Sry, I know you’ve gotten this lecture 1000000 times already, but I just gotta say it: You need to be wearing sunscreen every. Freaking. Day. Whether you’re spending the day at the beach or you’re just taking a walk, SPF is a requirement for any amount of sun exposure if you care about your health (and your face!). That said, there’s a little area of skin even the most seasoned of sunscreen wearers forget about: the scalp.
Yup, considering your scalp is basically an extension of the skin on your face, it needs just as much UV protection to protect it against sunburns and cancer scares. Don’t worry, though—that doesn’t mean you need to awkwardly run your creamy sunscreen through your roots. There’s actually a whole world of scalp sunscreens out there, and I’ve rounded up the best ones, ahead. But first, a couple answers to your Qs (’cause I know you’ve got some):
☀️ Wait, can your scalp get sunburned?
Yup, your scalp can 100 percent get sunburned. “The scariest thing about getting sunburned on your scalp is that it’s not an area you can see easily, so it might be difficult to catch developing moles or potential melanoma,” trichologist Dominic Burg, chief scientist at Evolis Professional has told Cosmo. And even though your hair can’t get sunburned (your strands are already dead, which means they have zero possibility of developing cancer), it also needs a layer of sun protection—especially if it’s color-treated. “Sun exposure can actually strip your hair color and destroy your hair-pigment molecules, purely through the radiation damage caused by UV rays,” says Burg. The easiest way to prevent any of this? Scalp. Sunscreen.
☀️ Can you use regular sunscreen on your scalp?
In theory, you could use any regular ole’ sunscreen on your scalp, but, like, who would want that mess…? “Generally, SPF hair protectors contain similar ingredients to what you’d use on your skin,” says Burg. “They’re formulated with specific molecules that either reflect UV light or absorb it, preventing it from reaching your hair and skin and damaging it.” But unlike the creams and lotions you use on your body, scalp and hair sunscreens come in spray and powder formulas that absorb into your skin super easily without a greasy residue. Alright, now let’s get to what you really came here for: the best scalp sunscreens to shop RTFN.
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Best Scalp Sunscreen Powder
Supergoop! Poof 100% Mineral Part Powder SPF 45
The best thing about this scalp sunscreen is how freaking easy it is to apply. All you do is pump the lightweight powder (which is spiked with SPF 45) along your roots and gently blend it in with your fingertips. It basically works double duty as a dry shampoo, too—the superfine formula helps absorb any excess oil sitting on your scalp.
Best Scalp Sunscreen Spray
Sun Bum SPF 30 Scalp and Hair Mist
This spray-on scalp sunscreen checks all the boxes: It’s lightweight enough that it doesn’t leave a residue, it dries down super fast (even when your spritz it through your hair), and it combines SPF 30 with hydrating ingredients like vitamin E-rich sunflower seed oil.
Best Scalp and Face Sunscreen
Soleil Toujours Extrème Face and Scalp Sunscreen Mist
If your apartment is as minuscule as mine, you definitely don’t have the space for, like, eight different sunscreens. That’s why I love this SPF 50 mist—it’s safe to use on your scalp and your face (thanks to gentle and soothing ingredients like green-tea leaf extract and vitamin E), so there’s no need to double up on products.
Best Scalp Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Vanicream Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50+
This SPF 50 is pretty much as gentle as it gets—it’s formulated without dyes, lanolin, fragrance, and parabens, so there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t use it on your scalp (especially if you have sensitive, easily irritated skin). To keep the formula from weighing down your hair, start with a dime-sized amount and slowly build up if you need more.
Best Scalp and Hair Sunscreen
Coola Scalp & Hair Mist Organic Sunscreen SPF 30
If you’re looking for a scalp sunscreen that’s lightweight enough to also spray on your hair, you’ll legit love this mist from Coola. It’s got SPF 30 and a handful of moisturizing hair oils that protect and hydrate your head without leaving a sticky or greasy texture.
Best Scalp, Hair, and Body Sunscreen
Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Why not get you a scalp sunscreen that does it all, right? This oil-based bb can be sprayed on your scalp, hair, and body, courtesy of ingredients like SPF 30, soothing aloe extract, and hydrating nyamplung oil.
Best Brush-On Scalp Sunscreen
Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 50
I get it: One of the most annoying things about sunscreen is that you need to apply it every two hours. That’s what makes this brush-on powder SPF so genius—you can sweep it over your scalp and face throughout the day with straight up ease (it’s almost like a setting powder).
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