8 Tips to Protect Your Natural Hair While Swimming
1. Wet Your Hair Before Swimming
If you choose to swim bare-headed, wet your hair completely before getting into the pool or ocean. Running it under water prevents your hair from soaking up as much chlorine, other chemicals, and salt as it would if you dunked them completely dry.
The amount of chlorine and salt is known to cause breakage and dryness.
When you rinse your hair, your hair will absorb fresh water first, leaving little room for the chlorine or beach water to penetrate your hair. This also applies to your skin, so it’s always a good idea to take a shower before getting in the pool if you want to protect both your skin and your hair when swimming.
2. Use a Protectant
Chlorinated water can strip away the natural oil that coats and protects the shiny layer of your hair, leaving the strands of your hair dry and cracked. To help out your hair’s natural defenses, you can apply other natural products like olive oil or coconut oil to create an extra layer of water-resistant protection
Adding a coat of oil or protectant will aid in minimizing chlorine or saltwater from penetration while moisturizing your hair. Olive oil is full of antioxidants and Vitamins A and E and helps to protect keratin, the protein found in hair and skin. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is rich in fatty acids that moisturize your hair and scalp, and it’s often a lot cheaper than olive oil for everyday use.
3. Never Leave Pool Water in Your Hair
Chlorinated water doesn’t just do damage while you’re swimming. If you don’t wash it out thoroughly, the chemicals in the pool can sit in your hair and continue to dry out and crack your strands.
Once you’re out of the pool, wash your hair thoroughly with a clarifying shampoo and rinse it with clean water as much as you can. These will remove the chlorine and buildup you obtain during your swim.
However, use a small amount and try to avoid clarifying shampoos every day because they can dry your hair.
4. Wash Your Hair with Conditioner
If you often swim, shampooing after each swim will dry out your hair. Instead, you want to focus on cleansing the scalp while retaining moisture and make sure your hair is completely rinsed with clean water.
After a swim, rinse your hair well and clean it with a cleansing conditioner. Then use a mask and a type of oil, so the hair is protected for the next day.
Another option is before you swim, use a hydrating conditioner to coat your hair strands with an extra barrier against the chlorinated water. Then after you’re finished, and you’ve washed your hair with shampoo, work in a deep conditioning mask or leave-in conditioner to help rehydrate your hair and prevent any further damage.
5. Keep Your Hair Dry with a Quality Swimming Cap
Oils and conditioners are great for temporary protection, but they won’t last through a long swim. If you’re serious about your swimming and your hair, you’ll need to keep chlorinated water as far away from your hair as possible.
That means wearing a swimming cap that can cover all of your hair.
6. Braid or Twist Your Hair Before Swimming
Long, natural hair can easily become tangled when wet, so before swimming, twist or braid your hair in several sections. While not necessary, it will make detangling an easier task when it’s time to clearance your hair after a day in the water.
From twist to buns and braids, pick a style, then rock it to the beach or pool to prevent tangling and minimize chlorinated or salt water absorption.
7. Dry Hair Thoroughly After Swimming
Make sure not to go to bed with the hair wet from swimming. Going to bed with wet hair causes tangled hair that can be a pain to work within the morning and sometimes an unpleasant smell.
Instead, blow-dry on a low heat setting if necessary and sleep on a satin pillowcase to avoid damage to your hair.
8. Professional Maintenance
Going to a professional salon keeps your hair healthy and looking its best. By regularly visiting your salon, your hairdresser can spot damage before it becomes extensive.
Also, while using salon products at home will keep your hair healthy between cuts, your stylist can offer you several in-salon treatments to combat long-term chemical damage and give you more options for styling your hair.
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