It’s hard to resist the sun on beautiful summer days – nothing beats spending an afternoon pool-side with a cocktail in hand. But, those long days in the sun can take their toll … and not just on your skin, on your hair as well! Hair is composed of keratin fibre (the protein that protects cells from damage or stress), which makes up 65%-95% of our hair’s volume and long periods of excessive exposure to UVA/UVB rays can damage these keratin bonds, leaving the hair in a very vulnerable condition. So what’s a girl who wants some vitamin D and a tan to do? Tamrin Norris from One Beauty Brands (OBB), distributors of evo, Brazilian Blowout, and Unwash gives us the low-down on the effects of UVA/UVB exposure on the hair and how to protect our locks from the sun.
Before we get into how to protect your hair, let’s chat about the difference between UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the most destructive as the rays are longer and penetrate into the hair’s cortex. These rays have an adverse effect on the free radicals found in melanin (the pigment found in hair colour) which leads to discoloration of natural and artificial hair pigment. UVB rays are responsible for the degradation of lipid and protein loss in the cuticle area, weakening and breaking bonds as well as lightening the hair. The most noticeable changes are dryness, reduced strength, a rough surface texture, loss of colour, decreased lustre and brittleness.
To protect your hair from the sun, the experts recommends you use leave-in products that contain UVA/UVB protection. “This will significantly help you preserve the integrity of your hair,” explains Norris. Another tip is to look out for “products that contain vitamins A, C and E as these offer protection against free radicals.” And, if all else fails, take a look at the label for specific ingredients geared towards sun protection. “These are a bit of a tongue twister but are beneficial ingredients to look out for,” says Norris. “Benzophenone 4, absorbs UV light and is water soluble while ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate is an organic UV filter.” Of course, there are other things you can do that don’t involve product. “A good old school method is to wear a hat.”
Norris also recommends dampening the hair down with fresh water before applying your leave-in UVA/UVB protection, as this helps with the even absorption and spreadability of the product. “Always be sure to rinse the hair with fresh water after spending time in salt or chlorinated water, and then reapply your leave-in product,” explains Norris.
So what products should we look out for? “After a long day of fun in the sun be kind to your locks and use a quenching moisture masque to rehydrate. I love EVO’s Great Hydrator Moisture Masque (RRP R335) because it conditions, adds moisture, enhances shine, reduces frizz, and greatly improves hair manageability.
Some great leave-in UVA/UVB products include: EVO Day of Grace Leave-in Conditioner (RRP R310), EVO Happy Campers Hard Working Moisturiser (RRP R335), and Brazilian Blowout Açai Daily Smoothing serum (RRP R495).