12 Products that Provide Sun Protection for Natural Hair



The first day of Summer is Friday, June 21st.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about Summer. Warm nights, bright colors, cute sandals, neon pedicures, beach days, and sunglasses galore. Let me stop playing…I live in LA, I’ve been doing this stuff since March (lol). In all seriousness though, many transitioners and naturalistas tend to gravitate toward “out” styles in the warmer months. And why not? You’ve been diligent all Winter and Spring with moisturizing, sealing, and protective styling. Reward yourself, and shake that hair out!

Before you strut out the door and flaunt your tresses to the world, you need to be aware of how to best protect your hair while the sun is shining bright. I know you all know about keeping moisture in with light products (water/glycerin, aloe vera juice, coconut oil, jojoba oil, etc.), but what about UV protection? Just like you protect your skin (don’t believe the myth that Black folks don’t need sunblock…our skin, regardless of color, is just as susceptible to damage from UV rays), you need to protect your hair.

Hair doesn’t sunburn, but there are some tell-tale signs of UV/sun overexposure. When your hair has spent too much unprotected time in the sun, it lacks elasticity and strength — making it prone to breakage. Additionally, photo-oxidation can occur; resulting in discoloration and fading of color, both natural and dyed.

How do you protect your hair from the sun, and still have fun? Sure, you can go the hat, headwrap, or scarf route to keep the sun’s rays from reaching your hair directly. But if you’re interested in letting it all hang out, look for the following ingredients in your favorite products, or in a product you wish to try this Summer:

  • 1. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (EHMC)
  • 2. Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane // Methoxydibenzoyl Methane
  • 3. Parsol SLX
  • 4. Tocopherol (Vitamin E)*
  • 5. Mauritia Flexuosa (Buriti) Oil*
  • 6. Benzophenones


To get you started, here are some product recommendations, along with the active UV protection ingredients they contain:


1. Ion Inspired by Nature Nourishing Oil Treatment
Price: $11
Active Ingredient(s): Vitamin E, Buriti Oil
Available at: Amazon.com


2. ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer
Price: $8
Active Ingredient(s): Buriti Oil, Vitamin E
Available at: Amazon.com


3. Neutrogena Silk Touch Leave-In Cream
Price: $8
Active Ingredient(s): Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane
Available at: Amazon.com


4. Silk Elements Curl Defining Mousse
Price: $5
Active Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Benzophenone-4
Available at: Amazon.com


5. Dermorganic Flexible Hold Alcohol-Free Sculpting Spray
Price: $15
Active Ingredient(s): Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Vitamin E
Available at: Amazon.com


6. Biotera Moisturizing Leave-In Conditioner
Price: $8
Active Ingredient(s): Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate
Available at: Amazon.com


7. Infusium 23 Colourologie Leave-In Treatment
Price: $12
Active Ingredient(s): Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate
Available at: Amazon.com


8. John Frieda Frizz-Ease Take Charge Curl Boosting Mousse
Price: $6
Active Ingredient(s): Benzophenone-4
Available at: Amazon.com


9. Silk Elements Kera Minerals Smoothing Leave-In
Price: $6
Active Ingredient(s): Vitamin E, Benzophenone-4
Available at: Amazon.com


10. Crème of Nature Argan Oil Gloss and Shine Polisher

Price: $8
Active Ingredient(s): Benzophenone-3
Available at: Amazon.com


11. GVP (Generic Value Products) Cream
Price: $8
Active Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Benzophenone-4
Available at: Amazon.com


12. ApHogee Gloss Polisher Therapy Spray
Price: $8
Active Ingredients: Buriti Oil, Benzophenone-3
Availabile At: Amazon.com

This list is by no means conclusive, rather it’s a springboard. There are tons of products with UV protection ingredients, and as Summer rolls along, I’m sure more will be introduced. What are some of your favorite UV-blocking products?

For more from Christina check out her blog, The Mane Objective. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook.

*Although Vitamin E and Buriti Oil aren’t exclusively regarded as UV protectants themselves, there is research that suggests each provides a degree of photoprotection against UV rays. Vitamin E is able to absorb UV energy, which prevents UV induced free-radical damage. The carotenoids in lipids/oils such as Buriti Oil are believed to be able to absorb UV light and prevent photo-oxidation. If you are interested in a more natural and/or silicone-free approach to UV protection, seek products with Vitamin E and Buriti Oil high on the list (within the top 5 or 6). Of course, you always have the option of purchasing pure Vitamin E and Buriti Oil themselves, and combining them with your carrier oil of choice.

