Protect Your Hair While Swimming
In this blog post, we’re going to dive deep (no pun intended) and talk about how you can protect your hair while swimming. Even if you don’t work out, these tips and routines are still helpful for going to the beach or lake if that’s your thing. Whatever your hair routine is – heavily or minimally processed – it’s important to understand your hair type to best care for it before, during, and after swimming. Let’s jump right into this.
While each hair type needs its own individual routine and treatment, exposure to chlorine, fresh water, and salt water can do some serious damage if you’re not careful. We hope this detailed guide will show you exactly how protect your hair while swimming and care for your hair in different water types and know what to do if you’ve damaged your hair already while swimming and/or what to do after a dip to keep your hair looking and feeling beautiful.
What does Salt Water do to your Hair?
When your hair is well-hydrated, everything’s perfect: it’s easy to manage and looks great, the two ideal qualities you want for your hair. The thing is, too much salt water (after a long day at the beach) will actually draw the water out of your scalp and hair and leave it rough and dehydrated so your hair is parched, frizzy and untameable. This is even truer if your hair is dyed or processed. When your hair is exposed to salt water for an extended period of time, the loss of moisture leads to flaky scalps, split ends, and breakage. Dry and brittle hair, as we all know, is very difficult to brush and style.
What does Chlorine do to your Hair?
Since chlorine is one of the harshest chemicals your hair can come in contact with, you should always take steps to protect your hair from chlorinated water to avoid damage. As one of the hardest water types to protect your hair while swimming from, it’s essential that you take the right steps before, during and after taking a swim in chlorine as it can wreck even the healthiest of hair.
When your hair is exposed to chlorine, it’s stripped of its natural oils and can break the protective cuticles which cause parched, brittle hair that is a target for split ends and breakage. Unfortunately, your scalp can also be affected by chlorine and can cause irritation by stripping it of its natural oils resulting in dryness and dandruff.
If you’re one to process your hair, even if it’s just highlights, covering your greys, or using hot tools, you need to be careful because chlorine will speed up fading and strips away hair color resulting in a dull, lifeless mane. If you swim regularly, you’ll know that pool water is known for turning your blonde hair green so it’s important to care for your hair a little extra after getting out of the water.
What does Fresh Water do to your Hair?
Unsurprisingly, fresh water is the best and safest water that your hair can come in contact with as it’s considered “soft water” and is naturally occurring. Not only that but fresh water contains lower levels of calcium and magnesium, making your hair less susceptible to damage. This is the easiest water type to protect your hair from while swimming.
What about Hard Water?
When fresh water has a high mineral content, it’s considered “hard water” and can leave behind a buildup of film causing your hair to look dull, cause discoloration, and distort the texture making it hard to brush and style. Lakes and even showers can have hard water. Hard water can act like salt water and chlorine and irritate your skin and dry out your scalp so it becomes itchy, and flaky. It’s a good idea to know the best routine for your hair type in relation to the water you’re using to wash your hair with. Knowing that hard water can really wreck your hair, it’s crucial that you use the right products so you can keep your hair looking and feeling beautiful even after taking a dip.
Now that we’ve covered the different water types, the best ways to protect your hair while swimming in these places and why, let’s talk about some hair care tips to keep your hair healthy before, during, and after swimming.
Before the Swim
Tip #1: Don’t use Hot Tools as Much
Even if you’re not swimming, this is a great practice to follow to avoid damaging or stressing your hair out. If you’ve spent a few hours in the water, and exposed your hair to UV rays and repeatedly washed your hair afterwards, using hot tool only increases any damage to your hair. If you’re bent on using hot tools, invest in a good heat protectant.
Tip #2: Use Chlorine Hair Protection Products
Use leave-in products formulated for swimmers to get UV protection, replenish your hair with moisture, and help guard against discoloration and fading. Apply some in your hair before taking a swim in the pool or ocean.
During the Swim
Tip #1: Cover your Hair
If you really want to protect your hair while swimming, wear a swimmer’s cap (you can find stylish ones don’t worry) when you swim to avoid having your hair coming in contact with any water. If you don’t want to use a swim cap, we recommend at the very least to tie your hair up to get as very little water contact as possible.
Tip #2: Rinse your Hair
If you can’t bear wearing a swim cap, rinse your hair quickly before and right after you get out of the water to guard against the water stripping your hair of moisture. Then, re-apply a leave-in treatment after rinsing off and before going back to swim. Read more on how often you should wash your hair.
After the Swim
Tip #1: Opt for a Soft Cloth to Dry your Hair
While your natural inclination might be to jump out of the pool and begin drying your hair off with the nearest beach towel, the materials of these towels are rough. It’s best, then, to use a soft t-shirt or microfibre cloth instead and simply pat your hair dry after a swim.
Tip #2: Don’t brush your Hair Right Afterwards
You might be inclined to brush your hair right after drying it as well. It’s best to avoid doing this too unless a beachy look is intended because wet hair is more prone to breakage and brushing through it while wet puts tension on the hair strands, causing more breakage. Wait a few minutes for your hair to dry in the sun before brushing through it with a wide tooth comb. Read here more on the best hairbrush for you.
Tip #3: Apply a Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
The biggest asset you have to protect your hair while swimming is moisture and funnily enough, when you’re in the water, the moisture and nutrients are being sucked out of your hair so that it becomes thirsty and lifeless which is why you need replenishing. DIY hair masks, leave in conditioners, and hair oils are all great ways to give your hair a jump-start. Apply jojoba oil, olive oil, or Coconut Oil all over your hair, comb oil through, then tie it in a top knot. Leave the oil treatment in for 20-30 minutes or let it sit overnight for an extra surge of moisture before washing your hair normally the next morning.
You can also give your hair extra moisture while in the shower. Apply a little extra conditioner to your ends but don’t rinse it out right away and instead let it sit an extra 10-15 minutes before washing it out in cold water to seal the hair cuticles and decrease frizz and add shine.
While the above information is a lot to take in, try and slowly implement these hair care tips and regimens until it’s fully part of your daily hair routine and your hair looks and feel beautiful all year round in and out of the water! We hope you now have the tools and confidence to fully protect your hair while swimming and keep looking and feeling beautiful!
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