Warm, sunny days represent bliss; you go out, run your errands, go to the park, or spend hours at the beach enjoying the wonderful outdoors. We can’t deny that going out in the sun can be fun. And because you’re aware of the damage unkind sun rays can cause your body, you wear sunscreen and sport your favorite sunglasses. But what about your precious hair?

While the sun won’t technically “burn” your hair, UV rays have the ability to break down hair cuticles, leaving your strands dry, damaged, and prone to frizz. While doing your research on hair care, these hair experts will let you in on the gems about your hair type, how to care for your locks, and what products best suit your needs. Don’t go trying complicated treatments right after reading about one though. It’s always best to consult with a professional hairdresser first.

In this article, we give you five tips for keeping your hair hydrated and healthy in the face of the harsh sun.

Start with your scalp

Maintaining a healthy scalp is the first and most important step towards enjoying a healthy head of hair. To vitalize and refresh that overlooked part of your body, nothing is better than resorting to mother nature’s gift when giving your scalp a well-deserved treat. A known home remedy is to warm up a cup of olive oil and gently massage it into your scalp for about 3-5 minutes. Cover your hair with a warm towel and leave on for at least thirty minutes or overnight. Wash it all out in the shower using your usual shampoo, and don’t overlook your conditioning routine.

Go easy on the shampoo

The oils that are naturally produced by your scalp also help protect your hair from the sun. This means that you don’t want to over-wash, especially during the warmer months. Instead of lathering up daily, try doing it every other day.

During the washing process, it’s important to gently massage your scalp using the tips of your fingers— not the nails, this can cause abrasions to your sensitive skin, leading to dandruff and inflammation. Softly massaging your scalp with some blunt pressure stimulates blood flow to the roots of your hair, facilitating the delivery of nutrients and oxygen for better nourishment. You should also remember that washing with lukewarm water is actually better than using hot water. It’s also recommended to use cold water for the final rinse.

Shield your locks

To minimize damage from harmful UV rays, you can simply throw on a hat. A wide-brimmed hat (as opposed to a baseball cap) that covers your face and neck can provide great protection from the sun. Remember that material is an important aspect; straw hats aren’t as protective as tightly woven fabric ones. There are even brands that equip their hats with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number!

On the other hand, when your hair is wet in the sun after a swim session at the pool or by the beach, try combing in a natural oil for sun protection. Sesame, avocado and coconut oils not only help smooth the cuticle and gives it a nice shine, but they also deliver natural sun protection. For best results, finish by throwing your hair up into a bun to create a barrier from the sun while keeping it hydrated and protected for the rest of the day.

Minimize the added damage

You probably know that styling your hair with heat, like the excessive use of blow-dryers on high temperatures, as well as flat and curling irons, damages your hair and may lead to hair loss. To protect your hair from heat damage, aim to reduce your styling sessions as much as possible. Try going heat-free on the days when you don’t have an important meeting or social occasion. If you’re anything like me and your hair takes a long time to dry, forcing you to use a blow-dryer, make sure to constantly move it around as you dry to avoid concentrating too much heat on a single spot. You might also want to use a heat protection product before styling, regardless of the heat technique you’re using.

Fear of sun damage should never be a reason to stay indoors when the skies are clear and the weather is beautiful. You should always enjoy days outside, and your favorite activities like brunch in the outdoors or a swim in the ocean. However, always remember that—just like your skin and eyes—your hair needs protection from the harmful effects of UV rays.

We hope that the simple tips we provided in this article will help you live your life to the fullest, while enjoying healthy, beautiful hair, free from damage and breakage.