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Swim hair protection

Growing up it was easy to tell which kids attended regular swim classes or were serious swimmers. They either had green hair or hair so stiff it felt like cardboard. Without rinsing hair after a morning session with my swim coach, my hair would dry into stiffened ponytails that would feel and ‘crunch’ just like straw. Swimming can be great for your fitness, but a nightmare for your hair.

The Facts: Chlorine from swimming pools can destroy much-needed proteins in our hair. Depleted of protein, hair can become very dry and brittle. Blonde and grey hair has been known to turn green because of exposure to chlorine pools.

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Some hairdressers and hair extension companies recommend club soda as a rinse after swimming to neutralise the effects of chlorine. The carbonation helps break up the mineral deposits and rinses the chlorine effectively from your hair.

Chelating shampoos will also remove chlorine. Most work by using a chemical called ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), which binds to the chlorine and removes it from the hair. However, these shampoos can be harsh on your hair with repetitive use, as EDTA is also an active ingredient in laundry detergents and cleaners.14

As well as chlorine, salt water from the beach and swimming pools can also have devastating effects on your hair. The salt water lifts the hair cuticle, and moisture is lost from within. This can cause a dry, rougher-than-usual hair texture, commonly referred to in the beauty industry as beach waves/curls.

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