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How to Prevent Pool Water from Damaging your Hair During and After Swimming

Updated on May 27, 2015

Swimming is a fun activity and great exercise however it can very damaging to you hair. This damage may be increased by swimming in chlorinated pools or if you already use damaging techniques on you hair like heat straighteners or dye. Salt water body swimming can be damaging to the hair also however it is not as harsh as chlorinated pools.

Swimming in chlorinated water can strip vital nutrients and oils away that normally protect and nourish hair while swimming in salt water does this to a lesser degree. Luckily there are ways you can protect and repair your hair after swimming so you do not end up with dry, brittle hair. The ways in which you can protect your hair are cheap and easy so there is no excuse not to use these methods.

How to Prevent Hair Damage from Swimming

Use a swimming cap

Using a swimming cap is a sure-fire way to block out chlorine from hair while swimming. While using a swimming cap your hair is never wet so no chlorine is allowed to even begin to potentially damage your hair. Some people think swimming caps don't work right however if you purchase a quality swimming cap that properly fits your head it should be able to block out any water from reaching your hair. Not only do swimming caps protect your hair from chlorine damage but the also save you the hassle of drying your hair and help protect your scalp from UV ray damage.

Condition, condition, condition

Apply a leave in conditioner to your hair before swimming. Be sure to use a generous amount of leave in conditioner taking special care to make sure all of your hair and scalp are covered. This conditioner will create a barrier between your hair and chlorine or salt. Also you will benefit from this conditioner even after swimming with soft and shiny hair! There is no need to buy an expensive conditioner for this, any brand will work.

How to Treat Hair After Swimming

While ideally you should never expose your hair to chlorine or saltwater it is not always feasible or desirable to use a swimming cap. If you choose to swim without hair protection you should use one or all of the following techniques to keep your hair healthy. While these techniques do not ensure healthy hair they are a good step towards it.

Lather, rinse, repeat

After swimming be sure to wash and condition your hair as soon as possible. If you swim often you should use a shampoo specifically for removing chemicals and salt from swimming that builds up on your hair and scalp. One good shampoo to use is UltraSwim Chlorine removal Shampoo. The name says it all. Many swimmers trust this shampoo brand to strip unwanted, damaging chemicals from their hair.

Be Gentle

Do not scrub your hair dry with a towel as soon as you get out off the pool. Hair is very delicate when wet especially when exposed to harsh chemicals. Ideally you should let your hair air dry however if you do not have time you should gently pat it dry or wrap it in a towel. Also take care to brush your hair gently after getting out of the pool to avoid breaks, if possible use a bit of spray in conditioner to make brushing easier.


After you wash your hair with your normal shampoo and conditioner if you find that your hair is dry you should apply a leave in conditioner to your hair. This conditioner will replace nutrients that were stripped from your hair by chemicals and allow it to relax. You many also do this even if you do not find that your hair is dry after swimming as a precautionary measure for future swimming.

Do you take any measures to protect your hair while swimming?

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    • BraidHair profile image

      BraidHair 5 years ago from Nevada

      That's a great advice as many don't know and mess up their hair.. Always protect your hair from chlorinated and hard water.

    • lenamariee profile image

      lenamariee 5 years ago from The Sunshine State

      Thank you!

    • Vampsdes profile image

      Vampsdes 5 years ago from Missouri, US

      I don't swim very often and one reason is because my hair always gets into such a tangled mess. It also looks and feels dry and frizzy for days afterwards. I wasn't even aware they had special shampoo to remove chlorine from your hair. The leave in conditioner is probably the most feasible solution for me since I rarely swim. Great advice on how to protect your hair though! Voted up!