How to protect hair when swimming

When the temperatures start rising, a lot of people like to head to the pool to hang out with friends, have fun or keep fit. And it’s so good to dive in and cool off when the weather’s so out! Unfortunately, we all know that the water in swimming pools contains chlorine which can dry out not only our skin, but our hair too. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go swimming. It’s too good an exercise and provides so many benefits that you should still go to your swimming pool. You just have to be careful and follow some easy tips to keep your hair in good condition during and after swimming. But first, you need to know what you need to protect it from:

Chlorine and copper damage hair

Chlorine is a common disinfectant that needs to be present in high levels in swimming pools to sanitize the water and keep it bacteria and virus free. But while this allows a lot to people to swim safely, it also strips moisture from your hair. The result? Hair that’s dry, brittle and prone to split ends and breaking. But that’s not all. Water in swimming pools often have high ph levels and when copper, also present in the water, comes into contact with it, it oxidizes and makes hair turn a very unflattering shade of green!

How to protect hair when swimming

All that doesn’t sound too good but don’t worry. You can still enjoy swimming without your hair having to suffer from it. You just need to protect it. Here’s how:

1. Wear a cap

Swimming caps aren’t very flattering and won’t make you look stylish but they are pretty useful. They protect your hair from getting in contact with the water, so that chlorine won’t damage it. And once you take it off, you’re good to go without having to blowdry or style your hair. Isn’t that a great plus? :)

2. Wash hair with normal water before swimming

Dry hair has the ability to absorb water quickly but we don’t want it to absorb too much water with chlorine as that will only damage hair. To avoid that from happening, rinse your hair well and thoroughly with normal water. This way, your hair will be saturated with it and won’t absorb too much water with chlorine.

3. Conditioners and oils are your best friends

Another thing you can do before going to the swimming pool is to apply conditioner on your strands. Conditioner coats hair and creates a barrier between your hair and chlorine, keeping your hair moisturized and in good condition. In alternative, you can use either Olive Oil or Coconut Oil. They work just as well as conditioner.

4. Shampoo and condition hair afterwards

Once you get out of the water, wash you hair with clarifying shampoo to get every trace of chlorine and copper out of your hair. Then, apply some conditioner to replenish hair of the moisture it lost and avoid dryness.

How do you protect your hair when you go swimming?

Source: leozaza
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  1. says

    Thanks for this article! It’s really useful since I’m going to take a summer vacation at the end of month. All the time I go to the sea my hair starts to go crazy on me, sometimes I look like a lion. I feel that he is not having a good time and that salt from the sea is damaging my hair. I wash my hair every day, I apply conditioner and hair mask and I even spray it on the beach all time when I’m not wearing a hat…but all it’s in vain. When I return home….my hair is not shiny anymore and looks so dull. :(
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    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Tavia, I’m glad you found the tips useful and have lots of fun on your vacation! That’s awful but sadly the sun and seawater can damage hair badly. Try soaking hair with water beore going into the sea so that your hair won’t absorb too much salt water and shampoo and condition as soon as you come home. Also, applying a leave-in conditioner before going to the beach may be useful. I hope these tips help and that your hair won’t be so bad on your holiday this time. :)

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Dao, those that dye hair should be extra careful as salt water and chlorine can strip the color. I think in those cases wearing a cap is always best but conditioner will work quite well too. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Heidi, I agree. You don’t feel uncomfortable if everyone’s wearing it and it’s the best way to protect your hair. :)

  2. lalimamma says

    I’ve been swimming over 30 years. I also have fair hair and I had to find ways to keep the brassiness and green out of my locks.

    Here’s my advice:

    Before the pool, rinse the hair with fresh water (shampoo will strip the natural oils and styling product that can add extra protection), make sure the whole head of hair is completely, soaking wet.

    Next, work a heavy conditioner through the hair from the scalp to the porous ends.

    Next, tie long hair up into a bun or pony tail (loosely so that you do not overstretch the hair and cause breakage) and cover with a heavy swimming cap like the granny caps or a silicone cap (the latex caps are too flimsy and can break with the lightest of tugs).

    After swimming, make sure to use a shampoo with stripping properties (unless you have colored hair) like baby shampoo (if you have colored hair, then only use color protecting shampoo) or chlorine removing specialty shampoos. Shampoo TWICE (once will clean the strand and the second with clean the scalp) and condition scalp to end.

    Rinse thoroughly and comb carefully with a wide tooth comb or pick.

    Even after I began to get low lights and highlights, this routine allowed me to swim competitively without looking like I lived at the pool, even though I did.


    • beautifulwithbrains says

      lalimamma, hi and thank you a lot for your tips and for sharing your routine. I’m sure a lot of people will find them very useful to protect their hair while swimming. :)


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