How To Protect Your Hair From Chlorine (& How To Remove It When You Can't)
Updated: Jul 9, 2019
What's more refreshing in the brutal heat of Summertime than jumping into a pool to cool off? However, for those of us with color-treated hair, especially the blondes out there, the dilemma that presents itself is clear: to get your hair wet, or not to get your hair wet; that is the question.
I, myself, have spent many a pool party with my hair piled into a bun on the top of my head, trying to find the balance between relaxing in the water, and making sure that my precious locks aren't marred by the chlorination. Here's the thing: not everyone is quite so diligent, and even I have slipped up once or twice. So, what's the solution to removing the green tinge that will inevitably linger in your hair, and more importantly, what are some steps you can take to prevent the chlorine from taking hold in the first place, without having to sacrifice diving in head-first? Well, read on, I've got answers.
There are some things you can do, before and after your swim, to decrease your chances of having a swampy-looking mane.
1. WET HAIR DOWN
That's right; soaking your hair with regular tap water can help keep chlorine from penetrating the hair strand. How so? Well, if you think of your hair as a sponge, the more liquid the sponge already contains, the less it's able to soak up. Simple enough, huh?
2. APPLY CONDITIONER
For good measure, combing your favorite conditioner, or leave-in product through your damp hair can create an extra barrier between you and that doubious c-word (chlorine, what did you think I meant?). My favorite products to use are ones that not only condition, but also protect against UV rays, might as well kill two problems with one product. Try Bumble and Bumble's Hairdresser's Invisible Oil, or Surf Styling Leave-In, those always seem to do the trick.
(Find out how you can get these products AND a discount on your next appointment HERE.)
3. RINSE HAIR DIRECTLY AFTER
If nothing else, the least you can do is not let chlorine set into your hair for too long, so make sure you rinse, or wash, your hair directly after your swim.
So, you ignored all of my previous advice (or maybe you just got here, I don't know), and now here you are, back to tell me I was right, and to once again ask for my help. Well, it's your lucky day; here's what you should do:
1. CHLORINE REMOVAL TREATMENT
There are plenty of at-home chlorine removal treatments, however, while they will strip the chlorine out, they will also strip out any toner or color that has been previously deposited. The only solution to this problem is to get your hair toned again, so it'll probably require a trip to the salon anyway. For this reason, I reccomend letting your stylist do the removal, as they can use higher quality removal products that are only available to cosmetologist, and can also spot-treat hair that isn't affected all over. They can then follow up the removal treatment with a tonerto make your color look fresh and shiny. Plus, then you don't have to wash your own hair, and who doesn't want an excuse to get a head massage?
Another option, in a pinch, is to use a clarifying shampoo to remove most of the chlorination yourself; my fave is Bumble's Sunday Shampoo. Again, you run the risk of stripping your color, so I still recommend booking for a toner as soon after as you can. Also, I would always follow a clarifying shampoo with a highly moisturizing conditioner, as they can be quite drying, and no one wants to use the word "straw" to describe their hair texture. Try MoroccanOil's Hydrate or Moisture Repair.
Hopefully, you're educated enough on the issue now to kick back by, and in, the pool with no worries. However, if you're still fretting about the fate of your hair this Summer, check out the recommended posts below for some more secrets from the experts!