The One Place You’re Forgetting to Apply Sunscreen—But Should, ASAP

If you've been skipping the SPF in this not-so-obvious place, you're not alone.
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Whenever you’re heading to spend the day relaxing at the beach, lounging by the pool, or riding on the boat, there are a few essential items you can’t forget to throw in your beach bag: a cute striped beach towel, a brand-new beach read, an insulated water bottle, and—most importantly—plenty of sunscreen. Any coast dweller knows that though SPF is an important part of everyday skincare, it’s even more necessary on days spent in the brilliant summer sun.

Despite the most diligent efforts, it’s easy to overlook some odds and ends during crucial sunscreen application that go unnoticed until the deed is already done—at the end of the day, when we’re feeling those blistered bits. To help jog your memory, the children’s song, “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” does an exceptional job covering the obvious bases. Some unforeseen spots: your palms, hands, eyelids, nail beds, lips, and the tops of your feet. As it turns out, there’s one more place you’re forgetting to apply sunscreen that’s causing two-fold damage: your hair. Yes, sunscreen for your hair is a thing. Here’s why you need to start using it.

First, you’ve most likely experienced a burnt, and later peeling, scalp that hurts when showering off or combing your hair after a long beach day. Not only is your scalp extremely vulnerable to sun damage, but also it’s the spot that some consider to be most lethal when it comes to melanoma, according to the professionals at Dermstore. Secondly, your strands suffer serious dehydration from UVA/UVB rays and become dry and brittle, which causes split ends. For those that head to the salon regularly for hair color, the sunlight will dull and fade those highlights faster than you can say yacht rock. (Turns out, our mothers’ and grandmothers’ proclivity for wide, floppy sunhats did some serious legwork protecting their scalps and strands from UV damage.)

Luckily, slathering your favorite sunscreen lotion on your roots and down your locks isn’t the only way to protect. Lightweight mists and hydrating hair oils that contain SPF and heat protectant properties are taking over the beauty world this season, and many boast additional benefits like added shine, moisture, or volume. Aveda offers a comprehensive three-step system for total hair protection that contains a water-resistant UV defense misthair and body cleanser, and after-sun hair mask. Living Proof’s Restore Instant Protection Spray is perfect for those who blow-dry even before hitting the beach and can be reapplied later on dry hair. No greasiness, no build-up—full protection.

This key ingredient will create a recipe for success when it comes to sun care this season. With the rates of sun-induced melanoma on the rise, it’s important to cover your bases—and this step keeps your scalp safe and your strands healthy.

If last year was all about curated skincare, from double cleansing to hydrating essences, this year is all about expanding the skincare mindset to hair care, using the same specialized approach and ingenuity. (Think: micellar shampoo, sheet masks for hair, and oil blotting sheets for scalps.) Hair sunscreen is just the tip of the iceberg.

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