Since I was a kid, I’ve taking a pool-a-holic. My parents actually sent me to swimming lessons at our local public pool every summer until I was almost 12, and even after they stopped making me go, I liked swimming laps for exercise and lazily floating around on hot afternoons.
But, in my late teens, I just about swore off pools for good.
It happened one afternoon after I’d spent a couple of hours in a friend’s pool, as I had almost every afternoon that sweltering summer, and went home to take a shower. When I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I was horrified to discover that my hair had developed the ugliest green tinge that you could imagine.
I’ve got to be honest – my first reaction was to panic. Fortunately, my older sister was on hand to explain all the hazards that chlorine and metals commonly found in pool water can pose to a girl’s hair. While chlorine is definitely necessary to keep pool water clean and safe, it can do a serious number on your locks – especially if you’ve got fine, dry, damaged, color-treated or chemically-treated hair.
So if you plan to spend a lot of time in the pool this summer – and you don’t want to sport one of those old-fashioned bathing caps that looks like something your grandma would wear – you may want to keep these tips in mind. They can help keep your hair from turning green or drying out, so you can rock some seriously gorgeous locks all summer long.
Use Chlorine-Removing Shampoo
The best way to prevent that nasty green tint to your hair is wash with a chlorine-removing shampoo after each swim. These shampoos contain ingredients like tocopheryl acetate and sodium laureth sulfate that actually help break down the chlorine and remove the molecules from your hair. Use a product like UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Shampoo to wash your hair after every trip to the pool and you’ll be much less likely to wind up with chlorine damage.
Wet Hair Before Swimming
Another way to keep chlorine and other metals in pool water from damaging your hair is to soak your hair before you dive in. If your hair is already wet before it’s submerged in the pool water, it’ll be less likely to absorb the chlorinated water. You can pop your head under your shower’s spray to wet your hair or pour a little bottled water over your tresses if you’re away from home.
Rinse After Swimming
If you’re not able to wash your hair immediately after getting out of the pool, chlorine, metals and other chemicals in the pool water have a chance to sit on your hair and penetrate deeper, making damage much more likely. Even a quick rinse after swimming can help protect your hair, so if you’re away from home, try rinsing with bottled water or even a hose to keep your hair free of nasty chlorine. Club soda will do in a pinch as well.
Deep Condition Regularly
Chlorine damage not only turns your hair green – it can also dry your hair out, leaving it rough and frizzy. In addition to washing with a chlorine-removing shampoo, you’ve got to replace the moisture that pool water leaches from your hair to keep it healthy and shiny. Look for a conditioner that added protein to help repair and strengthen your hair. A leave-in product like Terax Life Drops Leave in Protein Conditioner is a great option because it’ll stay in your hair so it has the chance to fully penetrate the shaft. You may even want to spray your hair with the leave-in conditioner just before you go swimming to give it added strength before you hit the pool.