By Jackie Celestin-Andre

We all know that the sun’s rays can damage our skin, and even African American or African French skin needs protection against UVA and UVB. So ladies, spray or smooth on the sun protection for your skin. And don’t forget about your hair; the sun can wreak havoc and deter your quest for healthy hair too!

We spend lots of time outside during the summer, swimming, attending barbecues, and doing general fun stuff. But with prolonged exposure the sun’s UVA and UVB rays can damage the structure of the hair strand, the cuticle, or the hair protein, called keratin. All of this causes the hair to become dry and brittle, broken or with split ends.

Both UVA and UVB rays can penetrate the cortex of the hair shaft, damaging the cells and reducing the hair’s natural elasticity and strength and fading your natural color . The sun’s rays act like a bleaching agent, which reacts with the melanin in hair and can remove its color. Unlike skin cells, hair cells are not alive; therefore the melanin cannot protect hair from sun damage.

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The good news is that you can easily protect your hair from the sun, (but also from sea water and chlorine) with products that are made specifically to use before, during and after sun exposure. I found one such brand, made in Paris that I like. Phytoplage by PHYTO proposes a full range with shampoo, conditioner, hair mask, after sun oil, and a protective spray with UV filter for everyday use. Phytoplage is without Parabens or silicones.

As my hair is dry and the sun has been really brutal in Paris recently, I gave the Huile Protectrice with a UV filter a try. It’s difficult to appreciate if the UV filter protected my hair from the sun, but I trust that it did. Otherwise the product moisturized and gave a nice shine to my hair. I continued to use it during the rest of the sunny summer in Paris this year.

I also tried the Phytoplage Huile Sublimante after sun care for hair and skin as it contains oils, Perilla, Buriti and Annato oils, that were a nice change from Olive oil or Shea Butter. I am loving this product--and to be honest, I’ve also been using it to moisturize my skin. It’s yummy!

To find out more about the PHYTO brand and what’s available in the US, check here; and to see the range of Phytoplage head here.