How to Save Your Hair from Chlorine

by | Updated: December 4th, 2016 | Read time: 3 minutes

It’s a fact of life: if you love to swim, you hate chlorine. All it takes is a few days in the pool before irritated skin, brittle nails and dry, damaged hair become a nuisance. The irony is that chlorine is one of those things we shouldn’t live without. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention simply puts it, “Chlorine and pH, your disinfection team, are the first defense against germs that can make swimmers sick” (CDC.gov). This just leaves you stuck between rock-dry strands and a hard decision. But maybe there’s a solution…

Woman in swimming pool

Swimming should never impose harm. It’s one of the lowest-impact sports with some of the greatest results – improved cardiovascular fitness, more rhythmic breathing, tighter muscles and the list goes on. Incorporating these easy-breezy steps into your usual swim routine can help your hair stay as healthy and strong as the rest of you.

Shower before you swim

Give your hair the opportunity to soak up clean water before you even step foot in the pool. This will help create a barrier, because your strands will be so full on water that they can’t absorb as much chlorine. Wet hair is also easier to twist up into a swim cap, which leads to the next step…

Cap it off

Like it or not, swim caps provide physical protection from the element. Long hair and shaved heads, alike, should cover up with a silicone swim cap. Latex caps are OK in a pinch and have long been the choice of race directors and competitive swim teams. However, latex is a thin material with a tendency to rip from regular use (usms.org). Your best bet is to splurge on silicone, which is only a couple bucks more. They’re the most durable and come in a variety of sizes and fits.

Rinse and shine

Go directly to the showers. Do not pass GO or collect your bag. As soon as you’ve met your mileage, hit the showers! Use this chance to rinse everything from your swim cap to your fins. Most importantly, though, is cleansing your hair immediately. Hold your head under running water for at least 30 seconds (up to a minute), using your hands to wipe and squeeze strands.

Once you and your gear have been thoroughly rinsed off, balance the harsh chemicals with a naturally nourishing solution that can hydrate hair. The glonaturals Coconut Collection Hair Serum penetrates strands to provide the instant moisture they need after an hour of being drenched in chlorine. Apply no more than a quarter-sized pump of serum all over – from roots to tips. And apply after every swim session.

Condition for good measure

Again, using botanical-based treatments is a gentle-yet-effective way to keep hair strong in the fight against chlorine damage. So when you’re ready to suds up – which should be done as quickly as humanly possible – DO NOT skip the conditioner. (Note: If you have fine hair, only use conditioner on days you swim in order to avoid greasy-looking locks.) Some of the most nourishing ingredients include aloe vera for soothing irritation, vitamin B for strengthening, and coconut oil and shea butter for the ultimate in hydration. Check for these key nutrients when shopping for a natural conditioner.

Remember to always care for hair with a gentle touch. Comb tangled tresses from the bottom up, being slow and patient to get out the kinks. If you need it, spritz a detangling spray straight on stands to make your comb glide right through. And even though your grandma may have taught you to shake and scrub a towel over your head, it’s better to pat hair dry. This will help prevent unnecessary breakage. Besides, isn’t chlorine harsh enough?

What are your best tips for keeping hair safe from swimming pool chemicals?