Should You Wash Your Hair After Swimming?

Walking down the memory lane, I remember the very first time I ever had to really swim without my instructor’s aid. This was aside from the occasional five to ten minutes I spent during my training process with my instructor.

It was during a visit made in the company of some friends to a neighboring state with an intention to go spend some alone time in their tourist attraction areas. The surrounding of the pool was in itself nice, clean, and inviting.

Should You Wash Your Hair After Swimming

The water was sparkling clean also with the lifeguard equally standing close by just in case of any eventualities. Then off into the pool we went and started having a nice time. Then came the big question by one of the ladies on the ground, ‘Would I need to wash my hair after this swimming session’, she queried? Almost immediately after she asked the question, it was as though the question had been anticipated, a guy snapped in the answer.


Do You Have To Wash Your Hair After Swimming

The answer to your question is a “YES”. There’s a need for you to wash your hair as soon as you leave the pool. This is done in a bid to wash off the chemicals primarily Chlorine used in keeping the pool and its water clean off the hair making it as clean and free of chemicals as possible.

Professionals proffered that the washing of hair is the most reasonable thing to do after swimming especially in a swimming pool. This is due to the fact that when not washed, chlorine and other chemicals used in keeping the pool settled in the hair cause great damage. However, in a situation where you want to avoid the regular use of shampoo to wash the hair, rinsing with water can equally be done.


How Does Chlorine And Saltwater Damage The Hair?

Swimming can either be done as an exercise which helps to raise your fitness level and equally relaxes your mind, it can also serve as a means of sporting activity. However, it can result in damage to the hair when needed and necessary precautions are not duly followed due to the presence of chlorine and other forms of chemicals in the water. 

Chlorine has an adverse effect on the hair. It turns the hair green irrespective of the color. It easily forms water-soluble chemicals upon its reaction with keratin and then binds with the hair fiber leading to breakage of hair, loss of hair, or hair dryness.

Chlorine together with the other chemicals found in the pool rids the scalp of natural oil leading to hair dryness and continued exposure resulting in the scalp swelling and several other serious damages.

Do well to put to full and proper use some of the tips you’ll find in this article as it helps you to easily care for your hair as you go swimming without having to spend a huge amount on the use of expensive hair care products.



Caring for your hair can easily be done or looked into primarily under three major approaches which are or form the tips to follow before swimming, while swimming and when you are out of the pool and done with swimming.


What haircare practice should I Do Before Swimming?

The following activities should be dutifully engaged in before entering the swimming pool

Oil The Hair

oil hair

Application of oil to the hair is the most basic and vital procedure that helps to shield the hair from chlorinated water. The oil goes deep down into the hair shaft thereby preventing water from going into the cuticle which could result in the swelling and drying of the cuticle. Oil helps in filling up the gap that occurs between the cuticle cells and thereby preventing the entrance of chlorine into the cuticle.

Oil application prior to swimming creates a protective layer on the scalp making the hair waterproof. Also, the oil helps to avert the leaching of color in hair preventing green coloration of the hair (blonde hair inclusive). A good example of an oil that can be applied includes olive or coconut oil as it helps to stop the loss of protein in the hair. 


Shower before entering the pool


Wet hair coated with oil easily helps to reduce the rate of absorption of chlorine there reducing the rate of damage to and breakage of hair. Therefore, taking a shower before entering the pool is highly essential for your hair safety.


Apply a leave-in conditioner

apply conditioner

This is a form of conditioner that acts as a humectant protecting hair from damage by chlorine water. It does not just nourish the hair but equally provides a layer of protection from chlorine and other chemicals found in a pool.


Apply Hairspray

apply hair spray

Applying hairspray especially if you are into outdoor swimming is highly essential as it helps to protect the hair from UVA and UVB ray damage from the Sun and also nourishes the hair. It also helps to guard against the fading of hair color.


Things To Do While Swimming

The following activities should be carried out while swimming in a bid to care for your hair

  • Make use of a Swimming cap

The use of a swimming cap is one very good way to prevent the hair from experiencing the damaging effect brought about by the action of chlorinated water. It is usually worn to cover the entire head thereby keeping the hair dry all through your time in the pool.

One interesting aspect of this is that it adds a fashionable approach to the entire shift as you can easily protect yourself as you swim and also match your swimming cap with your other swimwear.


How should I care for my hair After Swimming?

When swimming without a cap, the following should be strictly adhered to after leaving the pool in order to prevent serious damage to the hair.

  • Wash your hair Thoroughly

Thoroughly rinse or wash the hair immediately after leaving the pool or swimming. This act to remove the chlorine, other chemicals, and residue (in the case of outdoor swimming) that may have built up at the scalp.

  • Apply Shampoo

A deposition of chlorine in the hair causes huge damage to the hair as it affects both its color and texture. One good way to rid the hair of chlorine deposits is therefore to rinse or wash with anti-chlorine shampoo. This also helps to nourish the tresses.

  • Apply a deep conditioner

This simply helps to guard against dryness, nourish the hair, and also add moisture to it. For extra nourishment, a leave-in conditioner can equally be applied.

  • Comb out Tresses

Easily detangle the hair by combing with a wide-toothed brush. This act helps to reduce the tension in the hair and also limits the rate and risk of breakage


What Hair Care Products Should I Apply To My Hair After Swimming? 

Types of Hair

Hair Care Product

Oily hair

Bumble and Bumble Sunday Clarifying Shampoo

Dry hair

Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo

Keeping blonde hair from turning green

Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo

Keeping your hair color intact

Kenra Professional Clarifying Shampoo

Wavy or curly hair

Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

Deep-cleaning hair and scalp

Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo

Kids or frequent swimmers

TriSwim Kids Chlorine Removal Shampoo


How Do I Prevent Hair Damage Caused by swimming?

Listed below are a few things you can do to retain moisture in your hair and prevent real or serious damage that may result from using the pool:

  • Washing with CO: after swimming, you should not leave your hair to air-dry. Instead, wash it immediately when you leave the pool so as to replenish the moisture in your scalp and hair. This is essential due to the fact that Chlorine rids your hair of its moisture. However, when washing the hair, it is much advisable to make use of a conditioner rather than a shampoo (as it dries the hair the most).
  • Making use of mask: in order to prevent dryness of the hair, make maintenance of it a weekly exercise you will always carry out. This goes a long way to helping to restore all the essential oils that may have been lost in the water, therefore engaging in weekly deep conditioning in order to have this done. 
  • Daily moisturizing: going weeks (at least two) in a row with dry will however have an adverse effect on your hair as it is going to break by the following week. Daily moisturize and nourish the hair by using butter even when the hair is still slightly wet.


Final Thoughts

The effect of chlorine and other chemicals found in the pool can be quite disastrous or have a debilitating effect on the hair when left to dry after leaving the pool without an immediate washing of the hair afterward.

Washing or rinsing your hair after swimming immediately after leaving the pool is such a good idea as this will help to remove the chlorine and other chemicals that may have build-up in the scalp thereby causing untold damage to the hair resulting from dryness of hair. 

When having to swim several days in a row, it is best advised that you only rinse the hair with non-chlorinated water as daily usage of shampoo may equally have an adverse effect on the hair. Also, it is best advised that you wash the hair once daily in order to prevent dryness and breakage.

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