Does the sun permanently lighten hair? No, and a hairdresser tells you why

girl protects herself from the sun with glasses and a straw hat

  • No, not at all. The sun doesn’t permanently lighten your hair.
  • The sun can lighten your hair, but only if you’re exposed to it for more than 2 hours a day for many days. For example, when you go on vacation to the beach or pool.
  • However, this lightening won’t be permanent, as it can be reversed.
  • In this article, we’ll see how the sun affects your hair and which hair colors are usually more lightened by the sun.
  • I also give you tips on how to take care of your hair from UV rays.


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Have you been out in the sun and fear that your hair could permanently lighten?


Well, you can rest easy. Nothing like that will happen.

  If the sun permanently lightened hair, we’d all be blonde.  

Many things lighten hair, including the sun, but   only in certain circumstances and never permanently.  


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The sun can lighten your hair only after exposing it for long periods after  .  

On the other hand, going shopping outdoors or   spending an entire afternoon in the sun won’t lighten our hair.  


Read on to find out about   the sun’s effects on your hair, why it won’t lighten it permanently,   and how you should care for it from UV rays.


The harmful effects of the sun: how to avoid them?

girl carries a life preserver and has doubts

Our sun is wonderful, but   it could greatly damage our hair if we aren’t careful enough.  


On the positive side, the sun promotes vitamin D synthesis, which is   essential for successfully absorbing calcium into the hair.  

It also stimulates blood circulation in the vessels that supply our scalp with blood.

However, the sun can seriously damage both our hair and our scalp.

What disorders does it cause?


Prolonged exposure to the sun without any protection against UV rays   could dry out our hair and skin.  

But there’s more.


If the exposure is too long, the effects are even more harmful: the hair structure weakens, it becomes brittle,   the ends may split, and it could become lighter or lose their color.  

The scalp can also be affected by dryness, irritation, and burning. Over time,   sunspots and other more serious skin problems may appear.  


So, even if this isn’t permanent, try to protect your scalp with suitable products.


Which hair color fades faster in the sun? A hairdresser will answer your questions

blonde curly girl in sun visor surprised while sunbathing on deck chair

Hair color depends on the ratio of the two types of melanin.

Eumelanin (dark tone) and pheomelanin (reddish tone). The latter is much more sensitive to UV radiation than the former.

This means that light hair suffers the consequences of sun exposure and   lightens more easily than dark hair   under the sun.


One of the main elements that make up hair proteins is an amino acid called cysteine, which is precisely one of the molecules that oxidizes the most with exposure to the sun,   causing it to lighten.  


Does color-treated hair also lighten in the sun?

In the case of colored hair, just as with natural hair, we have bad news:   it also lightens in the sun.  

They won’t lighten permanently, though.

Long exposure to the sun is not advisable, as   the ultraviolet rays will wear the color faster   and take on a different shade.

What shade can my hair get if I am overexposed to the sun?


After long exposure, your colored hair will look like this:

  • Blonde hair will become very light blonde.
  • Red hair will become copper.
  • Brown hair will become honey or caramel.
  • Black hair will drift into a very unpleasant beige-gray.


Of course, anything with a bleached base, such as highlights, lightening, balayage, or fantasy colors, will also suffer   much more intense drying.  


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How can I protect my hair from fading in the sun?

blonde girl in a hat poses in the sun while using sunscreen

  UV rays, wind, salt water, or chlorine seriously damages our hair.  

Exposure to all these factors alters the smoothness of the hair cuticle and makes your hair porous, brittle, and dry.

Obviously,   all these elements added to the sun will cause your hair color to fade.  


To prevent this and to enjoy healthy hair, follow these tips:

  • Hydration: don’t forget to drink plenty of water and also eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Trim your ends: this way, your hair will maintain its freshness and vitality, which will help the overall health of the hair fiber.
  • Let your hair dry in the open air: avoid using hair dryers and straighteners.
  • Say yes to hats: apart from being the perfect accessory for a top vacation, you’ll protect your hair.


  • Eliminate chlorine and salt quickly: two very harmful elements for our hair because they lighten hair at high speed.

Biphasic treatments are the most recommended for the beach and the sea.

Use them before and after entering the sea or the pool.



  • Use sunscreen all the time: both for your skin and your hair.

You’ll find a wide variety of   products with UV filters,   from hair masks to gels and creams. This is of utmost importance



  The sun doesn’t permanently lighten the hair.  

My usual advice is to talk to your hairdresser,  who’ll give you advice on the most appropriate products   to protect your hair from the sun.


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