Christina Patrice

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

29 thoughts on “12 Products that Provide Sun Protection for Natural Hair

    • Someone could’nt have told me about this in high school when I was on the swim team. My poor hair was damaged from the constant chlorine and daily washes. i am definitely going to check this product out. thank you sooo much :]

    • msbooge,

      you can say it is dumb if you want your scalp burnt. Again i don’t know why you come here to look at it. it is only for ppl that want hair to be healthy. we always have different hair rountine for every seasons. we are here to learn , not to insult hoe it is dumb. dislike it then leave pls. thanks

    • Moi, le bio, e7a m’inspire pas. Justement parce que j’aime pas me prendre la teate avec ce genre de tetxrue. Alors payer 19 euro pour le mettre une fois et puis plus jamais, je trouve e7a trop cher. Apre8s si on est une accro au bio et qu’on est dote9 d’une patience d’ange, pourquoi pas?Merci Magali de tester pour nous.

  1. I already know that hair MUST have sunscreen in it. It may sound funny when it said “sunscreen in hair, but if you wanna healthy hair without loss , bald, etc.) Then get sunscreen ! Not the kind one of sunscreen lotion you used for skin, it is not designed for hair. It don’t penerate well. Unsless you want look at EWG for natural ingreints infused sunscreen lotion, it can be used on hair. Because it is the same kind of carrier oils we use on hair , that are on EWG list sunscreens.

    Anyway I have 3 sunscreens for hair (they are very cheap…elhexth mexcinnomiah is very important ingredient as sunscreen I read somewhere you must look for it first)

    3 sunscreen I have right now is :

    Tresemme all day resistance extra hold (I got trail because it is 2fl , big enough for me)$1-2

    while I have 5.2fl Aveeno nournish and condition leave in treatment abt $5-8. it has

    Bioluxe smoothing conditioner (but i put a little cond. of it in water /glyernic and aloe vera) it has benzophene-4. It will say it has sunscreen protection. trail and $1

    when every hair product say that, pls dont believe do the reading ingredients before waste money.

    wear hat too. headwear can be subsuite if it is stable

  2. My Lord, now I have to protect my hair from the sun, too? This is crazy lol. But seriously, are there any natural alternatives to these products?

      • Giovanni direct leave inn conditioner. And thats what i use alongside my hat.
        It is natural and has Tocopherol (Vitamin E)* as 3rd ingeredient.

    • I’ve heard that avocado oil is a natural sunscreen. I use that on my scalp and hair just for general moisture but it is also meant to have the sunscreen benefit so you can’t go wrong with trying that out :)

  3. None of those sound like something I would want to put in my hair. Wouldn’t shea butter, vitamin e and a sealing oil protect your hair?

    • I feel you, that is exactly what I was thinking at first . that why I went to aveeno because it is only “near-natural” I can think of.

      I wasnt natural things because I always purchase them to use in hair, so I was thinking abt shea butter but I know it really is not as strong as other product that is lasting sunscreen protection. It is like FDA approved.

      Have you heard that most natural stuffs really don’t last or have much protection as storebought because storebought has a lot of ingedients you may not wanna miss.

      If you wanna try natural thing then do this : Green tea (high antioxade) E vitamin oil, shea oil, coca butter, coconut oil , and zinc or titulamun. Those are homemade sunscreen that EWG suggested for ppl that use as alternative , but it is less than 10 spf. I am not sure. I tried it a long time ago and it was okay but I still got burned . it is only okay if you are not using it on really hot day. It has very small amount of protection.

      I had to gave up and use chemical thing only for SPF so I don’t get cancer then I heard abt hair. It is bad enough that I had to get chemical thing for hair that has SFP in it to protect. BUT it is okay as long you wash out after coming home.

      NOTE*** Grapeseed oil has high natural protection from heat

    • Hi:This is Christina from Chicago. My son is 2 1/2 years old and has seen three hot, sunny summers. I am in total amreegent with Stephanie and have been so since he was born and looked at all the ingredients in the safe, “baby,” sunscreens. He has never used sunscreen and has NEVER had a sunburn…more than an occasional “farmer’s tan” on his forearms. No, it’s not easy having him keep long sleeves or his hat on while playing in the sand at the beach or having fun in the pool. But, I really feel that lack of ease is much better than him being exposed to chemicals in products that are being marketed to supposedly protect him. When your sunscreen comes out, though, Stepnanie, I will be sure to try it, and I’m sure I will LOVE it like all your other awesome stuff.

