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How to protect your hair when swimming

Love swimming but hate what it does to your hair? Give chlorine a run for its money with these hair-protection tips.

Chlorine – public enemy number one when it comes to hair health, yet vital in helping make your local pool a bacteria-free zone. So what’s a regular swimmer to do? Try these damage limitation tips and enjoy protected, healthy-looking hair, no matter how often you hit the pool.


Shower before you swim


We’re not just talking hygiene here (although we’re all for that). Think of your hair as a sponge; pop it in a chlorinated pool and it soaks up the water – hair-damaging chemicals and all. A rinse in the shower allows your hair to ‘fill up’ on clean water, so it has less room to absorb chlorine when you hit the pool.

Wear a swimming cap to protect your hair at the pool


In addition to its streamlining effects, the humble swim cap tucks away your hair, exposing less of it to chlorinated pool water. Find yours tricky to put on? To make the process easier, first wet your hair then apply conditioner all over (without rinsing). Voila – easier to put on, plus fewer painful hair pulls when the time comes to take it off. Shop swimming caps.


Treat your hair to an up-do


If you’re a long-haired swimmer, we’re pretty certain you already wear your hair up in the pool, but how about giving it a conditioning treatment while you swim? Our tip: slather the ends of your hair in argan oil or conditioner, then get creative – think braiding, a low bun or a plait. Perfect for the pool or sunny holiday.

Give your hair some TLC with specialist shampoos and conditioners


Got your hair wet during your swim? Make a beeline for specialist after-swim shampoos designed specifically to remove chlorine deposits from your hair (if you can’t find a swim-specific one, snap up a clarifying shampoo instead). Rinse your hair thoroughly, then slather on a rich conditioner or conditioning treatment to restore much-needed moisture.


Protect your colour


Chlorine can leach pigment from coloured hair, causing it to fade and become damaged and brittle. If you really love your colour, make a swim cap your new best friend and avoid swimming for at least a week after your dye job. Coloured hair is super-vulnerable to damage, so invest in weekly deep conditioning treatments and always use colour-protecting haircare products to help prevent fade.


Hair plan sorted – now what about your body? Swimming regularly can leave skin feeling dry. To avoid parched skin, always shower after your swim to remove any traces of chlorine, then follow with a rich body moisturiser or oil.