Swimmer’s Hair: Pro Tips for Healthy Hair

Are you one of the millions of Americans who swims on a regular basis or have children that swim? Whether you swim for exercise and competition, or you just love lounging at the pool with friends and family, you probably know just how hard chlorine can be on your body. Along with drying out your skin and slowly dissolving your swimsuit, chlorine also causes severe damage to your hair. Used as a disinfectant in most swimming pools, this powerful chemical quickly eats away at the hair’s keratin, proteins, and amino acids. Short, occasional exposure to chlorine won’t cause a great deal of damage to your hair, but over time—without treatment—it can make hair brittle and very dry. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to give up your favorite sport or pastime just to preserve the health and appearance of your hair. With these swimming hair care tips, you will learn how to get chlorine out of hair and the necessary measures to protect and repair your hair and your children’s hair from harmful chlorine exposure.

Be Cap Conscious

Wearing a swim cap or bathing cap is a must if you wish to keep your hair in good shape. While a cap won’t always keep your hair completely dry or sealed off from water, it does protect it from the direct exposure to chlorine. Thanks to advances in swimwear fashion and functionality, today’s swim caps come in all different materials, styles, and colors, allowing you to choose the best design for your needs.

Consider the following materials for your swimming purposes to reduce your chances of having serious chlorine hair:

  • Silicone: Ideal for swimmers of all calibers, silicone caps are made to fit tight and are easy to don and remove without ripping out hair.
  • Latex: The durability and sleekness of latex make it a go-to for exercise swimmers and competitors. Though latex may be a bit harder to get on and off than silicone, it’s the perfect option for swimmers planning to put in some serious laps.
  • Rubber/nylon hybrid: Made with rubber and nylon, this hybrid cap is an excellent choice for pool-goers interested in water aerobics, treading water, and other water exercises.


By preventing your hair from making direct contact with the water, you can significantly slow the damaging effects of chlorine. 

Pre-Rinse is Key

Make an effort to rinse off your hair and get it wet before you go into the pool. Unlike dry hair that’s thirsty for hydration, wet hair stalls the chlorine from soaking into your strands. Think of your hair as a sponge: If you get into chlorinated water with dry hair, your strands will quickly absorb this chemical-laden moisture. However, if your hair is already saturated with clean, chlorine-free water, it won’t have the capacity to soak up much pool water.

This works because your hair is very porous. Thoroughly wetting your hair in the shower or with clean tap water before entering the pool will prevent your hair from absorbing chlorine. You can also coat your hair in sunscreen for runners or even vaseline before swimming. This will have a similar effect—preventing your hair from absorbing a lot of chlorine while also moisturizing it. 

Also, be sure to rinse your hair after swimming. Rinsing your hair immediately after swimming can help wash away the bulk of the chlorine and any other dirt or bacteria that was picked up in the pool.

Follow a Strict Post-Pool Routine to Avoid Chlorine Hair

Having a hair-forward routine post-pool time will make a big difference when approaching the question of how to get chlorine out of hair. 

At the very minimum, make a point to thoroughly rinse your hair after getting out of chlorinated water. If possible, immediately wash your hair with chlorine-removal shampoo and follow with a protein-rich conditioner to replenish any of your hair’s vital defenses that may have been destroyed by the chlorine. Chlorine-removing shampoos can be very helpful if used after swimming. These shampoos focus on removing any chlorine deposits left on the hair and some also help restore moisture as well. Ultraswim chlorine-removing shampoo has had great results and Fairy Tales brand is great for kids’ hair (and adults too)!

You can also use a leave-in spray or conditioner with added protein to ensure optimal protection. Leave-in conditioners are great to apply to wet hair after shampooing. This helps restore the moisture that was lost due to the chlorine and helps protect the hair from further damage. CHI Silk Infusion is a great leave-in conditioner that can be applied to dry hair before swimming and wet hair after.

If chlorine is allowed to build-up in hair, it can leave hair dry, limp, and dull. Using an apple cider vinegar rinse can help restore life and moisture to your hair within minutes. To safely rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar, you should mix four parts water to one part vinegar in a spray bottle. You should then spray your scalp generously and work into your hair with your fingers or a comb. Let the vinegar mixture sit for three to five minutes (depending on the length and thickness of your hair) and then rinse with cold water. Follow with a light conditioner and rinse well.

If your hair is very dry or damaged you may want to talk to your hairstylist about getting a Moroccan oil treatment done. This is a great treatment to restore large amounts of moisture to your hair as well as restoring shine and overall health.

Find More Pool Tips

By following these tips, you can prevent your hair from the harmful risks of chlorine exposure while still being able to enjoy your favorite pool-time activities. For swimming information, pool tips, and more, visit SwimJim today!