One of the best all-around, total-body exercises, swimming provides a good cardio workout without placing undue stress on the joints. In the summer, a dip in the pool provides a cooling respite as temperatures soar. Although swimming is healthy for the body and spirit, chlorinated water is extremely hard on the hair because the harsh chemicals strip the hair's natural oils, weakening the hair shaft and causing dryness and split ends. Replacing lost moisture is the key to repairing chlorine-damaged hair.
Wash your hair immediately after swimming. Use regular tap water and a protein shampoo or swimmer's shampoo to remove chlorine from the hair. Alternate your regular product with a clarifying shampoo to prevent shampoo buildup along the hair shaft.
Apply a hydrating conditioner after shampooing your hair. Pay special attention to the ends of your hair, and coat them completely with the conditioner. Rinse well.
Dry your hair gently by patting it with a soft towel, then remove tangles with a wide-toothed comb.
Apply a hair mask or deep-conditioning treatment containing ingredients such as shea butter, olive oil or coconut oil twice every week. Saturate the hair with the conditioner or mask, then wear a plastic shower cap and let the conditioner work for a full hour before rinsing.
Trim damaged, split ends, which give the hair a dry, frazzled appearance.
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- Home remedies may help alleviate discoloration caused by chlorine. For example, shampoo your hair as usual, then dissolve up to eight regular, uncoated aspirin tablets in a cup of lukewarm water. Pour the water through your hair, and let it remain for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing. Regular club soda poured through just-shampooed hair may also help remove the green tint.
- To prevent chlorine damage, massage conditioner generously into your hair before you put on a bathing cap.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.
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