How to Protect Your Hair from Chlorine

Michael Butler
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How to protect hair from chlorine in pools

Chlorine isn’t just found in your toilet bowl, but is also likely to be lurking in your community pool. Both your hair and skin are at risk when you swim in a chlorinated pool.

Many swimmers believe that they can simply go into a shower and wash off the chlorine after a swim to prevent the chemical from getting into their hair and skin. However, the damage is often done long before this shower.

Even if you manage to lower the pH level in the water to prevent the chlorine from dissolving in the water, it’s still in the air around you, so you’re likely to end up absorbing it through your lungs every time you take a breath.

The best way to make sure that you minimize the negative effects of chlorine in your hair is to limit your exposure to the chemical as much as possible.

Step 1: Wear a swim cap.

Whether you’re relaxing poolside and recharging your batteries or participating in an intense water aerobics class, don’t forget to wear a swim cap. A good swim cap will not only protect your hair from chlorine but also prevent you from swallowing it. When your hair gets wet in a chlorinated pool, it takes approximately 2 hours for the chlorine to completely evaporate, meaning that you will experience your hair drying out for those two hours.

So properly protecting your hair is even more important if you’re the kind of person who goes to the pool several times a week.

What you want to have for your swim cap is one with a moldable latex band. The band needs to fit snugly around your head without leaving unattractive marks. You may want to do a trial run with your swim cap before your next trip to the pool. Also, be sure that the swim cap does not cause you an amount of discomfort that is larger than the discomfort you want to avoid by wearing a swim cap.

Step 2: Get your hair wet before you jump into the pool.

You can shampoo your hair as normal before you get into the pool. Just remember to rinse it well before you get in.

Step 3: Add in some conditioner to help repair your hair and to help stop the chlorine from drying out your hair. This is especially important for swimmers with long hair, since longer hair gets hit with more chlorine.

Step 4: Use a product like a swim cap to protect your hair while swimming. Swim caps are made of rubber or latex and are designed to cover your hair to help prevent it from absorbing any of the chlorine. If you have long hair, you can also tie it into a high ponytail on the top of your head and use a swim cap to cover both.

Step 5: Rinse your hair well in the shower when you get out. If you can shampoo your hair and massage your scalp again and get your hair really saturated with shampoo, it will help to remove any of the chlorine that might still be in your hair.

Step 6: Use a deep conditioner after you’ve rinsed your hair and toweled it dry. A deep conditioner will help to repair your hair and restore lots of moisture while protecting it from the warping effects of chlorine.

Things that work (but you shouldn’t do).

As you know, chlorine is an extremely harmful substance to your hair and the very fiber that makes you you. Here are some things that we’ve heard work, but are (in all likelihood) really horrible for your hair:

  • Putting Vaseline in your hair
  • Brushing your hair
  • Chlorine resistant leave in conditioner
  • Soaking your hair in vinegar
  • Coconut oil (that’s actually useful for much more than your hair, but really bad for chlorine/pools)
  • Coconut milk (oh yeah, it’s very yummy with a little sugar and cinnamon)
  • Coat your hair with a cheese curd, such as Swiss
  • Wrap a yellow rubber band around hair, it’s amazing!
  • Wear a shower cap to bed
  • Lightly coat hair with petroleum jelly

What works?

Because of the hydrogen bonds that hold hair together, the best option for many people is to just try not to swim frequently in chlorine containing pools. The more you swim, the faster your hair will fall out.

But if you do have to swim in a pool sometimes, your best bet is to use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners.

How to get chlorine out of hair

Chlorine is found in almost all water and it’s harmful to the hair. Over time, it can cause the hair to become dull, brittle, and break off.

The severity of the damage depends on how often you’re exposed to chlorine and how long you soak in it. If you swim regularly, then you’re exposing your hair to chlorine every time you swim.

How do you know if the chlorine is damaging your hair?

If you think you’ve started to notice prematurely treated hair, then it’s time to take action. When you’re in the pool, either use a swimming cap or keep your hair tucked tightly under the surface of the water.

However, if you’re going to the beach then you should invest in a good sea salt spray. Sea salt spray helps to protect the hair, even when the sun and the sand aren’t playing nice.

Sea salt spray also helps with any hair damage that may have occurred as a result of the chlorine.

Step 3: Use a chlorine removal shampoo.

Chlorine removal shampoos are specifically made to remove the chemical residue that’s left in your hair after swimming. These shampoos can be found at your local john frieda beauty salon.

If you’re swimming frequently, consider looking for a high quality, high performance shampoo that contains natural and plant-derived ingredients. Shampoos that are free from sulfates, silicones, parabens and alcohol are a good option.

If you’re a swimmer, your hair’s more likely to show signs of chlorine and environmental damage like dryness, colour fading, and loss of volume.

To help maintain the health of your hair, rely on swimming products that are designed to protect your hair from the damaging effects of chlorine. These shampoos, conditioners, styling products, and hair treatments contain natural ingredients like sea salt, vitamins, and minerals that aim to preserve the health of your hair after swimming, reduce the drying effects of chlorine and other swimming chemicals, control the hair’s natural oils, and add volume to your hair.