Unless you swim in a pool of distilled water, you’re going to need to do something to protect your hair before and after swimming. We know; that can be a hassle and the whole point of summer time is spontaneous fun! Who wants to let a hair care regimen impede that?
Well, the truth is that it really doesn’t take too much. A couple minutes pre- and post-swim are often enough all it takes to make sure that your hair doesn’t suffer any damage from swimming.
Besides, you don’t want your hair to suffer…do you?
Wet Your Hair Before Swimming
One of the easiest and best tips for protecting your hair while swimming is too wet it with clean water BEFORE hitting the pool, lake, river or ocean. Why is that?
What hurts your hair isn’t water – it’s what ELSE is in the water! When it comes to pools, it’s chlorine. With the ocean, it’s the salt. These chemicals can permeate your hair and follicles and cause your beautiful tresses to dry out, frizz and do other damage. The best defense, in this case, is a good offense, namely to saturate your hair and scalp with clean water. This creates an impermeable membrane that will keep the harmful chemicals out.
Wet Your Hair After Too
Of course, even a generous douse prior to the pool isn’t going to keep all of the chlorine out. Same goes for salt in salt water. You will accumulate some chlorine and other chemicals during your time in the water.
Therefore, it’s just as imperative that you thoroughly rinse your hair after getting out of the water as it is to do so before going in. In truth, if all you do is rinse before and after a swim, that goes a very long way indeed.
The reason why a post-swim rinse is just as important as a pre-swim is that it prevents any buildup of chlorine residue or salts. If they build up, it can cause a lot of damage.
Awesome tip: use SwimSpray after dipping in chlorinated pools. It’s formulated to bond with chlorine so it washes off with water.
Consider Oil And A Swim Cap
Some people want to be even more proactive than others, and if you don’t mind the hassle then you should consider an oil treatment and a swim cap. Oil and water, after all, don’t mix and an oil slick on your hair will keep chlorine, salt and other chemicals out…if contained under a swim cap.
The good news is swim caps are very cheap and reusable. The other good news is the oils you’ll need are too; olive oil and coconut oil, available in pretty much any grocery store, are your best bets. These oils reinforce sebum, the natural oil produced by your scalp that coats your hair. These oils also keep working after the swim and your hair will benefit from their use.
Swimming Outside? Use Sunscreen For your Hair
If you do a lot of swimming outside – and who doesn’t love that during the hot summer months? – look for a hair product that offers UVA and UVB protection. This is especially important for two reasons.
First, it coats the hair and protects it from chemical damage from chlorine, salt, and other chemicals.
Second, if you darken your hair by coloring it…it helps maintain the color.
Put It Up In A Braid If You Don’t Plan On Getting Completely Wet
Another great tip for protecting your hair when swimming is to put it up before hitting the pool, whether it’s putting it up in a braid, a bun or a ponytail. Granted, what kind of swimming or water activity you’ll be doing comes into play here, but it’s a solid tip if you don’t intend on actively swimming.
In other words, this is to keep your hair from going into the water if you’re only intending on lounging, soaking, floating or otherwise not getting submerged.
Use A Leave-In Conditioner And Use clarifying Treatments
After swimming, shampoo and use a leave-in conditioner. Think of it like fertilizing a lawn after mowing; this protects and nourishes your hair after subjecting it to chlorine, salt or other chemicals.
If you do your swimming outside, use a leave-in conditioner that has SPF in it, as this protects your hair from sun damage.
Another top tip? Use leave-in conditioner formulated for use in water and/or chlorinated water BEFORE going swimming. It helps a great deal, especially when paired with a swimming cap.
If you swim even semi-regularly, use a clarifying treatment on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This clears up any residue and helps maintain hair color as well.
Use A Wide Tooth Comb To Brush Wet Hair
After rinsing, shampooing and conditioning, brush your hair with a wide tooth comb to protect your hair after swimming. Chlorine, salt, and other chemicals can easily lead to split ends, frizz and other nasty side effects that you’ll want to avoid.
To head them off at the pass, use a wide tooth comb to brush after post-swimming treatment. You’ll be able to gently work through tangles, keeping frizz and breakage at bay.
If you follow these tips to protect your hair while swimming, you’ll be able to get through summer while keeping your hair looking its best!