irons can weaken your hair’s outer layer and leave it more susceptible to UV rays.
  • If heat styling is necessary, apply a heat protectant for an extra layer of defense.

4. Prioritize scalp health.

A healthy scalp means healthier hair. Maintaining good scalp health can help your hair grow stronger and more resilient. Here are a few ways to ensure a healthy scalp:

  • Regular scalp massages can increase blood flow and expedite the repair process. A gentle massage during shampooing, using circular motions, can work wonders.
  • Be careful during your massage not to disturb the roots of your hair.
  • Consider detoxifying and rebalancing your scalp with Living Proof’s Clarifying Detox Shampoo and Dry Scalp Treatment. Nourishing oils can also be a valuable addition to your haircare regimen.

5. Brush with a wide-tooth comb.

This simple, often overlooked tool can be a game-changer in preventing hair breakage.

  • Wide-tooth combs are adept at removing tangles without putting undue stress on your hair.
  • Remember to brush gently and avoid over-brushing to maintain hair health.

6 tips to prevent sun damaged hair

A proactive haircare approach is the best line of defense against sun damage. Here are some key measures to ensure your hair stays protected and vibrant:

1. Apply UV protection.

While you may not need to put sunscreen directly on your hair, UV protection is crucial.

RELATED: Learn more about protecting your hair from sun damage >>

2. Lay off the heat.

Too much heat — both from the sun and hair tools — can make your hair more prone to damage.

  • Try air-drying your hair (at least partially) more often.
  • Embrace your natural hair texture.
  • Experiment with heat-free styles such as braids and buns.
  • For those occasions when heat exposure is inevitable, be sure to use Living Proof’s heat protectants.

3. Minimize exposure to direct sunlight.

Reducing the time your hair spends under the direct glare of the sun can go a long way in preventing UV damage.

  • Consider fashionable hats as a trendy, functional accessory to shield your hair.
  • When lounging poolside or at the beach, an umbrella can provide a welcome respite for your hair.

Woman lying on the beach reading a book wearing a sunhat

4. Find the right shower regimen.

The shower isn’t just a place to get clean—it’s a crucial point of defense against sun-damaged hair.

  • Washing your hair too frequently can strip away the essential oils that naturally shield your hair from the sun’s harmful rays. Moderation is key.
  • While a steaming hot shower can be a treat after a long day, it’s not the best option for your hair. Opt for lukewarm water and cap off your shower with a quick cool rinse to seal the hair cuticles. This enhances your hair’s protective barrier against potential sun damage.
  • Dry shampoos aren’t just convenient—they’re a secret weapon in maintaining your hair’s natural moisture, providing a buffer against the sun’s drying effects.
  • If you’ve been swimming in chlorinated water, ensure a thorough rinse afterward. Chlorine can exacerbate sun damage, so it’s essential to remove any residue.

5. Avoid harmful products.

Not every product that promises hair health lives up to the hype. Making smart choices here is essential for maintaining sun-resilient hair.

  • Choose shampoos and conditioners suited to your hair type. These are designed to provide the right balance of nutrients and protection your hair needs.
  • Beware of sulfates and parabens. While common in many hair care products, these can strip your hair of natural oils, leaving it more susceptible to sun damage.
  • Living Proof offers a range of beneficial products, Restore Repair Leave-In, specially designed to nourish and stop the cycle of UV damage to your hair.

6. Try a silk pillowcase.

Something as simple as changing your pillowcase can be a major step forward in the battle against sun-damaged hair.

  • Switching to a silk pillowcase can make a real difference. Silk reduces friction, which, in turn, decreases breakage and helps your hair retain natural oils key in defending against sun damage.

Sun-damaged hair: final thoughts.

Understanding the effects of sun damage is the first step towards maintaining a healthy and vibrant head of hair all year round. It’s clear that without proper care and protection, the sun can leave your hair feeling dry, brittle, and looking dull.

Living Proof offers a range of products designed to repair, protect, and nourish your hair. From hydrating shampoos and restorative conditioners to UV protective sprays, Living Proof ensures you’re equipped to handle the sun’s effects.

Your hair is unique, and understanding its specific needs can help you provide the best care possible. Ready to find the right products? Take the Living Proof Hair Quiz and discover your personalized haircare routine.

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Living Proof Review Team

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