Tips to Keep Your Hair Healthy for a Swimmer

Swimming is a beneficial form of exercise and an effective way to beat the heat. And while chlorine disinfects pool water, it can also make your hair dry and brittle. In addition, the minerals in chlorine attach to your hair molecules, causing your hair to discolor and appear green. This green hue is more visible if you have light-colored hair. You can protect the health of your hair by adding a few steps to your hair care routine before and after swimming.

Pre-Swim Hair Care

To prevent chlorine damage, wet your hair before swimming. Your hair will absorb the nonchlorinated water, so there is less "room" to absorb the damaging chlorinated water. Next, apply a leave-in conditioner for moisture and added protection from the chlorine. Finally, place a swim cap over your hair. A swim cap is the most effective way to shield your hair from chlorine damage, but it's the step that most swimmers skip.

Post-Swim Hair Care

After swimming, rinse your hair as soon as possible. According to, rinsing your hair in club soda removes chlorine more effectively than water. If you didn't use a swim cap, shampoo your hair with a shampoo containing sodium thiosulfate, an anti-chlorine ingredient that will remove the smell and color of chlorine from your hair, reducing the chances that your hair will take on a greenish hue. After shampooing your hair, condition it thoroughly with a moisturizing conditioner.

Repairing Chlorine-Damaged Hair

If your hair has already been damaged by chlorine, you can repair it at home. Use a shampoo that contains sodium thiosulfate every other shampoo, and use a deep conditioner at least once a week.

If your hair is extremely dry or if you notice any breakage, contact a professional hair care technician. He can apply a protein treatment to your hair that will help repair the chlorine damage.