Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise: It’s a low-impact, full-body workout that builds cardiovascular endurance. Not only that, it’s a classic summertime activity for kids and adults alike, making it great for your health and your mood. However, swimming isn’t so great for the hair. Saltwater and chlorine will both dry out your hair, leading to breakage; it can strip away the colour for those with colour-treated hair; and people with light hair may find that swimming in chlorinated water can leave them with a greenish tint to their locks.
However, with the right haircare routine, you don’t have to choose between your favourite workout or leisurely swim and a healthy head of hair.
Wear a swim cap
One of the ways to protect your hair from the harmful effects of chlorine or salt is to minimise the amount of exposure to these chemicals. A simple way to do that is to wear a swim cap. You’ll want a swim cap that fits snugly and protects against the water.
The most popular options tend to be made of latex or silicone, as they are water-resistant, as compared to lycra or polyester caps, which aren’t particularly water-proof.
Hydrate your hair before your swim
Before you get in the water, it’s important to moisturize your hair first, either with plain water or a hair oil. As celebrity stylist and co-founder of dpHue Justin Anderson recently told the website Mind Body Green, “Your hair will absorb the oil or freshwater first, minimising the amount of chlorine or saltwater your hair absorbs.”
Rinse your hair immediately after your swim
The longer your hair is exposed to chlorine or saltwater, the more damage will be done. To minimise this damage, you will want to rinse your hair as soon as possible after you get out of the water. Most pools will have a shower on-site, where you can rinse off.
If that’s not an option, then make it a priority as soon as you get home again.
Add extra hydrating products to your hair-care routine
Even with precautions, your hair will need a little extra TLC, which means adding in some products to offset the added dryness. This could include hair oil, a moisturizing leave-in conditioner, or a hair serum.
For people with light hair, you might want to consider a shampoo specifically for swimmers to keep it from acquiring that telltale greenish tint. With these shampoos, which are designed to help remove chlorine, let it sit on your hair for a few minutes before washing it off.