These Sun Hats Are Chic and Protect Your Skin From Harmful Rays
"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."
We updated this article in May 2023 to add more information about each featured product, based on extensive research done by our team.
By now, you know the importance of wearing sunscreen when you step outside. But have you considered wearing a hat too? In addition to being super stylish, protection sun hats help offer an extra layer against the sun’s skin-damaging UV rays.
It’s a good idea to wear a hat and sunscreen in the sun, says Heidi Waldorf, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Waldorf Dermatology Aesthetics in New York. The reason: “Hats block your skin from ultraviolet rays and provide sun protection that doesn’t wear off.” (Remember: Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours because its protection wanes throughout the day—and most people don’t apply enough for max protection to begin with.)
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), wearing sun protective clothing, like a sun hat, can help ward off skin cancer. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, which account for 90% of all skin cancers, often appear on the head and neck—and hats specifically keep these areas covered and protected. But we can’t stress it enough: You’ll always want to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above—even if you’re donning a sun hat.
Our top picks
Ready to shop for your perfect, summer-ready hat? Below are the best sun hats for every type of activity.
Sun Straw Hat UPF 50
With UPF 50, this chic straw hat is packed with sun protection and style. “It offers just the right amount of curve in the way it relaxes without being too floppy and cumbersome,” says style expert and QVC guest host Debbie Wright. You can also fit it to your head with the adjustable velcro strap. Bonus: It’s foldable and packable, making it easy to stash into your beach bag. One reviewer said, “This hat is perfect for spring dresses and beach looks. The material is great and well worth the price!”
Wide Brim Bucket Hat
Going on an adventure? This bucket hat is perfect for a hike or boating trip. It boasts a UPF of 50+ and is waterproof, in case you get caught in the rain. Its lightweight breathability and affordability make it a smart addition to your activewear collection, notes Wright. One reviewer said, “Love this hat! Great price for something so durable.”
Wide Brim Floppy Straw Hat
You don’t have to compromise style for sun protection. This sun hat offers both UPF 50+ and a durable polybraid in over 30 gorgeous colors. The 5.5-inch brim offers extra protection, and it’s foldable for easy packing. Plus, it includes a moisture-wicking sweatband and a chic bow knot. One reviewer said, “Perfect beach hat! Folded nicely for the plane ride and took shape quickly!”
Black Wide Brim Straw Hat
With UPF 50+, this wide-brimmed sun hat thoroughly protects your head, face, and neck. “You can crumple, pack, and fold it, and it will bounce right back into shape,” says style expert Erin Busbee. It comes in a few different shades and rings in at under $20. The hat also features an interior rope to adjust the size of the hat. One reviewer said, “This is the best hat ever! It rolls up easily and goes back to its original form. Was great for my suitcase!”
Victoria Fedora Sun Hat UPF 50+
The words adjustable, packable, and colorful should push this hat to the top of your shopping list. It’s available in 11 colors and offers UPF 50+ protection. We love that the poly-straw hat has a comfortable cotton lining for versatile sun protection in all outdoor activities. One reviewer said, “It still holds its shape like a pro, a wide enough brim to provide sun protection, small enough to be easy to wear for neighborhood walks, beach vacays, kids birthdays…done it all.”
Wide Brim Roll-up UPF 50+ Straw Sun Visor
Functional and cute, this roll-up visor boasts UPF 50+ protection and is water-repellent, making it the perfect option for your trip to the beach. “This one is a no-brainer,” says personal stylist Lana Blanc, founder of The Blanc House. Dr. Waldorf gives it her stamp of approval as well. One reviewer said, “I used it to shield my face in the Caribbean and it did a good job. The hat is also able to roll during travel and unroll back to its normal shape. It was a great buy!”
Shorty Lux Visor
“Developed with the help of dermatologists, this neoprene visor has an adjustable, transparent PVC lens and a whopping 99% UV protection,” Blanc says. It’s a great option for those who spend their summer days on a tennis court or golf course. Just be sure to slather extra sunscreen on your face and neck since those areas will still be exposed. Wearing a drape is also a good idea. One reviewer said, “Perfect shield from the UV light and I can see through the visor clearly. Absolutely essential if you want to avoid developing sun spots.”
Reversible Short-Brimmed Bucket Hat
Bucket hats offer a classic look that never goes out of style. “This one is made of durable cotton canvas, giving it a casual feel,” says Busbee. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, unbleached cotton contains natural lignins that act as UV absorbers, making this fabric a good choice for a sun hat. Madewell customers give it high ratings, although you’ll definitely want to size up. One reviewer said, “This sweet little bucket covers my current hair issues, protects my face from the sun when I go for a walk, and in general just gives me a happy lift.”
