How To Protect Hair In Sauna

How To Protect Hair In Sauna? [Definitive Guide]



17 MIN READ | Murch 21, 2024

Having more than two sauna sessions a week can highly damage your hair follicles. To safeguard your hair in the sauna, apply a protective oil barrier before entering. 

But only applying the oil won’t be enough. There are required some post-sauna cares to protect your hair from further damaging. Rinsing hair with lukewarm water can be one of those protective measures. Also, try to avoid heavy styling products beforehand. 

To understand which methods are helpful to protect your hairs from sauna, you must know the safe styling products as well. To retain your hair health, these valuable insights will help you to unlock the secrets to preserve your hair’s vibrancy. 

What Is Sauna?

about suana

A sauna is a tiny chamber or enclosed space that generates heat and induces sweating for relaxation, detoxification, and overall health improvement. Saunas were traditionally created in Finland and heated with wood or hot stones. 

Modern saunas may generate heat using electric heaters or infrared technologies. Saunas are commonly heated to temperatures between 150°F and 195°F (65°C and 90°C), though temperatures can vary depending on personal preference and sauna type. 

A sauna’s high heat and humidity open pores, relax muscles, and stimulate sweating, which is said to provide a variety of health benefits such as stress relief, better circulation, and detoxification. Saunas are typically found at spas, fitness facilities, and private households, and they are frequently used as part of a wellness or relaxation ritual.

Why Protecting Your Hair Matters? 

As we immerse ourselves in the rejuvenating environment of the sauna, it’s crucial to recognize the potential impact of its intense heat on our hair’s well-being. Understanding why protecting our hair matters in this setting is essential for maintaining its strength, shine, and overall vitality.

  • Retains Natural Oils: Sauna heat strips hair of essential oils, causing dryness.
  • Prevents Breakage: Protects hair, reducing breakage and split ends.
  • Preserves Color: Minimizes color fading, especially for treated hair.
  • Maintains Texture: Prevents roughness due to moisture loss.
  • Supports Scalp Health: Reduces scalp irritation and dandruff risk.
  • Ensures Long-term Health: Maintains hair integrity and resilience.
  • Maximizes Benefits: Allows full enjoyment of sauna sessions without hair damage.

By embracing proactive measures and nourishing practices, we ensure that our locks remain resilient and radiant, even in the face of environmental challenges. Let our mindfulness towards hair health in the sauna reflect our broader commitment to self-care, empowering us to emerge not only relaxed but with hair that exudes vitality and beauty.

How To Protect Hair In Sauna (Explained Process) 

Protecting your hair in the sauna entails taking easy yet efficient steps to reduce heat damage and maintain its health and attractiveness. You can protect your locks and get the most out of your sauna experience by doing a few crucial actions before, during, and after your session.

Pre-treatment With Oil 

Before subjecting your hair to the intense heat of the sauna, it’s crucial to apply a protective barrier to prevent moisture loss and damage. One highly effective method is pre-treating your hair with a nourishing oil, such as coconut or argan oil. 

Begin by applying a small amount of oil to your palms, then gently massage it into your hair’s mid-lengths and ends. These areas are most susceptible to dehydration and damage, so ensuring thorough coverage is essential.

The oil acts as a protective shield, sealing in moisture and preventing the sauna’s heat from stripping away your hair’s natural oils. This not only keeps your hair hydrated but also provides added protection against breakage and split ends. 

Enhance Your Hair’s Shine

Additionally, the emollient properties of the oil can impart a smooth, glossy appearance to your hair, enhancing its overall look and feel. Be sure to evenly distribute the oil throughout your hair, paying extra attention to areas that are drier or more damaged.

By incorporating this simple yet effective step into your pre-sauna routine, you can significantly reduce the risk of heat damage and maintain healthy, vibrant hair.

Wear a Shower Cap or Towel 

To avoid moisture loss and damage, protect your hair from direct heat and humidity exposure in the sauna. To accomplish this, cover your hair with a shower cap or wrap it in a towel before entering the sauna. 

A shower cap or towel functions as a barrier, retaining moisture and preventing it from evaporating from the hair shaft. This helps to keep the hair hydrated and prevents the cuticles from getting dry and brittle. It also keeps environmental elements like chlorine or mineral deposits in the sauna from damaging your hair’s health or appearance.

Choose a shower cap or towel made from lightweight, breathable, and absorbent materials. Avoid plastic shower caps since they might cause excessive sweating and discomfort. Instead, select a fabric that permits airflow while still protecting your hair.

Wearing a shower cap or towel in the sauna protects your hair from heat damage and keeps it healthy and vibrant.

Limit Sauna Sessions 

While sauna sessions can be beneficial to your hair, they should be used in moderation to avoid potential harm. Prolonged contact to the sauna’s high heat can cause dehydration and structural damage to your hair shaft. 

