7 Tips for Swimming with Natural Hair

7 Tips for Swimming with Natural Hair

Summer is right around the corner and as the heat intensifies, more people will be looking for ways to beat the summer heat. Swimming is a traditional summer activity that many women choose not to participate in simply because of the fear of getting their hair wet. This was a common quarrel of mine when I would wear my hair relaxed for fear of my straight hair “curling up” from being wet.  If I was due for a “touch up” soon, then I didn’t mind getting my hair wet but after a fresh relaxer, there was no way I was getting anything other than my feet wet.

Now that I wear my hair in its natural state, I’ve found that easing into the water is a lot less stressful. However, swimming in any type of chlorinated water, be it either the pool or a hot tub, your hair is still susceptible to becoming exposed to dangerous chemicals that are added to the water to remove and kill bacteria.

These hazardous chemicals are also known to change the hair’s molecular structure. In rare cases, light-colored hair might end up with a green tinge to it. Although there are specially manufactured products such as shampoo and conditioner for swimmers to remove the chlorine from the hair, there are also ways you can remove it naturally using ingredients that are found in almost every home– baking soda and club soda are good examples. These ingredients can be added to your conditioner, mud mask, and sulfate-free shampoo.

Here are some natural hair care tips to consider when swimming this summer:

1) Wear a Swimming Cap

One of the best ways to prevent chlorine damage to the hair is to use a swimming cap while swimming. It will significantly decrease the amount of chlorinated water that goes into your hair, potentially causing damage to your delicate strands. Remember, natural hair is at its most delicate state when it is wet.

You can buy a swim cap here

2) Cowash Hair before Swimming

Wash, cowash or wet your hair wet shortly before swimming in any chlorinated body of water. Moisturizing your hair with water that does not include chlorine will decrease the vulnerability of your hair to chlorine absorption. This step will significantly reduce the amount of chlorine your hair will absorb while you are swimming, in turn decreasing the damage.

You can any of these 10 Conditioners.

3) Use Baking Soda & Club Soda to help Remove Chlorine Naturally

After swimming in chlorinated water, add some baking soda to your hair in order to prevent the hair from being damaged from chlorine exposure. You can spread enough baking soda to fill the entire head and simply rise out with either club soda or non-chlorinated water. Follow up by a moisturizing conditioner or deep conditioner. Baking soda is known to decrease the damage chlorine can do to your hair, absorb the chlorine, and aid in the recovery of slightly damaged hair. Depending on your hair’s length, the amount of club soda you will need will differ. Here are 3 Other Natural Clarifying Options You Can Use at Home

Read: 5 Reasons to Clarify Your Natural Hair Today

4) Cleanse & Cool Water Rinse after Swimming

Immediately cleanse and condition your hair as you normally would. Wash your hair clearly to remove any particle of chlorine that may have been left in the hair shaft. As a final rinse, use cool or lukewarm water to keep the hair from becoming too dry by sealing the cuticle layer of the hair.

5) Do Not Blow Dry Hair

It is best to let your hair air dry in order to prevent or minimize damage to the hair. It might take a little more time than blow-drying, but it is much better for the overall health of your natural hair. If you must use a hair dryer, be sure you use it on the lowest possible setting and keep the nozzle far away from the hair strands, avoiding direct contact to minimize both chlorine and heat damage.

6.) Use a Moisturizing Clarifying Shampoo

Clarifying shampoos work by lifting dirt, build-up and mineral deposits on the hair from swimming in chlorinated water or washing hair regularly in hard water. Many clarifying shampoos contain a compound called acetic acid, which is also found in vinegar and is used for its descaling properties. Clarifying shampoos have been known to be drying to the hair, try looking for a moisturizing clarifying shampoo such as Moroccan Oil Clarifying Shampoo or  Paul Mitchell Clarifying Two Shampoo. These shampoos will do the job in removing chlorine and other build-up without stripping the hair of moisture. SheaMoisture Black Jamaican Castor Oil Shampoo is also a great option.

7. ) Use Organic Shampoos & Conditioners 

Use organic shampoos and conditioners that contain natural ingredients instead of artificial ones. Some of the most well-known brands for removing chlorine are Aubrey Organics, Tri-Swim, and Ultra Swim. These products include all-natural and botanical ingredients that are highly beneficial for the hair such as Aloe Vera, as well as vitamins such as vitamin E, vitamin K, and vitamin A. They also contain sea salt which is another natural ingredient that aids in the removal of unnecessary chlorine, in addition to adding moisture to the hair.

Additional Tips:
Chlorine can also dry out the skin in addition to the hair. Try not to forget to moisturize the skin after swimming in a chlorinated pool. Natural moisturizers work best such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and hemp seed oil to name a few. All of these oils can also be used on the hair to help restore any loss of moisture. In the event that you cannot find a moisturizing clarifying shampoo, be sure to follow up with a deep conditioner or hot oil treatment after clarifying the hair and scalp. Clarifying shampoos are deep cleansing and have a tendency to cause the hair to become dry if moisture is not restored to the hair after shampooing.

The steps provided above will help you reduce damage to your natural strands that may be caused by exposure to chlorinated water, and also increase the recovery rate from any minor chlorine damage.


5 thoughts on “7 Tips for Swimming with Natural Hair

  1. Jess

    Any tips for going to the beach? Either in how to prevent drying from sitting on the beach or what to do before or after getting my hair wet in the ocean? Thanks!

  2. Jenny

    Thanx for tips. I have a natural hair and I am worry about it in summer. I was looking for a good hair care on summer and I find here http://www.proswimwear.co.uk/…/swimming…/hair-care.html . It contains several active ingredients to remove chlorine and chlorine odour from the hair that ordinary shampoos just cannot do.

  3. Tonya Rapley

    This post was really helpful. I started taking swimming lessons today and as I pulled my cap off and finger combed through my saturated hair, mild panic set in. So I came home and got to researching. I have the styling lotion for the Shea Moisture JBCO line and made an oil blend (Olive oil, JBCO, Sweet Almond oil). I will pick up the shampoo this week before my next lesson. I have been experiencing shedding all summer despite making significant improvements to my diet so hopefully this helps as well.

    1. Tamara Post author

      Hey Tonya,

      I’m so happy you found this information helpful. Sometime hair sheds seasonal or because it’s dry. Get a good deep conditioner with proteins like Organic Stimulators Hair Mayo or Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor. Thanks for stopping by. I admire what you’re doing with your brand and business.


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