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Sun Hats – Why the Color of Your Hat Matters

By Taylor James


Updated on

If you plan on hitting the beach this summer, you probably have your swimwear and towel packed and ready to go. But what about your sun hat? Did you know that the color of your sun hat is as important as the style and material it’s made of?

The color of your sun hat matters because it’ll give you more protection from prolonged UV exposure and keep you cooler. The best color sun hat to wear is black or navy blue because dark colors absorb the most UV rays. Dark sun hats also keep you cooler as they absorb your body’s heat.

Check out our comprehensive guide to the sun hats below. You’ll learn:

  • Why it’s so important to wear a hat in the sun.
  • More about what color sun hat you should choose.
  • More information about the other important qualities you should look for in your summer headwear. 

Why Is It Important To Wear a Hat in the Sun?

If you spend any amount of time in the sun, it’s always important to be sun safe, which means doing your best to minimize direct exposure to the sun’s harmful rays by staying in the shade as much as possible, wearing sunscreen, and, of course, wearing a hat. 

Sun safety is so important because it takes only fifteen minutes of unprotected exposure on a day where the UV level is high to start to burn. The World Health Organization’s UV Index determines that any UV level above 6 (high) is dangerous.

You have probably experienced sunburn before, so you don’t need anyone to tell you how painful it is, but a sunburn is a big deal because it can also be life-threatening. 

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it only takes a minimum of five sunburns (or one blisteringly bad one) to double your risk of developing skin cancer. Distressingly, by the age of 70, a fifth of Americans will have skin cancer. Read more about UPF rating here.

sun hat

What Is the Best Color for a Sun Hat?

When choosing the right hat to protect you from the sun, most people understand that it’s crucial to pick one that’s the correct style and made of sun-protective material. However, many people overlook another important factor about sun hats, which is color.

The best color for a sun hat is either black or a similarly dark color like navy blue. Why? Well, the explanation is quite technical, but to put it simply, a black hat won’t only keep the sun’s rays from sizzling your skin to a crisp, but it’ll also keep you from overheating in the hot summer weather as well. The reason why is because dark colors absorb heat and UV rays much better than light colors do. 

Wearing a dark-colored hat is the best choice for sun protection because it will absorb more of the sun’s harmful UV rays. This doesn’t just mean the heat from the sun, though, as a black hat will also absorb the heat from your body, keeping you cool. 

However, if you don’t want to wear a dark-colored sun hat, you have other options. If you prefer a light-colored sun hat, choose one that’s brightly colored, such as red, yellow, or orange, because the richer a color is, the more UV rays are absorbed into it. 

Read more about things to consider about the color of hats in this article.

What Else Should I Look for in a Sun Hat?

Other important factors should be considered when choosing a sun hat. The style of the hat and the fabric it’s made of are also things to pay attention to when selecting one. There are detailed recommendations about the best choices of sun hats that have been outlined by leading government organizations. 

What Is the Best Style of Sun Hat?

Choosing the right style of sun hat can be a bit of an overwhelming choice. You go to the store and are presented with rows and rows of different styles that may all seem like they provide adequate sun protection, but there are some styles of sun hats that are better than others.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) have conducted thorough testing on the efficiency of four main types of sun hats. 

In Australia, sun safety is taken incredibly seriously due to the naturally hot and sunny climate and the high potential to be sunburnt even on overcast days. In fact, sun safety in Australia is so important that in most schools, the rule is that children aren’t allowed to play outside without a proper hat. 

ARPANSA’s tests were done on a brimmed hat, a bucket hat, a baseball cap, and a legionnaire’s hat, and the results showed that the styles with the best general protection were the brimmed, bucket, and legionnaire’s hats. A great choice for a sunhat that offers great protection is this Columbia hat on Amazon.

Baseball caps weren’t considered a good choice for sun protection as the brim of the hat does not extend all the way around the head, which means a person’s ears, side of the face, and back of the neck are all exposed to the sun and can be burnt.

Some other factors to consider when choosing a sun hat are finding one that’s light and easy to pack and, if you’re doing a lot of physical activity, finding one that you can secure with a chinstrap. 

These two things will not have much of an impact on the actual sun safety of the hat itself, but if your sun hat is easy to carry with you and also won’t get lost any time soon, you’re much more likely to want to wear it and therefore protect yourself from getting burnt. 

Ultimately, when it comes to choosing a good sun hat, pick one that has a wide brim that will offer you protection for your ears and neck, not just your face. You’re not limited to just brimmed, bucket, and legionnaire hats, though. Panama hats and fedoras with broad enough brims are also stylish and sun-safe choices. 

What Is the Best Material for a Sun Hat?

When it comes to a sun hat, the more artificial the material, the better. While this might seem strange, as we live in a world where we are conscious of wearing environmentally friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, when it comes to sun protection, synthetic materials do the job better than any others.

Look for hats made of fabrics such as nylon or polyester. The denser the material your hat is made of, the better. If the material is too thin, you won’t be protected from the sun. Also, if you do want to purchase a hat made of a natural material such as straw, make sure it has an inner lining, otherwise, you risk getting burnt through the small holes in the weave. Read more about the benefits of straw sun hats here.

Finally, many manufacturers now offer hats made of UPF material. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and the best rating is UPF50+. Don’t rely just on UPF material to keep you safe from the sun, though, as you’ll still want a sun hat that has a broad brim. 

Final Words

Sun safety is always important, but especially during the hot summer months. Make sure you protect yourself properly with a good-quality sun hat. Choose one that is a dark color for the best sun protection, and make sure you choose a wide-brimmed style made of a synthetic material to ensure maximum protection.

Finding an excellent sun hat is easy to do once you know what you’re looking for, and as soon as you have found the one, you’ll be able to enjoy the warmth of the summer sun with confidence.

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.