The sun is shining, and that means you鈥檙e in the habit of slathering yourself in sunscreen from head to toe (at least we hope!) before going outside for the day. But what about your hair? Does it need protection too? You鈥檝e probably heard that UV rays can seriously damage your tresses, but do they have the same effect on hair color? Apparently, it鈥檚 not that simple.

How the sun affects your hair color depends on whether you dye your hair or not. Rockin鈥 your natural hue? Then those rays can actually have some pretty pin-worthy effects on your hair. David Adams, master colorist at Fourteenjay salon in New York City, says that sun-kissed highlights (AKA balayage) are a popular request starting in spring, but the look can be achieved naturally when out in the sun. 鈥淲ith brown hair, when you go in the sun, you get the most lovely natural highlights,鈥 says Adams.

As far as the solar effects on dyed hair goes, it really varies by individual, says Stephanie Brown, master colorist at Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City. 鈥淏londes usually just get lighter and don鈥檛 usually turn brassy,鈥 says Brown. 鈥淲ith brunettes, it鈥檚 50/50.鈥

Living Proof Restore Perfect Spray

If you鈥檙e just running errands, you don鈥檛 have to worry about the sun wrecking your hair color, says Brown, but if you鈥檙e spending a week at the beach, then it is a good idea to take some type of precautionary measure. It doesn鈥檛 have to be time-consuming. Brown likes using Living Proof Restore Perfect Spray ($29), which offers UV and heat protection, before blow-drying. Easy!

Adams says that it鈥檚 really only faux redheads who have to be concerned, because their color fades a whole lot faster than anyone else. 鈥淚t鈥檚 always been the rule of thumb that if you color your hair, you can鈥檛 get it exposed to the sun,鈥 says Adams. 鈥淏ut apart from redheads, I think it鈥檚 a little bit nonsense. If you鈥檙e coming off the beach and using a good quality shampoo and conditioner, then there鈥檚 no reason you can鈥檛 go out and enjoy the sun.鈥

Clairol Shimmer Lights

If your hair color has turned brassy, a purple or blue shampoo will help mitigate that effect. Brown recommends mixing a little bit of Clairol Shimmer Lights ($12) into your regular shampoo once a week if you鈥檙e a blonde or trying Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo ($44) once a week if you鈥檙e a brunette.

Now, while you don鈥檛 have to feel too stressed about your hair color being destroyed by the sun, you should absolutely shield your scalp. 鈥淧rotecting your scalp from the sun is important because your scalp is susceptible to skin damage just like the rest of your body,鈥 explains Christel C. Malinski, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Louisiana. 鈥淪kin cancer on the scalp is not easily detected in early stages. Typically, when skin cancer is found on the scalp it is in the late stages, so protection and prevention is important.鈥

Coola Organic SPF 30 Hair & Scalp Mist

Throwing on a hat is the easiest way to keep your scalp out of harm鈥檚 way, but there are also products that offer sun protection for hair and scalp. One of Brown鈥檚 faves is Coola Organic SPF 30 Hair & Scalp Mist ($26), which features plant antioxidants to soothe and nourish your hair and scalp.

Shari Hicks-Graham, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Ohio, adds that while your mid-lengths to ends don鈥檛 need as much protection as your scalp does, the sun can still dry out your hair. That鈥檚 why, whether or not you dye your hair, both Adams and Brown stress the importance of keeping your hair hydrated during the sunny summer months.

Aveda Sun Care Hair & Body Cleanser

Adams uses Aveda products at his salon and says their Sun Care Hair & Body Cleanser ($22) is one of his favorite buys for a post-sun refresh. It gets rid of chlorine (which dries out hair and in rare cases may turn blonde hair green), salt, and product buildup while moisturizing with coconut oil.

A conditioning mask bring fried summer hair back to life. Brown is a fan of Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Masque ($66), which offers UV protection and repairs damaged hair, and It鈥檚 a 10 Miracle Mask ($31), which smooths over-processed hair.

(Photo via Getty)

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