We spend so much time safeguarding the skin on our bodies from the sun (and with the rise of melanoma, it’s warranted), but we often forget to protect the skin (and strands!) on our heads. Your scalp can get sunburned, and in fact, it’s one of the areas on the body that many women overlook when applying sunscreen, which can ultimately lead to skin cancer. Yikes. What’s more, all that exposure to UV rays can fry your hair and fade your color, too. Luckily, there are some super cute hairstyles you can wear that will protect both your scalp and your hair from summertime damage. The best part is, they’re all so easy! Here are our faves:
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Boho Beach Waves with a Headband
Enhance your natural texture and add a funky accessory, like a printed scarf or headband, to help hide your scalp while you’re outside. To make undone waves, use a curling iron, then use your hands as a comb, says Kattia Solano, hairstylist and owner of Butterfly Studio Salon. Flip your head over to help build body while you do this. Next, use Oribe Apres Beach Spray ($39, oribe.com) instead of a crunchy hairspray to lock in your waves. Apply the spray into your hair from underneath with the nozzle spraying up (instead of spritzing it on the top layers of your hair like you normally would). Use your fingers to break up the waves to add more definition while you’re spraying, says Solano. The simplest way to finish this look is to throw on a wide, stretchy headband or a hair turban that’ll cover the top of your head. (Check out the way the model, featured on the ThreeBirdNest Etsy store, rocks a lacy headband above.)
Or, you can choose a long, wide scarf to wrap around your head. Solano prefers cotton to silk since it won’t slide after styling. Fold the scarf in half, and cover your crown area, starting at your forehead. Bring the scarf back and underneath your hair, tying the two ends together at the base of your skull. Hold the scarf tight to keep it in place, and tie a knot, moving the knot off to the side so you can actually see it. Take the remaining parts of the scarf that are hanging down from the knot, wrap them around the knot, then take the end of an elastic band, tuck it under the knot, and then above it with the other end. This secures the scarf, which provides extra protection for the scalp, in place, says Solano.
“Then you can apply SPF to your ends to give them extra protection from the sun,” she says. Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil ($28, aveda.com) is so lightweight you won’t even feel it (and it’s water-resistant!). The best part about this style: Frizz is welcome. “Frizz is finally in style—the messiness is really what makes this look,” says Solano. So you don’t have to feel like your hair needs constant touchups.
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Treatment Top Knot
A top knot will conceal your scalp, protecting it from damaging UV rays. Plus, “if your hair has been swimming in salt water, sand, chlorine, or even been exposed to the sun’s rays, it’s the prime time for a treatment knot,” says Solano.
To create the top knot, start by applying hair oil from roots to ends. You’re going for that wet look, so don’t be afraid to use it liberally. Solano likes Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil ($69, shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com) with camellia oil, which not only hydrates but also offers UV protection. Then, use a leave-in conditioner or treatment mask to create a barrier between your hair and the sun and to add in moisture, which the sun can zap from your strands. “Run this mixture through to ends, and use enough to saturate the hair,” says Solano. Flip your hair over, and rub extra product into the strands that feel the driest or areas where your hair looks damaged or is breaking off.
While your hair is flipped over, use a hair tie to create the ponytail base—and pull it as tightly as you can. Once you’re done with that, wrap the remaining hair around your ponytail, and use bobby pins to secure. “Gently pull on your bun with your fingertips, and move your knot out and around slightly until you’ve settled on a playful shape,” says Solano. When you let your hair out that night, you’ll have super soft, shiny strands and nary a sunburned scalp in sight.
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Inspired by Ariana Grande’s signature pony, this style is an upgrade on the basic ponytail—and a way to shield your scalp from harsh UV rays, too, says Jet Rhys, hairstylist and co-owner of the Jet Rhys Salon in San Diego. Here’s how to do it: Brush your hair back so that your part is covered. Divide the top of your hair from the bottom of your hair, from ear to ear, so you have two sections. Secure the top section with a ponytail holder, then secure the bottom section with a ponytail holder. The top ponytail covers the bottom one so you won’t be able to tell that they are separate. “They look connected, [and] your hair looks really long—like you have a hair piece,” says Rhys.