We all know someone that would rather cool down by the water without jumping in to avoid getting their hair wet. But if you’re anything like me, you would happily jump in at the first sight of a pool or beach!
The reality of being ‘water-happy’ is that your hair will suffer the consequences.
If we have to take our pick, fresh water from a river or a lake is the least damaging amongst all water sources. But, just by virtue of being wet, strands are 3 times weaker and more prone to breakage. In addition, chlorine found in pools or salt from the ocean might leave your hair like a shipwreck.
The Effect of Chlorine on The Hair
Overexposure to chlorine damages the cuticles, making the hair brittle.
In some cases, hair may even turn greenish because of the effect of mixing copper – a metal found in pool water – and chlorine which forms a thin film-like substance that sticks to the protein of the hair.
The Effect of Sea Salt Water on The Hair
Salt water has a dehydrating effect on the strands. They dry up due to evaporation of the moisture that is stored in them when submerged in salt water. It also dries up the scalp and makes it flaky.
How to Protect Your Hair
However, you can enjoy your time in the water and feel confident that your hair can be protected from these negative effects.
Here are some of the best kept secrets to protect your hair before and after diving into the water:
Soak your hair
First of all, wet your hair before going for a swim. If you’ll be swimming in the ocean or a pool, soaking your hair with fresh water will prevent the strands from absorbing too much salt or chlorinated water because there won’t be much room left inside the strands. Also, this will make it easier for you to apply protective serums.
Apply a silicone-free leave-in conditioner evenly, from the roots all the way to the ends. The ideal pH level of a protective cream or serum should be between 3.9 – 4.6 to close the cuticles and protect the hair shaft. A natural alternative is to use oils like argan or olive oil to protect the hair with a thin layer around the strands. However, you’ll also want to use something that doesn’t contaminate the water, read all the ingredients in the products you’re using and make sure they are safe for underwater life.
Keep it together
Braid your hair or tie it in a bun to prevent breakage or additional damage when swimming around. As mentioned before, when hair strands absorb water, they become 3 times more delicate than when they are dry.
Hair Care After Swimming
If it’s a hair washing day, fantastic! Pay extra attention to your scalp. If you don’t want to wash with shampoo, try co-washing to clear the chlorine or salts and dirt from the ocean.
ATTENTION! If you swim daily or very regularly, we don’t recommend washing your hair with shampoo daily as it will be more damaging for your hair. Pool or ocean + daily shampooing = definite damage.
Gain back any lost moisture
Apply a moisturizing treatment between shampooing and applying conditioner to regain any lost moisture caused by the salt and the heat. Look for a hair mask that contains moisture-locking ingredients such as pro-vitamin B5, sugar, and sweet almond or olive oil.
After cleansing your hair and scalp with shampoo and/or conditioner, finish by rinsing off any leftover product with cold water to leave it shiny and soft.
Make sure you are giving your hair exactly what it needs, when it needs it by following your Hair Routine. You can start by completing our online test HERE to receive a calendar and guide on how to treat your hair with specific instructions.
Images: Elderly women in the swimming pool at the Century Village Retirement Community February 1975 in West Palm Beach, Florida, by Flip Schulke.