The simple things we do to swim proof our hair and prevent it from getting damaged
Swimming can do wonders for your body and mind. It also wreaks havoc on your hair. Dry, brittle and frizzy hair; or if you’ve recently dyed it, you can end up with a nice shade of greened locks.
We’ve been swimming a lot and were asked to share our hair-care tips for swimming and avoiding chlorine damage. Our routine is simple and easy to manage (no 5-step hair care before, during and after swimming). We’ve combined what we do below, the products we use as well as included other tips that whilst we don’t practice, are meant to keep your hair from getting damaged. The key is understanding your hair type and picking the things that make sense for your hair. I have naturally wavy medium thick hair that gets greasy quickly and has never been dyed. Feige has naturally wavy thin hair that also gets greasy quick and that’s been dyed. Our younger sister, Soshe who’s joined us on our swimming pursuits has naturally curly/wavy hair that is thick, dry and never gets greasy.
Tie it up
All three of us tie our hair up before swimming. Depending on your length you’ll want to either do it a ponytail (short-medium) or a plait (medium – long). Tying it up prevents it from turning into an unmanageable knotted mess. It also prevents hair from getting into your eyes while you swim. You can go an extra step and wear a swimming cap, although your hair will still get wet it won’t be soaked and reduces the amount of contact your hair has with the water. We do this only when swimming in a gym pool or at races.
Rinse Before Swimming
Rinsing your hair before swimming is a common tip given to prevent damage. Wetting your hair fills it with clean water and prevents your hair from absorbing the chemicals in a pool. None of us do this as it honestly seems like too much effort so I can’t confirm that it helps your hair, but it can’t hurt.
Rinse / Wash After Swimming
We all rinse our hair immediately after swimming. I’ll always rinse well and then shampoo and conditioner it after every swim, as my hair does not look or feel good post swim without a proper wash. My younger sister who has much thicker hair will sometimes only rinse her hair and apply conditioner to help detangle her hair without washing, but her hair is more resilient to the elements.
Detangle While Conditioning
There’s something in pool water that turns your hair frizzy and knotty (even with tying it up). To help detangle it without removing half my scalp, I’ll use a very wide tooth comb. I use it after applying conditioner, which I let sit in my hair for a few minutes and then while it’s still in it, I comb through to detangle and rinse well.
Clarifying Shampoo and Conditioner
Some people don’t like clarifying shampoo and conditioner as they say that it removes not only chemicals, product build up and toxins from your hair but also strips it of its natural oils. Because of this I use it only once a week when I’m swimming to help remove any build up of chemicals from the pool as well as immediately after doing any open water swimming to give it a good clean. I’m currently obsessed with the Oh So Heavenly haircare range and love their clarifying shampoo and conditioner which leaves my hair feeling squeaky clean and smells really good.
Once a week, I’ll do a hair mask to repair and moisturise my hair. I either use it instead of conditioner and let it sit for 5 minutes before rinsing or do it in addition to conditioner. My current favourite is the Oh So Heavenly, which doesn’t leave my hair feeling heavy.
If you have thicker more curly hair, using Agran Oil helps keep it moisturized. I don’t use it unless my hair is particularly frizzy; but my younger sister does it often to help with her thick and curly and she has luscious locks.
Other than that, we limit how much heat styling we do – using the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer does help as it’s gentler on our hair and takes a fraction of the amount of time.
What do you do for you hair while swimming? Share your tips and product loves in the comments below.
Photography: Feige Lewin