With temperatures in the UK reaching over 40°C last month, it’s safe to say that we’re experiencing a long hot summer this year and while the importance of shielding your skin from the sun's scorching rays is often etched into our brains, you might not know that we also need to protect our hair from the sun in the same way.
But just how can we stop the sun damaging our hair? And what can happen to your hair if it gets too exposed? We've enlisted award-winning hair and scalp expert and experienced hairdresser Krysia West to answer our questions.
Can the sun damage your hair?
Just as too much exposure to the sun damages your skin, it can affect your hair in exactly the same way. "UVA and UVB rays damage the outside of the cuticle," explains Krysia.
How does the sun damage your hair?
The sun damages your hair in two ways: UVA rays bleach your hair - which Krysia says can leave it "colourless" regardless of whether your hair is natural or coloured - and UVB rays are responsible for breakage and split ends.
Krysia adds, "Sun damage causes your hair to becomes brittle and dry and you can end up with broken or split ends as well as bleached out colour."
No one wants dry, damaged or dull hair so it's VERY important to make sure you're protected.
Why do you need to protect your hair from the sun?
Of course, protecting your hair from the sun is important all year round (especially as you never know what weather you're going to get in the UK), but UVB rays are at their highest during summer which means your hair is more prone to damage.
"It’s important to protect the hair when you’re in the sun because the sun will absorb all the moisture in the hair, bleaching it and leaving it brittle and dry," says Krysia, "Like your skin care regime, it’s really important to have a haircare routine and to ensure that this accommodates being in the sun."
She warns that sun damage can be "irreversible" in extreme cases.
How can you protect your hair from the sun?
Krysia recommends incorporating haircare products that contain SPF or UV protection into your daily routine. She's a big fan of the Aveda Sun Care range, including the Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil and Aveda Sun Care After Sun Hair & Body Cleanser, as it protects against sun, salt and chlorine damage.
It's also important to maintain your hair with regular trims to remove dead or split ends. A balanced diet could also help protect your hair as Krysia explains, "Vitamin A, B, C and iron all help in lots of ways from containing cells to help healthy growth, promoting sebum to help moisturise your scalp and helps with the strength of your hair."
Are there any products you should be removing from your routine in a heatwave?
Krysia warns, "We don’t need any more damage from heat," so put down that hairdryer and those straighteners and give your locks a break.