Healthy Scalp 101: How To Protect Your Scalp This Summer


scalp issues

Scalp-care is on our self-care list all year round, but it’s extra important when summer unleashes a hot, sweaty hell. Chances are your summer plans include at least one scalp enemy: chlorine, saltwater, or the sun.

Before you cancel your plans, a) don’t and b) we’ve got tons of tips and tricks to keep your scalp healthy this summer. On this list, you’ll find scalp sunscreens, wide-as-the-ocean hats, and gorg hairstyles to spare your crown from dehydration and damage. Sorry summer, we’re winning this round.

1. Wear Scalp Sunscreen

via Giphy

Nothing ruins #HotGirlSummer vibes like a sunburn that could’ve been avoided. Legit every inch of your skin – from ya’ bums to crowns – needs to be protected from the sun. In fact, your scalp is ALWAYS directly exposed to the sky, so it needs all the help it can get from SPF heroes. Applying (and reapplying) a small amount of your regular sunblock to your hair’s parting – or any other areas exposed – is the easiest way to curb sun damage when you’re on the go. Here are our faves: 


Sun Bum Sunscreen Scalp Spray SPF 30, $15A vegan, fast-drying mist that protects your roots with sunflower seed oil without a heavy, greasy feel.   

COOLA Scalp & Hair Mist Organic Sunscreen SPF 30, $26A lightweight hairspray that blocks UVA/UVB rays from messing with your locks. Plus, it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Source: Sisley Paris, Bumble and Bumble

Sisley Paris Hair Rituel Protective Hair Fluid, $100: This luxe hair fluid covers your scalp with a protective layer that keeps the sun and chlorinated water from damaging your strands – a must-have for swimmers!

Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer, $29A leave-in treatment containing UV filters to protect against heat and styling, along with six nourishing oils that soften, detangle, and strengthen your locks.

2. Indulge in Scalp Serums

Just as you would slot hydrating heroes into your summer skincare routine, add restorative serums to balance and restore your scalp. Serums are potent formulas that help infuse a surge of moisture, as well as other scalp-saving ingredients that can prevent dryness, flaking, and inflammation and soothe any current irritation. Without further ado, here are our top faves:

Source: Pattern, The Ordinary

PATTERN Jojoba Oil Hair Serum, $25: A lightweight cocktail of six oils – safflower, jojoba, rosehip, olive, and lavender – that are quickly absorbed by low-porosity hair types to buffer against breakage.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + Hyaluronic Acid Scalp Serum, $13: A vegan hydrator is infused with squalene and a hefty dose of hyaluronic acid that soothes dryness, itchiness, and flaking.


OUAI Scalp Serum, $52: A skincare-inspired serum that promotes hair growth with hyaluronic acid, peptides, and red clover flower extract. The serum strengthens your scalp’s barrier, dials down irritation, and creates the appearance of thicker hair.

SUNDAY II SUNDAY Hair Flourish, Biotin Infused Scalp Serum, $28: Repairing biotin, sunflower seed, and coconut oil nourishes your delicate baby hair, which can be prone to breakage while keeping your edges crisp and clean.

3. Pack a Hat 

via Giphy

A hat or headscarf can immediately zhuzh up your ‘fit, but true sunscreen stans know they’re more than a fashion statement: they’re bodyguards for your scalp. Any protective accessory that covers the top of your head (bonus points if it hides your ears too) has some serious can’t-touch-this magic against the sun. Before pulling out your baseball caps, remember: the wider the brim, the more sun rays blocked.

4. Minimize Scalp Exposure

If a hat – our recommended scalp protector, btw – isn’t your thing, another way to ensure your scalp stays cool, calm, and protected during the summer months is by choosing a non-exposing hairstyle that covers your entire scalp. Take notes from any of the following looks to keep your scalp safe… While looking pretty. Damn. Good.

Here’s some cute inspo for your summer vibe:

Go Big Or Go Home!

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Slick It Back



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A post shared by SALEM (@salemmitchell)

Scarf It Out

Go Fluffy

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A post shared by Mane Addicts (@maneaddicts)

No Parts, Please

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A post shared by NYANE ® • (@nyane)

Say Hey to CrochYAY

If you’re itching for more info, here’s how to identify an unhealthy scalp (and what to do about it).

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.