How to Protect Your Natural Hair from Sun Damage

Image: @alannanicolex

There are multiple different ways to go about protecting your hair from the heat of the sun that are simple to implement before heading outside such as wearing a hat, headwrap or rocking a protective style like braids, twists or even a simple top knot. Once the beautiful weather starts calling us outside, it has become ingrained in us to slather on sunscreen to keep our skin protected and many times we forget that our hair is not exempt from the potentially damaging sun rays.

Coconut Oil

On days when you are spending all day in the sun, you can turn this time into a deep conditioning opportunity, as well.

If you are going to the beach or the pool, soak your curls with water and then slather on some coconut oil prior to heading out the door. By soaking your hair with your tap water at home, you are locking in much needed moisture and should help to keep out some of the chlorine or salt water that is prone to drying out hair.

Coconut oil has a natural SPF of 10, so along with the deep conditioning treatment, you are also keeping your hair safe from the sun’s rays.

If you are going to be out in the sun, smoothe coconut oil over your strands, especially the canopy (top layer”> which is has the highest exposure to the sun’s rays and is most likely to be damaged by the elements. If you experience frizz or hair that won’t curl as much at the canopy and framing your face, this could be why.

Another suggsted oil blend that will help seal in moisture and protect your hair from the sun is Righteous Roots Rx Oil, voted the best hair and scalp oil of 2020, according to our NC community. No wonder why curlies rave about it’s multi-purposeful benefits because it’s formulated with the best essential oils like coconut oil, jamaican castor oil, argan oil, olive oil and grapeseed oil to name a few.

3 more ways to protect your hair from sun damage

Coconut oil can help block UV rays, but for an even more effective protection it is best to create an actual barrier between your hair and the sun. There are also products formulated specifically to block the sun’s rays and repair the damage they can can cause – check out these sun-blocking tips.


The first option you can go with is to add a barrier between your hair and the sun. Options include a brimmed summer hat, or a scarf to wrap your hair with. This works best if you are going to spend a day out shopping or at a park. This option is great because it not only protects your hair but also will protect your scalp from the potential of being sunburnt.


If wearing a hat isn’t really your style, there are other ways to protect your hair. Sunscreen is an effective option to keep the sun’s rays from damaging your hair. The simplest way to include spf into your hair routine is just to use the same sunscreen you use for your face in your hair. If rubbing skin sunscreen onto your hair doesn’t sound appealing either, make yourself a protective hair mist with these three ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sunscreen
  • 3 to 4 drops rosemary oil
  • Mix these ingredients together in a spray bottle and toss in your beach bag. Next time you are heading out, coat the mix over your hair for added UV protection. It is not heavy so fine hair won’t be weighed down by it. Don’t forget to reapply if you are going in and out of water as it will wash out.


    If your hair is still feeling a little fried after spending time out in the sun, there are plenty of options for you to treat your hair to an after-sun reparative treatment. When you get home from the beach or pool, cleanse your hair from any chlorine or salt that may be left over and give one of these a try:

    SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Hair Masque infuses hair with a powerful dose of moisture and nutrients. Certified organic Shea Butter, Honey, Mafura and Baobab Oils are blended with antioxidant-rich African Rock Fig to restore and lock in moisture.

    Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment works best with a plastic cap and left on for 20 minutes. This thick conditioner uses cocoa butter and shea butter to add some serious moisture to your hair, plus it’s great for all hair types.

    Mielle Organics Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner is a protein/moisture replenisher that will restore dry and damaged hair. This deep conditioner is filled with two complex amino acids from wheat, soy and other natural sources that actually mimic the function of hairs amino acids, helping to restore the function and moisture to damaged and dry hair, plus it’s safe to use on color treated hair.

    SASHAPURE Restorative Conditioning Masque has an intensive hydrating, deep conditioning, strengthening formula revitalizes hair that has been damaged by environmental aggressors, thermal styling, and chemical and color treatments. An optimal blend of hand‐picked, certified organic, wild‐crafted ingredients including shea butter, sacha inchi oil and vitamins A & E.

    As I Am Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner has an exceptional blend of hair softeners and fortifiers, including coconut, sugar cane, green tea, apple and lemon, shea butter and vitamin E.

    This summer, don’t be afraid to embrace the sun with confidence knowing that you can truly be protected from head to toe.

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