As a result, it’s best to limit your sauna sessions to 15-20 minutes each.If you are new to sauna use or have very sensitive hair, begin with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration as your hair adjusts to the heat. 

Pay attention to how your hair reacts and modify accordingly to avoid overexposure. Consider the frequency of your sauna sessions. While regular sauna use can bring benefits such as increased blood circulation and purification, it is critical to allow your hair to heal between sessions. 

To keep your hair healthy and avoid over-drying or damage, limit your sauna visits to one to two per week. Limiting the duration and frequency of your sauna sessions allows you to reap the benefits of heat treatment without jeopardizing the health and integrity of your hair.

Post-sauna Care 

Following your sauna session, it’s critical to provide your hair the hydration and nutrients it requires to recuperate from the heat. Begin by rinsing your hair with lukewarm water to eliminate any sweat, oil, or product residue left over after your sauna experience. 

To replenish moisture and restore the hair’s natural balance, apply a moisturizing conditioner next. Look for conditioners that contain glycerin, panthenol, or coconut oil, which can moisturize and soften the hair without weighing it down. 

Hot water should be avoided because it might cause further drying of the hair and scalp. Instead, use lukewarm or cool water to assist seal the hair cuticles and retain moisture.

Consider adding a leave-in conditioner or hair mask to your post-sauna routine for additional hydration and protection. 

These products can provide extra nourishment and hydration, leaving your hair silky, smooth, and invigorated. By following these post-sauna care instructions, you can help to reduce the effects of heat exposure and keep your hair healthy and vibrant.

Use Sauna-Safe Hair Care Product – Choose Wisely

Protecting your hair in the sauna starts with choosing the right hair care products. Avoid heavy styling products and alcohol-based treatments to prevent damage and maintain healthy locks during your sauna sessions.

Avoid Heavy Styling Products 

Before your sauna session, steer clear of heavy styling products like gels, waxes, and pomades, as well as alcohol-based treatments. These products can melt, leaving unpleasant residue on your hair and scalp. They also strip away natural oils, leaving your hair dry and brittle, especially under the sauna’s extreme heat.

Be Cautious With Chemical-treated Products 

If your hair is chemically treated, avoid using harsh chemicals before the sauna to prevent color fading and damage. Similarly, skip leave-in treatments like serums and oils, as they may trap moisture and make your hair feel greasy during the sauna session. Opt for mild, water-based alternatives to keep your hair healthy and vibrant.

What Are The Effects Of Sauna On Hair?

Sauna sessions can be beneficial or detrimental to hair health. On the plus side, sauna heat can increase blood circulation to the scalp, facilitating improved nutrient delivery to the hair follicles and possibly boosting hair growth. 

Sauna sessions can also help cleanse the scalp of excess oil, filth, and pollutants, resulting in a healthier environment for hair growth. Furthermore, the steam from a sauna can open up the hair cuticles, allowing conditioning treatments or hair masks to penetrate deeper, resulting in softer, more manageable hair.

However, sauna heat might be bad for your hair. The high heat can deplete the hair of its natural oils, causing dryness, frizz, and brittleness. Long-term exposure to high temperatures can weaken the hair shaft, resulting in breakage, split ends, and overall damage. 

Furthermore, heat and humidity can speed up the fading of hair color, especially for people who have colored or treated hair, resulting in dullness and a loss of vitality. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Wash My Hair After a Sauna Session?

It’s recommended to rinse your hair with lukewarm water after a sauna session to remove any sweat, oil, or product buildup. Follow up with a gentle shampoo if necessary, and use a hydrating conditioner to replenish moisture.

Can I Wear a Hair Mask In The Sauna?

It’s not advisable to wear a hair mask in the sauna as the heat and steam may cause the mask to melt or become too heavy on your hair. Instead, consider applying a hair mask after your sauna session as part of your post-sauna hair care routine.

How Often Can I Go To The Sauna Without Damaging My Hair?

It’s important to listen to your hair and scalp and adjust your sauna frequency accordingly. Generally, limiting sauna sessions to 1-2 times per week is recommended to prevent excessive heat and moisture exposure, which can lead to dryness and damage.

Final Words

Incorporating sauna use into our self-care routine may be a revitalizing experience for both body and mind. However, keep in mind that our hair needs to be protected from the sauna’s extreme heat and dampness. 

We can keep our hair healthy, lustrous, and resilient by pre-treating it with nourishing oils, wearing protective coverings, limiting our sauna sessions, and performing post-sauna care. By prioritizing hair health in the sauna, we may fully enjoy the relaxing and purification advantages of sauna sessions while keeping our hair looking and feeling great.

So, the next time you go to the sauna, remember to give your hair the attention and protection it needs.


Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.

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