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How to get sunscreen out of hair

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Sunscreen can be one of the best protective measures to shield your skin against UV rays. Whether you are going out on a hot summer day or staying indoors, having sunscreen on is a must. 

While applying our favorite sunscreen, we all make the mistake of getting it on our hair, which isn’t right. Before it starts to irritate your scalp, let’s find a way to get it out of your hair and prevent it from happening again. 

Let’s start!

Here’s what experts say

There has been a debate going on about whether or not sunscreen should be used in your hair. So, instead of considering any random answers, let’s see what experts say. Pineda, a hair expert, says, “Sunscreen is something you would not want to apply to your hair until you want a greasy mess.”

As per Neff, “Using sunscreen will only make your hair oily. If you want to protect your hair from any damage, using a hair spray is the best option”.  

Damage sunscreen can do to your hair 

Sunscreen isn’t dangerous for your hair, but it can lead to a couple of problems that you’d like to avoid. Here are the potential issues if you have to leave sunscreen on your head for an extended period. 

Color-treated hair

Most sunscreens have avobenzone for UV protection, which reacts with water and hair dyes. This chemical can lead to discoloration and damage to the hair cuticle. 

Sticky hair 

The thickening and moisturizing agents in the sunscreen stick to hair and make it look greasy and oily. 

Dry scalp

The alcohol and UV filters present in sunscreen can cause dryness and affect overall scalp health. This can vary from one person to another. 

Allergies

Users with sensitive skin are more prone to allergic reactions related to sunscreen’s ingredients. They may even cause irritation in some cases. 

Odor

Some sunscreen brands use fragrance elements to cover up the natural smell of the natural ingredients. Such elements react with your hair and produce an unpleasant odor. 

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The rescue plan 

Before we proceed with cleaning, make sure to have a few ingredients ready. Get a bowl of Lukewarm or cold water (as per your choice) and a white towel. And some drops of chelating shampoo. The chelating shampoos have been specially formulated for combatting product buildup in the hair. You can also use deep-cleaning shampoos as an alternative for this.

Here’s what you should do

  • Start by rinsing your hair with either lukewarm or cold water. This opens your hair cuticle and allows shampoo to clean your hair properly.
  • Pour some chelating shampoo into your palm according to your hair length and thickness. Spread it evenly on your hands. 
  • Gently massage your scalp with your fingertips in a circular motion, from the roots to the tips. Focus on the areas where you think the product might build up. 
  • Wash your hair until the sunscreen is washed out properly. 
  • Pour some conditioner into the tips of your hair, leave it for a minute or two, and then wash it thoroughly to make your hair smooth. 
  • Pat dry your hair with a clean towel. 
  • Go for a second round in case your hair is still greasy. 

What if the problem persists?

Note that certain water-resistant and long-lasting sunscreens may take an extra effort. In such cases, you can consider a vinegar rinse. 

  • Take a clean container and add white vinegar and water in equal proportions. Ideally, it can be 1 part vinegar and 1 part of water. 
  • Apply this solution directly or with a spray bottle throughout your hair. 
  • Massage your scalp gently for a few seconds on the area where residual sunscreen has accumulated. 
  • Wait for 90 seconds to allow the solution to set in properly. 
  • After that, wash your hair until the residue is no longer there. 
  • Apply conditioner to your hair tips and wash it for a minute for better results. 
  • Gently pat a dry towel on your head. 

Preventive measures 

If you don’t want the sunscreen to get into your hair like this, there are a couple of measures you can take. 

  • Use a non-greasy solution that is less likely to stick to your hair for longer periods.
  • Cover your hair with a hairnet or a hairband while applying your creams or any other beauty products. 
  • When applying your product near your hairline, try dabbing it with your fingertips and not rubbing it. 
  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water before touching your hair. 
  • Always take small amounts of sunscreen on your hands to avoid excessive sunscreen mixing with your hair.
  • Make sure you wash your hair with chelating shampoos every 10-15 days to avoid this problem. 
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How to check if your hair has no residual sunscreen?

Make sure you take the following actions to ensure that the sunscreen has been washed away completely. Here are some easy tests:

Check the texture

Run your finger through the hair. If it goes smoothly, it means there’s no residue. Otherwise, you may have to go for another round of cleaning. 

Smell your hair

If you can feel an unpleasant smell in your hair, the chances are that the residue hasn’t been washed away completely. 

Do a towel test

Tap a white towel on your scalp a couple of times and check if the residue sticks to it. Using a white towel can help you visibly see the residue. 

Go with your instinct

Check the ends of your hair to see whether they are dry or have a different feel. 

And that’s all.

Parting comments 

Having a product buildup as strong as sunscreen can affect your overall hair health. It is important to deal with it properly. A regular hair wash routine can protect you from such problems in the future. 

Make sure to take preventive measures while applying sunscreen on your face. Doing a cross-check would be the best way to avoid it.  

For better scalp protection against harmful UV rays, you may rely on various other hair sunscreen sprays.

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