Your scalp is just as susceptible to sun damage as the rest of your body, but it's an area that oft goes neglected in terms of sun protection. That's why it's so important to apply sunscreen to your scalp before stepping outdoors. But not just any old sunscreen is going to cut it: You're going to need one of the best sunscreens for hair and scalps, which should offer broad-spectrum sun protection with an SPF of 30 or higher, as per the recommendations of the American Academy of Dermatology. You're also going to want a formula that's not going to make your hair feel greasy, and bonus points if it's water-resistant, especially if you plan on swimming. Beyond that, staying indoors or in the shade during peak sunlight hours and wearing a wide-brimmed hat are good ideas, too.
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1. The Best Sunscreen Spray For Hair & Scalps
With its lightweight, sea salt spray-inspired formula and an SPF of 30, this is one of the nicest sunscreen mists you can buy for your hair and scalp. Not only does it offer broad-spectrum sun protection to protect your scalp and hairline, but the lightly scented formula, which smells of ocean salt and sage, works to protect your hair color from fading. COOLA's Scalp & Hair Sunscreen Mist is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes — a major bonus — vegan and reef-friendly, and infused with antioxidant-rich botanicals like monoi oil and gotu kola extract. What's not to love?
2. A Cheaper Alternative
Another sunscreen spray for your hair and scalp, but for about half the price of COOLA's. The Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Defense Sunscreen Spray also has an SPF of 30, but the formula is a bit more reminiscent of a traditional sunscreen, rather than a hair mist. That said, it's still relatively lightweight, and can be applied on both wet or dry hair. It's also made without oxybenzone or octinoxate and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Like all sun protection products, you'll need to reapply every two hours (or more) if you've been in the water or vigorously sweating.
3. The Best Translucent Powder Sunscreen For Scalps
Though you'll need to buy a separate brush to apply this powder sunscreen, the Privacy UV Face Powder from Japan has a nice, high SPF of 50 and a translucent finish. Of course, you can also use this powder on your face over or under your makeup, or to keep in your bag for touchups throughout the day.
4. Another Scalp-Friendly Powder Sunscreen In Convenient Click-Pen Packaging
Click-pen style sunscreen powders are becoming more and more popular, and they're an especially convenient choice for applying around your hairline, on your scalp, and behind your ears, without leaving behind a greasy residue or goopy buildup. This one, from Colorescience, is probably the most popular click-pen sunscreen on the market — but that said, it definitely doesn't come cheap. The mineral formula is safe for all skin types, including sensitive, and has an SPF of 30, though it also comes in a version with an SPF of 50. All of them blend in relatively translucently, with just a hint of tint.
5. The Best Sunscreen Gel For The Hairline & Scalp
With its sheer, matte finish and lightweight gel texture, this sunscreen from Cremo is perfect for applying on your hairline and scalp. Not only does the formula offer sun protection with an SPF of 30, but it also works to curb shine on the oiliest parts of your head or face. It's water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, feels dry immediately upon application, and won't mess with your hair, so you can apply it onto your scalp without worry.
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Though not technically a sunscreen, Sachajuan's Hair In The Sun pre-sun treatment is designed to protect your hair from UV damage so your color stays vibrant and fresh. The UV filters will stay in your hair even in the water, so it provides long-term color-protecting benefits, too. Hair In The Sun doubles as a styling cream and frizz-tamer, while ingredients like coconut oil and cinnamon give it a delicious scent.
If you love the sound if this product, check out Sachajuan's Hair After The Sun post-sun treatment, too.