Aquacade Swim Visor UPF 50+
Sporty types will love this wide-brimmed visor that stays in place no matter the activity. It’s made with a polyester fabric, which the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends for sun protection, and it boasts a UPF of 50+. Bonus: There’s a hole for your ponytail to fit through. One reviewer said, “I absolutely love this hat! It’s great for sun protection and rain!”
AIRFLO Sun Hat
With a broad brim and UPF of 50+, the Airflow hat protects your skin from UV rays. The mesh around the crow provides ventilation, preventing you from getting a sweaty scalp. Plus, it’s water-resistant, so you can enjoy all the water sports you want while keeping your skin safe. It’s also made from 100% recycled nylon for a sustainable twist on a super cute hat. One reviewer said, “I bought this for its larger brim and better airflow. Love it. If you are serious about buying a quality head covering, Tilley is the one to choose.”
Wide Bucket Fishing Cap
Need something a bit more intense? Sun rays will have a hard time getting through this hat with its UPF 50+ protection, 4-inch brim, and removable face drape. This hat offers full coverage of your face, head, and neck, allowing just your eyes to peek through. Snag it in a crisp white, steel gray, soft tan, navy, light blue, purple, or pink. One reviewer raved, “It covers the sides, the back of my neck, part of the chest, and the face, of course. And the material is so light, did great in water, and dries up easily.”
Jo Straw Rancher Hat
This gorgeous hat has UPF 50+ protection and comes in five sizes with an adjustable interior hook and loop strap for a customizable fit. The hat is woven from straw and features a grosgrain ribbon that circles the crown and brim of the hat. One reviewer even shared the hat with her husband and wrote, “I bought this hat for myself for Easter and it looks great on my husband as well! Well made and a great fit.”
Women’s Ultrabraid X Large Brim Hat
This extra-large sun hat provides UPF 50+ protection while offering a massive amount of sun protection with an 8-inch brim. Plus, the adjustable sizing tie offers the perfect and most comfortable fit. One reviewer said, “I love this hat!... I received so many compliments and questions on where to purchase this hat!”
Women’s Medium Brim Cotton Hat
Made from 100% cotton, this hat protects your face and neck while feeling light and breathable. It includes an inner sweatband, UPF 50+ protection, and a 2.5-inch brim for medium protection you can wear anywhere. One reviewer raved, “Loved the size of the brim of this hat. Not too small as my face is not tiny, but not too large as I am not very tall. The brim is shapeable and protected my face well.”
Women’s Victoria Sun Hat
This ultra-lightweight hat comes in 20+ colors to fit your style and compliment your look while you’re on the go. The straw hat is easily packable, making it perfect for your travels, and offers superior UV protection. One reviewer said, “It is VERY light on my head, adjusts nicely, and breezy through the lightweight woven top.”
How to choose the best sun protection hat
✔️ Go wide: Not all sun hats are created equal. “Generally, a 4-inch brim around the entire circumference of the hat is needed to protect the face, neck, eyes, and ears,” Dr. Waldorf says. Visors can be worn for sun protection, as well, but the brim should be super wide, practically wrapping around the head, she adds.
You’ll also want to avoid baseball caps unless they have a drape. “A regular baseball cap is not sufficient—they’re designed to keep the glare of the sun out of your eyes, not to protect your skin,” notes Dr. Waldorf.
✔️ Pay attention to color: When it comes to the fabric, go for hats with a darkly-colored, tightly-woven fabric like denim, canvas, wool, or synthetic fibers, which can effectively shield against harmful UV rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. To check the coverage of the fabric, shine a flashlight through it to see which areas are shaded and which are exposed, suggests
Debra Jaliman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City and author of Skin Rules. If you can see through the fabric, UV radiation can reach your skin.
✔️ Scan the label: There are also hats with built-in UV protection, which can make shopping a little easier. Go for hats that have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 30 or above, says Dr. Jaliman.
What is UPF?
Ultraviolet Protection Factor, or UPF, represents how much UV radiation (both UVB and UVA rays) a fabric allows to reach your skin. In order to earn the Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of approval, a fabric must have a UPF of at least 30. Anywhere between UPF 30 to 49 is very good protection, while UPF 50+ qualifies as excellent.
How we chose the best sun protection hats
We spoke to skin and style experts Heidi Waldorf, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Waldorf Dermatology Aesthetics in New York, Debra Jaliman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City and author of Skin Rules, style expert and QVC guest host Debbie Wright, style expert Erin Busbee, and personal stylist Lana Blanc, founder of The Blanc House. We also reviewed hundreds of real user reviews to determine the best options on the market.
Why trust us
For more than 70 years, Prevention has been a leading provider of trustworthy health information, empowering readers with practical strategies to improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Our editors interview medical experts to help guide our health-focused product selections. Additionally, Prevention also examines hundreds of reviews—and often conducts personal testing done by our staff—to help you make informed decisions.
You Might Also Like