How to Prep Your Hair for a Day at the Pool


We love summer because it's the season for cookouts, vacations, and pool parties. The weather is gorgeous, and the overcast, gloomy winter is a distant memory. But those family pool parties can take a toll on our hair, causing it to dry out and even turn green! 

Pool water is rough on our hair because of the chlorine used to kill bacteria in pools. At low levels—like the amount found in tap water—chlorine doesn't really hurt our hair. But at the increased levels found in pools, it's important to protect your hair from chlorine because it strips our hair of its natural oils. This results in frizz and dry, damaged hair. 

So, how can we protect our hair from chlorine while still having fun swimming with our friends and family this summer? Read on for more about how to protect your hair from chlorine and how to prevent your hair from turning green in the pool!


What Does Chlorine Do to Your Hair?


Chlorine is a chemical that breaks down the natural oils on our hair and scalp and amino acids in our hair. We have small amounts in our tap water to keep the water supply clean, but these tiny levels aren't enough to mess with our hair. Pools have much higher concentrations, and these levels can damage our hair. 

It's crucial to protect your hair from chlorine, especially if you're a heavy swimmer. Repeated exposure to chlorine causes our hair to become brittle and dry, which can lead to breakage, and chlorine can even alter the color of our hair. Higher porosity hair is especially prone to damage from chlorine because porous hair is more absorbent, so chlorine penetrates the hair shaft more significantly.


How Can I Protect My Hair from Chlorine in a Swimming Pool?


To protect your hair from chlorine when you go for a dip in the pool this summer, you need to make it hard for the chlorine to penetrate your hair. Prepping your hair before swim time and adding a physical barrier between your locks and the water will help your hair stay healthy and hydrated!


1. Use a Hair Mask Before Swimming 


Adding a hydrating butter hair mask before pool time protects your hair from chlorine. Look for a deep conditioning treatment that contains dimethicone to coat hair strands, which helps to seal cuticles and offers a layer of physical protection that prevents pool chemicals from penetrating the hair shaft. 

We love our Hair Redemption Restorative Butter Masque for maximum protection before a day at the pool. It's formulated with argan oil and our proprietary blend of plant butters to seal moisture into hair strands, giving your tresses greater protection against dryness, brittleness, and damage post-pool day!


2. Put Your Hair into a High Ballerina Bun


Those of us with longer hair know how hard it is to wade around a swimming pool without getting the ends of our hair wet! A high ballerina bun is the perfect style to protect your hair from chlorine. This style works on wet or dry hair, but if you're styling your hair while wet, be sure to use a wide-toothed comb to avoid damaging your hair! 

To get the look: Pull your hair into a ponytail as high as you can go and secure it with a soft hair tie. Gently twist the ponytail into a coil and wrap it loosely around the base of the hair tie. Secure the bun in place with bobby pins or by tucking the ends of your hair under the hair tie.


3. Rinse Your hair Thoroughly Before and After Swimming


Before you hop into the pool, saturate your hair with clean, lukewarm water. By thoroughly soaking your hair with fresh water before you get in the pool, less chlorine water will soak into your hair. Think of your hair like a sponge that can only hold so much water—if it's already "full" of clean water, there will be less space for the chlorinated pool water to go! 

After your swim session, you'll also want to rinse your hair and clean it with a hydrating, repairing shampoo like our Second Chance Repairing Shampoo for Dry or Damaged Hair. It's packed with rice bran oil and passion flower fruit extract to help strengthen the hair shaft against environmental stressors and slow damage from free radicals. Pair it with our Second Chance Repairing Conditioner for Dry or Damaged Hair to maximize post-swim hydration!


4. Wear a Non-Damaging Swim Cap


If you're headed to the pool for a serious swim or a water aerobics class, try putting your hair in a non-damaging swim cap to protect your hair from chlorine. Look for swim caps specifically designed for long hair. Even if your hair is on the shorter side, these swim caps will provide less friction on your hair while still keeping it dry!


How Can I Prevent my Hair from Turning Green in the Pool?


If you have silver or blonde locks, the chances are that you know that chlorinated water can turn your hair green. This reaction happens when copper bonds with chlorine in the water and forms a film that attaches to our hair. This film also attaches to darker hair, but we don't see green on dark hair as we do on lighter shades. 

To prevent your hair from turning green in the pool, follow the same hair preparation we talked about above: Apply a hair mask before pool time, rinse your hair thoroughly before and after swimming, wear your hair in a high bun, or find a non-damaging swim cap. 

But what if your hair is already green? If you don’t have a clarifying shampoo handy, you can try a baking soda paste to offset the chlorine and copper film's green tint. 

Mix ⅓ cup baking soda with just enough water to form a spreadable paste to make the baking soda treatment. Coat your hair from root to tip with the paste, wait 3 to 4 minutes, and rinse it out. Baking soda can be drying, so follow this treatment up with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner like our Second Chance Repairing Duo. You might need to repeat the paste treatment in a couple of days, but your hair should be on its way back to its true color! 


Tell Us: How do you protect your hair from chlorine on pool days? Share in the comments below! 


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Better Not Younger has the hair products you need to help your hair through pool season. From our repairing Second Chance shampoo and conditioner to our Hair Redemption Restorative Butter Masque, these products address the dullness and dryness that chlorine can cause. Let Better Not Younger help you protect your hair from chlorine this summer!