6 Smart Hairstyles to Protect a Sunburned Scalp

How to style strategically when you're feeling the burn.

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Photo by Plamen Petkov

This article originally appeared on MIMI

We're careful not to burn our bodies while lounging around the pool (Well, some of us are...), but when was the last time you considered what's going on above your face? On the top of your head? Put your hand up if you've ever remembered to protect our scalp. Yep, no one, even though it's just as likely to get a sunburn, sun damage or skin cancer.

Protection

The first step to protecting the skin on your scalp from sunburn is to use a UV protective product, says Sammy LaCombe, a stylist at RPZL in New York City. Most of the time these products will also provide a thermal protection. "This product should be reapplied after each swim similar to the sun protection for your skin," says LaCombe.

The best way to keep your scalp safe is by wearing a hat—floppy brims offer good coverage for the face too, says dermatologist Rebecca Kazin, MD, FAAD. Make sure you cover your part when you're out in the sun and try to alternate the way you part hair from day-to-day in order to avoid one area soaking up all the sun exposure. Another often overlooked area are the tops of the ears for the same reason. "We see this more commonly in men who have less hair and wear their hair short," says Dr. Kazin.

Speaking of hair, it can get fried by sun exposure too. Cumulative exposure to damaging UV rays causes hair to be brittle, break easily, and leaves it dehydrated and unmanageable, says Dr. Kazin. Another good reason to wear hats or try one of the hairstyles below when you'll be outside in the sun for long periods of time.

Style and treat hair in one via a top knot

When hair lengths are wrapped up into a knot/braid it leaves less of the hair exposed to the sun, therefore resulting in sun protection, less dryness and prevention for color fading. 

"By now your hair has most likely been swimming in salt water, sand, chlorine, and has been excessively exposed to the sun's rays—making it prime time for a treatment knot!" says NYC's Butterfly Studio Salon owner, Kattia Solano. First apply a generous amount of Shu Uemura's Essence Absolue Camellia oil from roots to ends. For added moisture, combine with a leave-in conditioner, suggests Solano.

Next, you're going to create your knot. Flip head over and use a hair tie as tightly as possible to create your ponytail base, says Solano, then on the last loop, wrap the remaining hair around and use a pin to secure. You may also create a plait here if you prefer a braided look.

Gently pull on your bun or braid with your finger tips and move your knot out and around slightly until you've settled on a playful shape. Later in the day, wash and shampoo your hair when you get home or before bed, suggests Solano. The next day your hair will be ready to shine on and start anew!

Put all your hair down

"Opting to wear all your hair down while also wearing a turban is like the best of both worlds because you don't have to completely hide your hair in order to showcase your turban," says Danielle Jennings of latest-hairstyles.com. Whether you rock straight strands or curls, all you have to do is simply tie your turban on top of your hair and you are ready to go.

In a ponytail

"You can literally wear a ponytail for any occasion, which makes pairing it with turban headbands a no-brainer," adds Jennings. "A low ponytail, a middle style or one worn off to the side are all great and stylish choices to accentuate your turban headband for a fun and flirty look."

Cover your whole head

Arguably the most popular way to rock a turban is to wear it covering your entire head. "Some women may find this look extreme, but it is extremely edgy and allows for your natural beauty to truly shine through," says Jennings. To enhance this look further, pair with some eye-catching earrings and an expertly made-up face of dramatic or natural makeup.

Tie it up with a turban and low bun

With the same appeal as a ponytail/turban combo but decidedly more demure, comes the pairing of a turban with a low bun. "What's appealing about this look is that it spices up an understated bun and acts as a more fashion forward hair accessory instead of the usual headbands, bows and clips. A chic way to make this look stand out is to position your bun to one side and knot your turban on the opposite side for contrast," says Jennings.

Leave out bangs and tendrils

Flirty yet demure, leaving out just a little hair in the form of bangs or tendrils, is an ideal way to wear your turban while looking incredibly feminine. "There are a variety of ways that you can personalize this look, such as wearing bangs straight across, swept to the side or with just a few wisps of hair escaping at the sides," says Jennings.