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Hair Damaged From Chlorine: How to Manage and Prevent

A pool day is one of the best ways to have a little fun in the sun, but all the swimming in chlorine can often leave your hair susceptible to damage. The good news is that you can still enjoy a dip without worrying about the state of your locks. All it takes to save yourself from chlorine damaged hair is a little know-how when it comes to the optimum hair care for swimmers. From learning the best way to look after your tresses before you grace the water to discovering how to take care of your hair after swimming, here’s all the intel you need to keep your tresses in top shape.


Does chlorine damage hair?


In one word: yes. Chlorine is a chemical that is often used to keep pools free from bacteria, and while it’s necessary for hygiene, chlorine doesn’t play so nicely with hair. This is because the chemical can remove oil from your hair and scalp, leaving it feeling dry and more prone to frizz and split ends. It can also fade colour, change the texture of your hair (hello, straw-like locks), and cause further breakage. Given how much time, money and effort we devote to keeping our hair looking great, it’s important to know the ins and outs of hair care for swimmers. Discover our top ‘must-dos’ and best hair products for chlorine damaged hair below.


Pre-swimming hair care


Protecting your hair starts before you even jump in the pool. Before swimming hair care is a step you can’t afford to miss as it allows you to pre-empt the potential damage to your hair caused by chlorine. It’s well worth the effort, as often minimising the damage at the start is one of the best ways to protect your locks – and all it takes is a few easy steps.


Wet hair before swimming


This may sound counterintuitive (given your hair will naturally get wet when you go for a swim in a pool) but wetting your hair with tap water before you take a dip is a necessary step as it reduces the amount of chlorinated water your hair can naturally absorb. Think of your hair as being like a sponge – if you allow it to soak up regular water beforehand, there’s less capacity for it to draw in chlorinated water. