Summer is here, and it makes sense to head to the beach, local watering hole or the swimming pool or water adventure getaway to beat the heat. Swimming is the best full body, calorie burning exercise for your body! However, we tend to overlook the presence of chlorine, sea salt, bits of lake life and other chemicals in water, beside the harsh summer sun that can wreak disaster on our crowning glory! We could end up with falling, frayed, dull, brittle, dry, damaged hair—from elements. Well, ruining your lovely locks after a day in the pool isn’t worth it! Hence, it is vital to maintaining a hair care regime before and after a swim. Here are a few fabulous ways to protect your hair!
Pre-swimming Hair Care
- Protect your hair against chlorine by wetting your hair meticulously before you go swimming; this is because wet hair absorbs less chlorine and sea salt as opposed to dry hair. Hair is akin to sponge; it absorbs all that it possibly can. Once wet, it can no longer absorb more! The water doused hair, swells each strand, foiling it from soaking in chlorine filled water. Avoid pre-swim shampooing as shampoo strips the hair of its natural oils that act as a barrier between your hair and chlorine and hydrates the top layer of the skin.
- Apply a conditioner, leave-in serum all over your hair before hitting the pool. This is because the silicone present in the conditioner can create a fence between your hair and water, keeping chlorine and other chemicals at bay, giving you tangle-free tresses.
- You can also apply a light coating of olive, sesame or jojoba oil to your hair; It will create a barrier between the hair and chlorine, preventing it from any damage or making your hair turn green or bleached out!
- Wear a swim cap! Soaking the hair with oil followed by wearing a swim cap provides the second shield to the hair against chemicals or the hair from becoming wet or even clogging ears. If you have ultra-sensitive hair, you can cover your hair with a shower cap followed by a swim cap for double protection and entirely prevent the water from seeping inside.
- You can try Shea butter for the hair for its natural sunscreen properties which prevents UVA and UVB ray effects on the hair.
- You could also whip your long hair into a braid, flat twists, buns or Bantu knots, for protective hairstyles to prevent tangling and minimize chlorine water absorption.
Post Swimming Haircare
- Once you are done with your swimming session, make sure you wash your hair well, at least five times to eliminate any trace of chlorine, grime or stiff chemicals. You must use an exceptional quality clarifying shampoo for washing your hair, or a pinch of baking soda added to your regular mild shampoo and do not simply rinse it with plain water.
- You need to re-condition your hair post swimming as chlorine can be harsh on you and may dry out your hair. So you need to shampoo and condition your hair as a regime, even if you go swimming every single day, this process helps you repair the lost moisture. Alternatively, you could rinse your hair with vinegar to restore the hair balance and hydrates the cuticle.
- Brushing wet hair is begging for trouble, hence use a wide tooth comb. You should gently work your way through the hair tangles, and the wide teeth steer clear of frizzy strands and breakage.
- Once you are through with your swimming, do not use direct heat or heated styling products or gadgets on your hair. Instead, use a heat diffuser attachment or low heat dryer for less damage to the hair.
Hair Expert Shruti Venkat says, ‘Whether you go for a lap in the pool or ocean, try to take some time out for your hair. You could apply coconut oil as a pre-swim regime, and after, use apple cider vinegar to remove residues in your hair, keeping your hair soft and shiny, and providing some lasting love to your locks. Keep a shower cap, hair oil, protectant, conditioners with SPF, normalizing shampoo, and serum in your swim bag at all times.’