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The Best Sun Care for Salt and Sun Scorched Hair

Esther, whipping her healthy hair back and forth
Esther, whipping her healthy hair back and forth

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Bleached hair, don't care? Sure, if that's the look you're going for. But if you're like me, saltwater and sun bring brassy hues to your (chemically) sun-kissed tresses, ruining that expensive dye job weeks before you're ready to redo. Bad news first: no product is completely waterproof, especially when put to the test in the rugged, saltwater oceans. The only way to ensure complete hair protection is to wear a swim cap. But let's be real, that ain't gonna happen when there's pride on the line and a cute surfer boy's eye to catch with a well-aimed hair flip. So here are a few of my favorite products that fight hard against that California beach bleached blonde from creeping into the locks you love.

Kérastase always carries a solid UV protection line. For the times in my life when I've been very precise in my hair color (which coincided with extended surfing stays in Hawaii), I saw the best results in non-discoloration when I worked a big dollop of the Soleil Créme UV Defense Active through my hair at least 15 minutes before getting into the water. The brand discontinued this product but I continue to stock up via online retailers. I also branched out to the new product, the Soleil Aqua-Seal. A spray instead of a gel, the Aqua-Seal feels less heavy-duty even though I'm sure it gets the job done just as well. For this one, I pull my hair back into a bun and spray liberally onto the top of my hair to protect against the dreaded "brassy halo" (so coined by my hairstylist).



I fell hard for Living Proof haircare even before knowing it's the trusted brand of golden-locks perfection Jennifer Aniston. Even though the brand's "Restore" line include 24-hour UV protection, I generally reach for these products for damage control after long sessions in the water or on the sand. My sun-parched hair drinks in the revitalizing spray like Castaway Tom Hanks greedily drinks fresh water. And the targeted repair cream truly works magic on over-salted snarls, transforming my hair from knotted to sleek in a matter of seconds.


The protective sun oil from Phyto marks my revelation of just how life changing UV protection can be for highlighted hair. The formula is an original that dates back to 1974 and works great in protecting against sun while beaching it on the sand -- but doesn't stand up well against water. Together with the after-sun rehydrating shampoo, I can always trust that my color will withstand any sun-drenched vacation without waves (think poolside in Vegas). Bonus: the oil adds volume and shine in addition to protecting against harmful rays, perfect for a sexy 'do for some lounging in the sun.