  4. I hope and prey that shea butter is good enough. Jesus, I dont want to put some of that stuff on my hair.
    There are many women out there who do not use sun protectants on their hair and grow healthy long hair
    shea butter has to be enough, women BLACK women in africa were growing nice healthy hair before the invention of those crazy chemicals. How about we wear hats? use shea butter? scarves, sit in the shade etc?

  5. I read somewhere that shea butter does not have a high enough SPF to actually do anything worthwhile.

    I’m also interested to know whether the products listed actually have a high enough SPF themsevles. It could be they are better than nothing, but aren’t significantly effective regardless.

    Everyday, there is something new to ‘worry’ about when it comes to natural hair. Many of them we didn’t even think twice about years ago and our hair was fine (childhood for example). Not to mention, I’ve never heard a natural style icon mention sun protecting their hair and their hair is thriving (granted, maybe some didn’t think to mention it). Not saying there’s nothing to it, but do we over think natural these days? Hmm…

    • AnonSince87,

      I concur!!! I have been relaxer free for 18 years now and even when I was applied excessive heat to my hair (from hot combs to flat irons and anything in between) my hair grew effortlessly. Although some peoples texture and resistance is different I doubt all this is necessary. I live in Florida so it hot year round and I don’t make a conscience effort to put any kind of protectant in my hair and it is healthier than ever. I wager to say these things are beneficial but NOT NECESSARY.

  6. I don’t know that this would be up a “naturalistas” alley. There must be some natural alternatives out there for those that don’t want to put chemicals in their hair. My advice would much rather be shea butter mixed with vitamin e and any other oil of your choice. I would probably wet my hair with water or aloe vera juice, sea with the mixed oil and sport a cute hat to protect my luscious locks from the uv rays! But that’s just me!

  7. Actually girls there are natural alternatives that have very high spf. They are all natural oils as well.

    Red Raspberry Seed Oil- between 28 and 50 spf
    Carrot Seed Oil- between 38 to 50 spf
    Wheat Germ+ Vit. E oil blend – 20 spf
    Soybean Oil- 10 spf

    These are all based on the studies in the “Pharmacognosy Magazine”.

    Actually the “Wild Growth Oil Light Oil” in the yellow bottle contains carrot seed oil and other great natural oils for good alternative “ready made” product. :)

  8. You have no idea how much I am thankful for this! Last summer my hair went absolutely wild after heading down to the beach : ( and it was even worse when I would jump into my pool. Not to familiar with most of those names, but I am with John Frieda, so I’ll start with this one. Have you personally tried this one? If not, which one have you personally tried??

  9. I make my own skin/hair moisturizer with shea butter, carrier oils and essential oils, but I also add in zinc oxide. Simple, natural and works really well at protecting my hair and skin.

  10. if wheatgerm oil and shea butter both have some spf protective powers, i will probably be ok. my sealeant contains good amounts of both and well i use that every other day or so. plus, it is true, this stiff is probably beneficial but not neccesary. Our hair care has to be hollistic, maybe wearing protective styles 80% of the time and never using heat will balance out the sun. After all it is about minimalizing damage you can not prevent all damange from all sources all the time–that is plain unrealistic and i do not want to live in some weird climate controlled space station for the sake of my hair! lol!

  11. I always use all natural sunscreen when I go outdoors. I don’t like the idea of putting anything on my skin to absorb that I wouldn’t ingest. I might try some of these products, too. I always get my scalp burned and that HURTS!

  12. Surprised at the chemical recommendations. What happened to natural products like avocado, lemon and shea butter. Very disappointed in this post.

    • I recommend pleope buy a jar of diaper ointment (I use E. FOUGERA — 20% non-nano zinc oxide and mineral oil, beeswax and white petrolatum (aka: Vaseline)), a bottle of glycerin and some distilled water. Take an empty squeezable mayonnaise bottle. Fill it 1/3 with the ointment. Add an ounce of glycerin and an ounce or two of water. Shake well. There’s your sunscreen. Add more water if you need it (it’s going to evaporate soon anyway). I use this and I can’t tell it from the nano-type. It works great too.

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