You want to swim and you want to feel free when doing it.
I get you.
Now, spending time at the beach or at the pool can be a fun and truly joyous experience, but saltwater or chlorine can be really damaging to hair.
Saltwater and chlorine can cause intense dryness and damage and the sun can cause fading and weakening of the hair shaft.
Chlorine is a harsh chemical that is added to pool water to kill bacteria and other contaminants – so you can imagine what it will do to your hair.
It can cause hair to lose its natural shine and color, leaving it dull and lifeless.
If left on the hair for too long, chlorine can even cause chemical burns to the scalp, leading to discomfort and irritation.
While wearing a swim cap is honestly the best way to protect your hair from chlorine, there are other steps you can take to minimize the damage so that your hair is healthy and beautiful.
In this post, we are going to look at those tips to protect your hair from chlorine while swimming that doesn’t discuss a swim cap!
Let’s dive in!
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1. Wet your hair before swimming
One excellent way to protect your hair from chlorine is to wet it with fresh water before you enter the pool.
Because if your hair is already wet, it’s not going to absorb as much chlorine.
Your hair is like a sponge. If it’s dry, it’s going to absorb a lot of pool water + chlorine. But if it’s already wet, you’re decreasing the chances of damage as it’s already saturated with clean water.
Another excellent tip is to apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair before entering the pool to help provide that extra layer of protection.
I do this before swimming in the pool or at the beach and my curls feel so much better!
I highly recommend the Underwater Audio AquaGuard Pre-Swim Hair Defense cream.
It’s really easy to use and it’s made specifically for people who want to swim in chlorinated water.
You just dampen your hair before swimming and apply a generous amount to your hair (focusing on the ends). Wait for 3-5 minutes for the product to completely absorb in your hair and you’re good to go!
Every single review I’ve read is written by swimmers and they claim this product is solid gold.
2. Apply a protective product
There are so many kinds of products on the market that are designed to protect hair from chlorine damage.
Look for products that contain ingredients like argan oil, coconut oil, or shea butter as these natural ingredients can help nourish and protect hair.
Apply the product to your hair before entering the pool and make sure you rinse it out thoroughly after swimming.
Now, if your hair is damaged due to heat and/or color, I recommend using a leave-in conditioner that is formulated to protect your hair even more and is enriched with hydrating ingredients.
I really like the Miami Beach Bum Hair Shield. It’s got coconut oil, aloe vera, and avocado + biotin so you’ll smell amazing and be well protected.
This strengthens strands with proteins to prevent breakage, split ends, frizz, and knots caused by swimming in a pool or seawater.
It’s formulated for people who swim and is completely vegan and cruelty-free.
The application is the same, just apply it on wet hair before swimming. Do not wash it out. Coat strands from the root to the tips and keep reapplying when needed.
3. Rinse your hair immediately after swimming
After swimming in a chlorinated pool, it’s super important to rinse your hair thoroughly with fresh water as soon as possible.
This will help to remove any chlorine residue from your hair which can cause dryness and damage over time.
Rinsing your hair immediately after swimming will minimize the damage caused by chlorine and prevent it from building up over time.
Be sure to use cool or lukewarm water – because hot water can exacerbate the damage caused by chlorine.
While rinsing can help remove some of the chlorine from your hair, it’s not enough to fully cleanse it.
That brings me to the next step!
4. Use a clarifying shampoo
I understand that using a clarifying shampoo every day is not practical.
That is going to do more damage than good. So, I would suggest using a clarifying shampoo 1-2 times a week max.
I’ve not tried using it more than 2 times a week because my hair is very sensitive.
So, here’s how you wash your hair with clarifying shampoo:
- Wet your hair thoroughly with warm water – make sure that your hair is completely saturated before applying the shampoo.
- Apply a quarter-sized amount of clarifying shampoo to your palm and rub your hands together to distribute the shampoo evenly.
- Massage the shampoo into your hair, paying special attention to the areas where chlorine buildup is most severe. You may want to focus on the ends of your hair because I’ve noticed that my ends get very dry after I swim.
- Leave the shampoo on your hair for 5 minutes to allow it to work its magic, I usually shampoo my hair and then lather up the rest of my body.
- If necessary, repeat the process to ensure that all the chlorine is removed – I like to go in with a tiny amount of shampoo after rinsing.
- Follow up with a conditioner to restore moisture and shine to your hair. Make sure to use a conditioner specifically designed for swimmers or one that is formulated to repair the damage.
- Rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water to close the hair cuticles and seal in the moisture.
- Dry your hair gently with a towel, avoiding any rough or aggressive movements that can damage your hair.
Always remember to use a clarifying shampoo after swimming in a pool to keep your hair healthy and beautiful.
As for the shampoo, I highly recommend AquaGuard Clarifying Shampoo.
Yes, I’m mentioning this brand again because I haven’t found anything better than this. It is a salon-quality shampoo that uses natural ingredients to clarify and remove chlorine.
5. Use a deep conditioner every week
I recommend doing it every week because this is how many times I use it.
You can use it once in 2 weeks also if you don’t have the time or you’re just not too keen on deep-conditioning so often.
Deep conditioning will help moisturize your hair and heal it from chlorine damage.
Here’s how to deep condition your hair:
- Start by wetting your hair with warm water. This will help open up the hair cuticles and allow the deep conditioner to penetrate deeply into the hair shaft.
- Apply a generous amount of deep conditioner to your hair and make sure to distribute it evenly throughout – I usually divide my hair into sections and apply the deep conditioner into each section.
- Take a moment to really massage the deep conditioner into your hair, paying more attention to the ends – because this is where the most damage happens. You can also use a wide-tooth comb to help distribute the conditioner evenly throughout the hair.
- Once you have coated your hair with the conditioner, and cover it with a shower cap or plastic wrap. I got a whole set of plastic shower caps from Amazon. This will help to trap heat from your scalp and allow the conditioner to penetrate deeply into your hair.
- Leave the deep conditioner on your hair for at least 15-30 minutes or longer if you have time.
- Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water.
Lastly, be sure to use a leave-in conditioner every time you swim in the pool. As I’ve mentioned earlier, it is going to help lock in moisture so that your hair doesn’t absorb much chlorine and this will keep your hair soft, shiny, and healthy.
While wearing a swim cap is the most effective way to prevent chlorine damage, you can follow these steps to minimize chlorine damage.
Remember to take care of your hair and enjoy your time in the pool!
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