Chlorine is a chemical used to keep pools safe and hygienic. But while it may kill bacteria, it can also damage our hair. Chlorine strips hair of its natural oils, and breaks apart the protective layer on our hair. The result? Dry, brittle hair that’s prone to breakage. And if your hair is already thin, breakage is the last thing you want. Luckily, there are some after-swimming care techniques that can help you keep your hair looking healthy and full. Keep reading for seven of our top hair care tips for swimmers.
Hair Care 101 for Swimmers
1. Rinse Before & After
Rinse your hair, without shampoo, before you get in the pool. This helps saturate thirsty, dry strands with fresh water so they won’t absorb as much of the chlorinated water that can cause damage.
Then, wash your hair with a good shampoo and conditioner duo like Toppik Hair Building Shampoo and Conditioner as soon as possible after getting out of the pool. Or if you can’t shampoo right away, at least rinse hair thoroughly to remove as much chlorine from your hair as possible.
2. Skip the Beach Towel
A beach towel is fine to dry off your body when you’re done with your swim. But the fibers of a beach towel are too rough for delicate hair cuticles, causing friction and damage. Instead, use an old cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel to remove excess moisture from your hair.
3. Apply a Leave-In Conditioner
After rinsing the chlorine out of your hair, thoroughly saturate hair with leave-in conditioner. Leave-in conditioner helps to replenish some of hair’s moisture that’s been stripped away by the chlorine.
You can make your own leave-in conditioner by mixing equal parts Toppik Hair Building Conditioner and water in a spray bottle. Just shake and apply to damp hair whenever your locks need some extra moisture.
4. Clarify with Apple Cider Vinegar
Buildup of chlorine and other pool chemicals weighs down hair and makes strands cling together. And that can make thinning hair look even thinner. So if you swim a lot, you’ll need to do a weekly clarifying treatment to remove this residue.
For a natural solution, try an apple cider vinegar rinse. Apple cider vinegar helps break down and wash away excess chemical residue for healthier, fuller-looking hair. To make your own apple cider vinegar rinse, mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle. Wash hair with shampoo and rinse with water. Then apply the apple cider vinegar mixture to hair, focusing especially on the roots. Allow the mixture to sit for one to two minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cold water.
5. Use a Deep Conditioning Treatment
Ironically, spending all that time in the water can actually dry out your strands. So if you’re swimming a lot, it’s important to deep condition hair once a week to keep it healthy and moisturized.
To condition hair, apply Toppik Conditioner to clean, damp hair. Use enough conditioner so that you’re able to saturate the hair fully, particularly at the ends. Let the conditioner sit for 10 to 15 minutes to give it time to penetrate the hair shaft. Then rinse with cold water to smooth and seal the hair’s cuticle.
6. Remove the Green
Despite your best after-swimming hair care efforts, swimmers with lighter hair colors may still see a greenish tint in their hair after swimming. Remove that chlorine color with this DIY home remedy:
- In a bowl, mix ¼ cup of baking soda with a small amount of water to create a paste.
- Massage the paste into any areas of your hair that look green.
- Rinse with cold water, then shampoo and condition hair as usual.
7. Practice Safe Wet Hair Styling Techniques
Hair is more fragile when it’s wet, so it’s important to be careful when styling wet hair to preserve your strands and prevent damage or thinning. Use a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle wet hair. Never brush wet hair, as this can cause breakage. Avoid putting hair in tight hairstyles when it’s wet, as this can also lead to breakage. For low-maintenance, low-damage hairstyles for wet hair, try putting hair in a low, loose braid or a low bun.
Do you have any tips for hair care for swimmers? Let us know in the comments!