The unbearable heat during the past few months may have tempted you to take more showers than usual and take the occasional dips to the pool. While a swim can be refreshing, constant exposure to pool water can take its toll on one’s hair. Hair damage is often a fair exchange for that fun swim.
Chlorine, a chemical disinfectant with the primary purpose of killing bacteria in pool water, is harsh on the hair. Keep your crowning glory in tip-top shape by protecting your hair from chlorine-filled pool water in seven simple steps.
If you are set on showing off your fabulous tresses at the pool or do not want to be caught wearing a tacky swimming cap, be sure to follow the tips below to protect your mane.
#1 Wet Your Hair Before Taking a Dip
Drenching your hair in the shower will help to prevent the fast absorption of chlorine into your hair. While it may not be obvious, our hair is actually similar to a sponge – if your hair is dry and you immediately jump in a chlorinated pool, your hair will suck up all the nasty chlorine like there’s no tomorrow.
#2 Wet Your Hair, Don’t Shampoo it
Sudsy shampoo, which mostly contains synthetic materials, may react negatively with chlorine water. Shampoo also causes your hair to dry out making the negative effects of chlorine more pronounced.
#3 Rinse Your Hair Thoroughly After Swimming
Make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly to remove traces of chlorine. When you are sure it has been 100% rinsed, that’s the time you shampoo. Be sure to put on conditioner that contains moisturizing agents and proteins in order to restore the natural balance of your hair.
#4 Use a Clarifying Shampoo
Make sure to get all the nasty goop out of your hair by using a clarifying shampoo or other natural counterparts such as apple cider vinegar. If you swim regularly, use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of the chemical buildup in your hair. It’s like a detoxifier for your hair.
#5 Use Oil to Moisturize
If your hair has dried out due to improper care and too much chlorine exposure, try slathering on some coconut oil in order to restore moisture and shine to your dreary locks. Chlorine strips away the acid mantle that characterizes healthy hair, but coconut oil restores the softness and silkiness, even if it feels a bit acidic and oily upon application.
#6 Restorative Salon Treatments
If you are an avid swimmer, schedule restorative treatments at your favorite salon. Or, you can buy those big tubs of special hot oils or deep conditioners that you can use at home on a weekly basis. This helps to prevent dryness and breakage.
#7 Forget the Dryers and Straighteners
Avoid blowing your hair dry and using straightening and curling irons right after swimming, and during days in between swims. Don’t vigorously rub your hair with a towel, too. Pat it dry slowly and style it using a wide tooth comb.
You should take extra steps to take care of your hair especially if it has been previously permed, dyed, or chemically treated. These hair types require more stringent care because the chemicals that have been applied on the hair may react with the chlorinated water, making it even more brittle.
When all else fails….wear a swimming cap.
This is a simple and no fuss solution, but may not be your first choice. After all, a swimming cap will definitely not add stylish points to your swimwear. However, they are a must if you don’t want to spend extra time primping and fussing over your hair before and after swimming in a pool. It’s practical and easy – and affordable, too.
Added Tip: If you know where to look, you can find fashionable swim caps that come in many designs. I’ve seen flower-adorned swim caps and those that are shaped like retro-turbans. They’ll probably expose a little bit of the front part of the hair, but that’s better than exposing all your tresses.