There is getting a nice good dose of necessary Vitamin D from the sun and then there is going overboard and having too much sun or rather being in the sun for too long. We are fully aware of the effects of the sun on our skin and know what protective measures to take but often we tend to forget about our hair. To get straight to the point, yes, the sun's UV rays do do damage to the hair. In comparison to other textures, our naturally thick and coarse natural hair can handle the effects of the sun a bit better and to a degree but at the end of the day the damage can and does happen especially if you are out staying in the sun for long periods of time, all/most of the day, every day. The overall effects include the breakdown of hair protein/keratin, DRY, weak hair, weak elasticity - all of which lead to or increase breakage (HELLO!). Dull hair, hair with loss of colour where natural rich dark tones turn brassier or lighter. Lighter coloured and colour treated hair will show the effects of the sun more prominently - faded colours, changes in colours. With it being early Spring, the sun continues to blaze hotter and brighter and with summer holidays being planned, maybe we need to think a little bit about how to help reduce or prevent any damage to our hair from the sun today and in these coming months.
Many of us use various product layering techniques to help retain moisture in our hair which is great but we may also help protect the hair from the sun's UV rays and we can incorporate other steps and products to increase the defense again sun damage. Some defense steps include:
Wear a hat - that simple!
Wear a light doek/headwrap/scarf - that simple!
Above: You can rock your doek/headwrap/scarf better than I did but I just wanted to show how easy protecting your hair can be.
The shade is your best friend - that simple!
Tucking your own hair away aka protective styling - using wigs and crochet hair extensions (just note that your hair is still exposed in-between normal hair extensions). I cannot bear to wear a wig during our hot South African summers but I may try hair extensions with a cornrow style (hair and scalp are exposed though) and even light crochet extensions with a crochet braid style. By the way you can rub normal suncreen into the scalp of any exposed partings or scalp areas.
Using products with sun protection or sunscreen or UV filter properties - a helpful link is listed below with specific products for natural hair. There are also brands that have a specific sun care range and utilizing these even if it does not mention textured hair will STILL be helpful. Some leave-in conditioners will state their sun screen ability. If you only shop for hair care in stores such as Clicks or Dischem then it might help to start in the section with products for colour treated hair or look at the store shelves where products for colour treated hair are.
I recently purchased Elvive Colour Protect Day Cream which is a leave-in/cream and has both UVA/UVB filters and I look forward to trying it more. It does have Amodimethicone which is not a bad 'cone' and can be removed with normal shampoo or shampoo containing coco-betaine.- I have mentioned this before and will mention it again and will probably mention it again in the future. Some oils have natural sunscreen properties and abilities among other benefits. Some of these oils include:
Red Raspberry Seed Oil with an SPF of between 28 and 50 for both UVA and UVB rays - can be found at https://essentiallynatural.co.za. I would actually choose this over all the rest.
Carrot Seed Oil with an SPF of between 38 and 40 - can be found at https://essentiallynatural.co.za.
Wheatgerm Oil with an SPF of up to 20.
Organic Coconut Oil with an SPF of between 2 and 8.
(Shea Butter also has some sunscreen properties with an SPF of up to only 4 but may be too heavy for some textures).
A nice hot oil treatment before going out in the sun or on holiday for a few days in the sun will really boost your hair's ability to cope and is also really easy to do.
I will be embarking on using Ayurvedic plant powders to help darken my hair and will need the next line of defence in maintaining the deepended colour. If you have colour treated hair the above steps become even more important. Less fading of your colour as well as less overall damage. Less colour retouches will also mean less overall damage.
And, when it comes to sun and water or spending the day in chlorine filled pools or salty seas - that is a topic for another day. Basically still try the hot oil treatment before or use oils and conditioners before getting into the water and then ensure you use a chelating shampoo or a shampoo that mentions that it helps remove chlorine. Followed with a good conditioner or masque or treatment and any of the above steps and you should continue to rock great hair right through spring and summer and your sun and beach/pool filled holidays.
As always listen to your hair and adapt your hair care regimens (o:
Alternative reading sources:
For a list of Ingredients to look out for in most products as well as product recommendations see HERE
>Aphogee Keratin and Green Tea Restructurizer is available in SA from Obulunji Online Store
>The Frizz Ease Curl Reviver Mousse is an alternative with UV filter and can be found at Clicks.