Skin and hair care for kitesurfers

Summer, sun, kitesurfing – it’s the perfect happy-combo! Unfortunately not for our hair and skin … UV-radiation, water and salt can cause irreversible damage to them. So they need more attention and extra care. Of course the hair topic affects rather women than men. But nobody gets around protecting his skin from the sun! In the last few years I spent many weeks in the summer heat for kitesurfing – and so I had enough time to try different sun- and hair care strategies & hairstyles and to collect tips from others. So I could create my personal top combo for skin and hair. Et voilá, here it is!

Skin and hair care for kitesurfers –  my personal routine

No question: Sun protection is a must for kitesurfers.  I would never go with a lower UV protection factor than 50+. Even if I usually am not susceptible for sunburns, I experienced some after thinking that sunscreen with factor 30 is enough for a longer kitesession. But one should never underestimate the reflexion from the water. And even if clouds are dimming UV-rays still a percentage of them gets through. So no excuses for applying sun protection! It’s not fun when you have to quit your session cause you used a too low protection factor.

If it happened that you got a sunburn or you plan to spend many hours on the water, surfleggings (for the girls ;)) are a good thing. Not only that they look awesome – they offer really good protection from the sun too.

Surfleggings offer a good sun protection. Don’t forget to put on sunscreen after every kite session. (c) Helmut Fuchs/kitejoy

It’s also important to reapply sunscreen after you get out of the water – even when you used a super waterproof one. Don’t use it sparingly (about 35 ml for the whole body!) and and don’t forget often neglected body parts like back of the knees, feet, hands and ears. As I get pimples when using oily sunscreen in my face and I also don’t like to get all the oily stuff into my eyes on the water, I use an oil free gel or fluid like this one as a basic product.

Please note: Unfortunately it’s a fact that through reapplying you can’t prolong the overall protection time of the sunscreen you use, you can just maintain it. And, if you spend some hours on the water, you should stay in the shadow whilst you’re on the beach to minimize the risk for a sunstroke. Wearing a cap and sunglasses helps you to protect your head and eyes. Unfortunately I can’t kite with sunglasses (I tried it, but I don’t feel comfortable with it) – but of course I know that the eyes also suffer from too much sun.

Inbetween your sessions you should spend time in the shadow to allow your body to recover from the sun. (c) Helmut Fuchs/kitejoy

If you are have sensitive skin, don’t want to get too much tan or to protect yourself as good as possible, zinc paste is the best choice. It’s a physical sun blocker, what means that the UV-radiation can’t get through it. There are zinc creams with not so much zinc in it, these are the more transparent ones. But a real zinc paste is white – also on the skin where you apply it. Ok, this might not look too sexy – but better than having to refrain from going for another session!

Especially the forehead, nose, cheeks and lips are very exposed to the sun. Although my skin is not so sensitive I often use coloured zink sunscreen as a sunblocker for nose and cheeks (which looks funny on photos too ;)).

Coloured zinc sunscreen is a good choice for protecting nose and cheeks from too much sun. (c) Helmut Fuchs/kitejoy

Skin and hair care for kitesurfers – how to protect (long) hair

Those who kite a lot and don’t wear their hair ultra short have to take good care for it – especially if one spends a lot of time in salty water. A highly effective tip: Cut your tips before you go on a kite trip (particularly if you have long hair). If the tips are already damaged, they get even more soaked in the water and offer more attack surface for sun and salt.

For the beach and the water I swear by natural coconut oil. I don’t use UV-protection-spray for my hair which is one reason for my super light blond hair during summertime. But to be honest it would do no harm if I would use it – quite the contrary!

Leaving your hair open looks awesome for pics, but it might not be the most functional hairstyle for kitesurfing. (c) Helmut Fuchs/kitejoy

Important: Tempting as it is to let your hair dry with the saltwater in (yes, beach waves look awesome) – if you love your hair, better let it be. I speak from experience. So the best is to rinse the hair properly with fresh water and then comb through it, whether with conditioner (for the sake of environment please use natural products without any harmful chemicals, especially when you plan to go for another session), or – my favourite product – with cold-pressed, native coconut or olive oil.

For combing I love the Tangle Teezer. But I also know girls who don’t like it at all and indeed swear by a comb with blunt, big spikes. Just try and find out what your hair likes best! By the way: During summer I avoid to use shampoo every day – and I also use only small amounts, cause my scalp reacts sensitively to it. So on some days I just rinse my hair with fresh water and put some hair care on.

Despite regular care the hair may get strained through sun and salty water. (c) Helmut Fuchs/kitejoy

Even if I regularly pamper my hair – after a kite-summer they are quite strained. Last year I tried Olaplex for the first time and immediately loved it! After the rebuilding of broken hair bonds my hair felt and looked like new for some months. The tips of my hair are usually quite fine and dry, although I merely have spliss – but after the Olaplex-treatment they look really good. My hair feels stronger and looks more shiny, even without conditioner. The restoring treatment can be done together with the hair colour, too. So with Olaplex (two times a year), coconut oil and avocado-hair-masks I can let my hair grow now.

Tip: I like to use biological coconut oil for my face and as an after-sun-treatment for the body too. Coconut oil is also supposed to help when you have a sunburn as it has a cooling effect, is a natural radical catcher and support the cells with important nutrients.

Skin and hair care for kitesurfers – the best kite hairstyle

How does the ideal hairstyle for kitegirls look like?  Of course open long hair looks awesome – but in the wind it can be annoying if you have to put your hair out of your face all the time during a session. However, what kind of style you prefer: If the hairstyle has a parting, don’t forget to apply sunscreen there!

Lange Haare beim Kiten zu einem Zopf flechten – so weht einem nichts ins Gesicht und die Haare werden geschont. (c) Girlzactive

Lots of surfgirls swear by braids, as this style is the best way to avoid hair damage. Instead when you wear a ponytail it can easily happen that the hair breaks at the position of the hair tie. Although it might not be ideal (due to the position of the hair ties …), my favourite kite hairstyle is the “double bun”. As I don’t want to get my hair damaged too much, I only use hair ties without a metal- ore plastic part and I don’t tighten them very hard. And I only wear them from time to time – as braids are more hair-friendly. When it’s cold I like to leave my hair open and wear a neopren lined surfbeanie during my kitesessions.

What about your personal skin and hair care routine for kite days? I would love to get some more input and ideas!


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3. March 2017 3:33


1. March 2017 7:30

Hi An Ja! Yeah you’re right, coconut oil is the best natural hair remedy for before and after going under the sun. Besides that I use also pomelo oil (you can boil the pomelo skin)

20. February 2017 5:24

Hi An Ja! Schöner Post! Ich stimme dir in allem zu. Sonnenschutz ist sooo wichtig. Meine liebste ist bis jetzt. Und rashguard, leggings und pink zinc. Meine Haare sind gottseidank recht locker drauf ( ab und zu Kokosöl, ein grober Kamm und das ganze Jahr kein Fön, weil ich dafür zu ungeduldig bin). Schwöre auch auf Franzosenzopf für freie Sicht. Wenn möglich, gehe ich zwischen 11 und 2 nicht in die Sonne.
Gibt es nachhaltige Conditioner? Hast du da einen Tipp? Würde sonst eher beim Kokosöl bleiben.. oder Olive…

19. February 2017 17:39

Love it! Pretty much all the stuff I love to use as well but you summed it up in an easy guide! Yihaaa all set dir the next kite session!