12th July 2010

SUNSCREEN FOR HAIR?

I don’t know about you, but I’m obsessive about sun protection. I’m known amongst my friends and family as ‘the girl who always carries sunscreen’ – and I whip tubes of the stuff out of my bag at the mere forecast of good weather, slathering it over every inch of exposed skin.

Sunscreen for my hair, however, has never really occurred to me. Hair is essentially dead, right? And it gets cut off eventually, so why invest in expensive products to protect it?

Ladies, I have just had a serious wake-up call. I recently interviewed celebrity stylist Jo Hansford – fortuitously, a few days before I was jetting off to the South of France with friends – and she filled me in on what happens to our hair when we leave it unprotected.

“In the same way that the sun will burn your skin if exposed and unprotected, it will have the same effect on your hair” she warned. “The sun will cause it to burn and become bleached, lifting your colour and leaving it faded. Ultimately, nothing will repair your hair if you allow it to become damaged from the sun – prevention is paramount.”

If I leave it unprotected, everything that I have invested in for my hair – expensive salon colours, smoothing serums, intensive masks, and the best-quality shampoos and conditioners – will be rendered null and void. I might as well throw my money from the sun-drenched balcony of our holiday apartment.

So what exactly does Jo advise we do?

“During sun exposure, use products containing UV filters” she says. “Where possible, cover your hair with a scarf or sun hat when in the sun or swimming.”

I didn’t need to be told twice – so I quickly invested in Philip Kingsley’s Swimcap (£15.23), which protects hair against damage from UV rays. I simply combed it through my hair and then pulled it back into a sleek ponytail before I headed to the beach each morning. Better still, the product gave my hair a mini treatment as I lazed on the sand, leaving it soft and shiny when I washed it out at the end of the day.

Now I’m back in London, I’m not resting on my laurels. I’ve switched to Schwarzkopf Bonacure Sun Protect Shampoo (£6.25) and Conditioner (£7.10), which contain UV-filters and Vitamin E to protect my hair when I’m out and about. And in my handbag? My endless tubes of SPF have been joined by Methode Jeanne Piaubert’s MJP Suncare Anti-Ageing Sprayable Sun Hair Mist (£16.75).

The only thing I need now is a bigger handbag…

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