How to protect your hair from the sun and sea this summer

We’re probably all aware of the damaging effects the sun can have on the skin – but did you know that it can also damage your hair, too?

UV rays break down the proteins in hair, making strands more brittle and prone to snapping. The result is hair that looks dull, dry and more frizzy than usual. Factor in other common hot weather elements like seawater, chlorine and humidity and you’ve got a potential recipe for holiday hair horrors.

Luckily we’ve outlined some simple tips and handy products – with a little help from celebrity hair stylist Neil Moodie, who has just opened his new salon the Neil Moodie Studio in east London – that you can add into your summer routine to ensure your hair stays its healthiest. 

Use UV protection

“The sun’s UVA rays act like a bleach to the hair and can cause colour fade, while UVB rays are responsible for breakage,” says Neil. Apply a specific UV-protective hair product before going out in the sun, and a high factor SPF to any bald patches or areas of thinning hair, and to partings.

Condition throughout the day

“The ‘Olaplex bun’ was trending on TikTok earlier this year and this lends itself brilliantly to summer. You essentially coat the hair in a conditioning treatment product and tie your hair into a bun so it gets to work while you go about your business,” says Neil.

We love Paul Yacomine Solarium Sun, Sea and Chlorine Protection For Hair, a spritz-on blend of oils that shields hair against the summer elements while also deeply conditioning. Spray on all over the lengths and comb through.

A bottle usually costs £28 but new subscribers to the OK! Beauty Box can snap it up for just £4.95 here in the Good To Go Edit – your one-stop shop for travel-friendly beauty must-haves this summer, and worth £115!

Wear a hat

Of course, keeping your hair out of the sun altogether is the best way to avoid UV-related damage, and a wide-brimmed hat is a stylish way to also shield your face from the sun’s rays.

Brighten your blonde

While UV rays can cause hair dye to fade, chlorine can cause havoc for blondes, giving that expensive buttery balayage an unwanted green tinge.

 "For those lucky enough to be splashing around in a pool this summer, I’d recommend rinsing hair with water beforehand as this will help to coat the strands and protect from the chlorine,” says Neil, who also has these unusual homemade hacks for saying goodbye to green-tinged locks: “Mix 12 aspirin into warm water and rinse through your hair after shampooing. Applying tomato ketchup and rinsing is also a good solution!"

Comb wet hair, don’t brush

"When getting out of the sea, pool or shower it’s important to use a wide-tooth comb over a brush because wet hair is more susceptible to damage, and brush bristles could cause tearing,” explains Neil.