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Pool Hair 101


With summer in full swing, we’re all looking for ways to cool off.

The beach is one of my favorite spots to spend a hot day, but if you don’t live near a coast, lake or river, the pool is a pretty good substitute – whether you want to take a quick dip, swim a few laps for exercise, or even just work on your tan, a pool’s got you covered.

Unfortunately, the pool isn’t always kind to your hair.

That’s because pool water is chlorinated, which means it can dry and discolor your hair if you’re not careful.

But even if you don’t plan on getting in the water, the hot air, humidity, and harsh UV rays from the sun can do a number on your tresses too.

Here are a few tips for looking after your locks when you’re going to hit the pool so you can banish bad hair days all summer long.

Prep Hair

Preparing your hair for a day at the pool is key if you want to keep it soft, silky, and shiny. Before you jump in, wet your hair with fresh, unchlorinated water. If your hair’s already wet when you get in the pool, it’ll soak up less of the chlorinated water so your locks aren’t as likely to be damaged. (This trick works with drying salt water at the beach too!) For a little extra protection, add a hair product that coats your hair so it absorbs even less pool water. Your favorite leave-in conditioner like the CHI Keratin Leave-In Conditioner or a silicone-based styling product like the Rita Hazan Ultimate Shine Gloss is an ideal option.

Rinse Thoroughly

When you’ve finished your swim, you want to get the chlorine out of your hair as soon as possible so it doesn’t have time to do real damage. Rinsing your locks with fresh, unchlorinated water, just as you did before you took your swim, can tide you over until you get home and can do a proper shampoo. Use a little water from the garden hose, bathroom sink, or even the bottle that you’ve brought along to drink to get the chemicals out of your hair.

Wash It Out

When you get home after a day at the pool, you want to wash your hair to get rid of any remaining traces of chlorine in your hair. Because chlorine can actually turn blonde and other light hair green, use a shampoo designed for swimmers that can remove the chemical more effectively. Even if you’ve got dark locks, a chlorine removing shampoo is a good idea because regular shampoos don’t always get rid of all the chlorine residue. Ultra Swim is a great shampoo for post-pool washing because it removes chlorine and helps moisture so your locks don’t become dry and brittle.

Boost Moisture

After you shampoo the chlorine away, it’s a good idea to work on hydrating your locks because pool water and sunlight can be very drying. If your hair isn’t dry, frizzy, or chemically-treated, a regular moisturizing conditioner like Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Hair Conditioner can do the trick. For hair that requires a little more hydration, a deep conditioner is a better choice – try the Neutrogena Deep Recovery Hair Mask to really help soften and moisturize your tresses.


If you’re really worried about your locks when you go for a swim in the pool, you may want to protect your hair a little more carefully. Swim caps get a bad rap for not being very stylish, but they can keep chlorinated water from getting at seriously dry, damaged hair effectively – and you can find some cute swim caps in fun bright colors or with sweet flower detailing that make them a little more flattering.

When you’re not in the water, consider tucking your hair up in your favorite floppy sun hat or baseball cap to protect it from the sun’s UV rays. It’s also a good idea to spritz your hair with a hairspray that contains a UV filter to guard your tresses against the sun, particularly if you’ve got color-treated hair that you don’t want to fade. The Garnier Fructis UV Color Shield Anti-Humidity Hair Spray works well for hot summer days by the pool.

What are some ways you protect your hair from chlorine?

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing