Protect Your Hair from the Pool

7 Jun

Summer is (basically) here, which means swimming! Swimming is a great way to cool off, have fun, and is even one of the best exercises for your body, but it can be terrible for your head fuzz! Chlorine and other chemicals found in pools are extremely damaging and drying for your hair. Here are a few tips to help you keep your hair looking and feeling great without having to skip out on some summer fun!

1. Avoid swimming after chemical services.
This is kind of an obvious one, but you definitely want to avoid swimming (or at least getting your hair wet in the pool) for a few days. This includes perms, relaxers, straightening treatments, and coloring! Your hair is in one of it’s most vulnerable states after being chemically treated- it’s dryer, more sensitive, and more porous. Not only is it bad for the health of your hair, but it could ruin the outcome of the treatment you received. It could tarnish and even potentially change the color, and deactivate a perm/relaxer/straightening treatment. You wouldn’t want to waste all of the money you just paid to get your hair looking fabulous for a dunk in the pool, would you?

2. Soak your hair before you go swimming.
When your hair is dry, it’s in it’s most porous state. Think of a dry sponge- if you place a dry sponge in a bowl of water, it’s going to absorb most of the water. Now, if you place a soaking wet sponge in a bowl of water, its not going to absorb nearly as much. The same idea applies to your hair. If you wet your hair before you swim, there will be less room for your hair to absorb the chlorinated water, and less chlorine means less damage. You can use regular water for this, or you can go the extra mile and use a product made for moisturizing and strengthening your hair, such as a leave-in conditioner, keratin spray, etc. You could also use conditioner, a moisturizing/strengthening serum, or an oil (such as moroccan/argon oil) but I’ve found these methods to be a bit messy. Using one of these products while swimming will not only help protect your hair from the chlorine, but it also keeps in moisture that the chemicals aggressively take out. If you do use water to soak your hair, make sure it’s cold. Hot water opens the hair follicles, making it that much easier for impurities to get in! I personally use Matrix Biolage Smoothing Shine Milk in my hair before I swim, and so far it’s worked out great for me! I can also see It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product working really well, however, it tends to be a bit pricey so you might not want to use it every time you decide to go for a swim.

3. Use anti-chlorine shampoos.

I’m kind of on the fence about shampoos that are made specifically for removing chlorine. They are great, don’t get me wrong, but they’re also very harsh. They are made to remove chlorine, which also means removing everything else from your hair. I think it’s a good idea to use it every once in a while if you’re concerned about chlorine build up, but not more than once a week (max.), and certainly not after every time you swim. Clarifying shampoos can also be used since they essentially do the same thing, but like I’ve already said, in moderation! Your hair and scalp still need some of their natural oils, and it will be dry and dull if you’re constantly removing them! And I would definitely recommend using a deep conditioner after using either of these!

4. Deep Condition!
Deep conditioners are lifesavers for dry hair. They moisturize, repair, and strengthen about 5x more than regular conditioner, and are meant to be kept on your hair for at least 5-10 minutes for the best results. I’d use a deep conditioner at least once a week during the summer, even if you don’t swim that often. The sun has damaging effects on your hair, too! More than once a week is possible, but only if you really, really need the extra boost. Using it too much will weigh down your hair and make it greasy. If you don’t want to get a deep conditioner, you can always leave your regular conditioner on for 5-10 minutes while you’re in the shower after swimming for a little more moisture. It won’t give quite the same effects, but will still help fight dryness. Make sure you wash your hair before conditioning, though. A lot of people figure its best to condition immediately after getting out of the pool, but think of it this way- your hair has just absorbed up chemicals (along with dirt that’s more than likely in the pool!), and conditioner is made to not only moisturize, but to seal the hair. You don’t want to trap all of that icky stuff in there!

5. Do not use elastics, hair bands, or anything constricting to keep your hair up!
Have you ever went swimming with a pony tail, got your hair wet, and then attempted to take it out afterwards?! OUCH! Hair breakage central! Your hair is most prone to breaking when it is wet, so add that to the general weakening caused by the chemicals and it’s just a bad situation. I recommend using loose clips, or putting your hair in a bun and securing it with a pin. Braids are great, too. I know they still require using hair ties to keep them together, but getting bands off of the bottom inch or so of your hair won’t be nearly as problematic as taking out a full ponytail thats secured at your scalp. Even in this case, though, I’d avoid rubber bands. They’re not good for your hair to begin with since they’re sticky, so swimming with them is even more dangerous.

I hope this helps you keep your hair healthy and looking gorgeous this summer! Of course, you can always just avoid getting your hair wet while swimming if you don’t mind people mocking you and thinking you’re a “priss” (at least that’s what everyone says to me, haha).

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