Swimmers love diving into the cold, refreshing water of a swimming pool, but no one loves the hair damage that happens after exposure to chlorine or salt. Whether you swim in a pool or at the beach, your hair will tend to get fragile and thin. But why? This is because both chlorine and seawater damage your hair.
How does chlorine damage your hair?
Chlorine is essential in pools as it kills the bacteria in the water and keeps everything hygienic and safe. But while chlorine may protect you from some water-borne diseases, it damages your hair. Some professional hairdressers say it also makes your hair knottier and more tangled, fades your hair colour and can even irritate your scalp.
How does seawater damage your hair?
Spending the whole day at the beach without proper protection can be just as terrible for your hair as it is for your skin. While swimming in the ocean can be great for your health, the salty seawater damages your hair. This is because seawater contains a large amount of salt and the salt is osmotic and seeps into your hair, and, as a result, your hair can end up brittle, knotted and dry.
Thankfully, there are ways you can protect your hair from damage caused by chlorine and saltwater. Just follow these tips for before and after swimming.
Things you can do before going into the pool:
- Wet your hair with clean water: Your hair will be shielded somewhat by the clean water, protecting it from chlorine and saltwater.This can help to minimize the damage caused by chlorine and salt after your hair absorbs it while you swim.
- Oil your hair: By adding a layer of any oil, or oil productde signed to protect your hair, you can minimize the amount of chlorine or salt your hair absorbs while moisturizing your hair. Some hairdressers say coconut oil is best for this treatment. Applying oil to your hair before swimming will also prevent your hair from turning green in chlorinated water.
- Use leave-in conditioner: A leave-in conditioner hydrates your hair and makes it shine, while acting in much the same way as oil or normal water to protect your hair from chlorine and salt. By using a leave-in conditioner before swimming, your hair will get the benefits of a leave-in conditioner, like nourishment, repair and added nutrients, while also being protected from the damage caused by chlorine and salt.
- Wear a swim cap: Wearing a swim cap will give a layer of protection to your hair, minimizing damage in saltwater or chlorinated water. It will also keep your hair out of your face while you’re swimming. Make sure to tuck all your hair in to the swim cap to make sure your hair is completely protected.
- Use hair spray: Hair sprays are a hair-styling and hair-care staple and come in handy when you swim outdoors. By using a sun-protection spray, you can protect your hair from sun damage, while keeping your hair moisturized. If your hair is coloured, a spray can also protect your colour. Take advice from your hairstylist about which hair spray you should use.
Things you can do after swimming
- Wash your hair: Immediately wash your hair with normalizing or clarifying shampoo after swimming. This removes the chlorine from your hair. Be careful when buying your clarifying shampoo, as many products contain chemicals which can dry out your hair.
- Deep-conditioning mask: With the help of a deep-conditioning mask you can restore the natural nutrients and bring back moisture to your hair. You can apply coconut oil, jojoba oil or olive oil all over your hair, comb it and then rinse it. Leave this treatment in for 20-30 minutes, or overnight, before washing your hair for a better result.
- Brushing your hair: Avoid immediately brushing your hair after swimming as wet strands are more likely to break or become damaged. Use a hairdryer or let your hair dry naturally before brushing it.
- Dry with a soft cloth: Rather than using a bath towel to dry your hair, use a microfiber cloth or towel. Even a soft old t-shirt can do the job. This is because a bath towel can be rough and damage your hair. Remember to also gently pat your hair dry rather than rubbing it.
Sometimes it’s challenging to keep to a consistent hair-care routine while swimming, and,as a result,your hair can become damaged. Stay patient as you repair your damaged hair. It will take time to get your hair back to its best. But, by using these tips, you can save your pool-damaged hair and keep it healthy, shiny and looking beautiful for many swims to come.
You can also have a look on “How often should you colour your hair?”