How to Protect Your Hair from Harmful Air Pollution

As with your skin, air pollution can have a negative impact on your hair. We’re covering the ways you can protect your hair from pollution.

Your skin and hair are the first parts of our body to be exposed to air pollution. Air pollution can do a number on your skin, and protective creams and lotions can help to prevent any serious damage from being done. Hair, on the other hand, is often left to little protection when it comes to battling air pollution and environmental factors.

Air pollution is never good news, but when it comes to protecting your hair from smog and particulate matter, it turns out you’re probably already practicing several preventative measures.

How Does Air Pollution Affect Your Hair?

Because hair is often unprotected, it’s very susceptible to air pollution damage. Soot, dirt, dust, and gases can cause scalp irritation, dryness, breakage and even premature baldness. If you follow most beauty and style advice, you put a considerable amount of product in your hair. Between serums, sprays, and lotions, hair care experts are inadvertently making your hair more susceptible to attracting and collecting air pollution.

And while some people can go completely product-free, for others it’s not necessarily possible if you want to achieve a particular style. It’s important that you’re choosing the right products. Diane Minar, senior scientist at Nexxus New York Salon Care knows the pitfalls of significant air pollution, living and working in a major urban environment like New York City. She offers her take on the air pollution vs. hair situation:

Because it’s often essential to layer several products to achieve the style you want, if any of those product textures are sticky or heavy, they can act like a magnet and attract all of those elements to attach to hair which can make your hair look and feel dirty prematurely. Sticky products can be dust collectors. So, if you’re trying to get a few days out of your blowout, choosing the right styling products are crucial.

Some people are allergic to the dust, dirt, and grime that makes up particulate matter, causing damage to the hair resulting in breakage and hair loss. Hair loss affects roughly more than 70% of the population and only increases in places where pollution is more prevalent.

Specialists in the hair transplant industry have seen an increase in their services, especially in urban environments where air quality is worse and has a greater adverse effect on the body. Air pollution affects the hair just as much as it does the skin due to the microscopic nature of PM 2.5 (very small particulate matter) which can infiltrate the lungs and get lodged in the scalp:

Today air is heavily loaded with dust, matter, lead, smoke, nickel, ammonia, arsenic and hydrocarbon which does not only put adverse effects on our interior health but also affect our hair very badly. The reason behind this is, toxic content present in air enter into skin of scalp and hinder the capability of hair to generate fiber. Toxic content present in air also get entered in blood stream and hinder the growth of hair. These problems get more serious in city areas or area nearby industries. But the problem is not restricted out of your house only, even pollution come from kitchen fire, smoking tobacco, chemical and common dust also add to it.

The good news about all this bad news for your luscious locks? There are some simple preventative measures that you’re probably already doing that can help keep your hair healthy and protected from the dangers of air pollution.

Protecting Your Hair from Air Pollution

Wear a Hat

As if you needed another excuse to wear a hat on your next outing! Hats are not just for fashion, they actually can serve a purpose too. Covering your hair and scalp is a good way to protect it from any airborne particles that could be toxic and harmful. It’s also helpful in shading your eyes and face from the sun’s harmful UV rays.



Staying hydrated is good for your hair, your skin and pretty much every aspect of your health. Pollution and other environmental factors dry out your hair and scalp, but thankfully there are plenty of moisturizing regiments to counteract this. Look for hydrating masks that moisturize and strengthen hair’s natural hydro-lipid layer, which coats the hair to help keep it hydrated. Try: Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Brilliance Mask as it has a “light-as-a-feather” texture.


Deep Condition

Start a deep conditioning routine weekly. Deep conditioners are used to repair damaged hair, penetrating deep into the hair hydrating and repairing it. Over-styling with color and heat in addition to the effects of pollution and the environment do a number on your hair and a deep conditioner is a sure-fire way to help keep it healthy. Check out this list of the best deep conditioners of 2017 to find the one that’s right for you.


Adjust Your Styling Routine

Hair that has been exposed to excessive amounts of air pollution becomes damaged, feeling brittle and making breakage and split ends more likely. Keep this in mind when using heat from a straighter, curling iron or hairdryer. Minimize the amount of heat you use and always use a heat-protecting product. Be careful when brushing and styling as damaged hair is more susceptible to fall out.

How do you protect your hair from harmful pollution? What products have you found are most effective? Share with us!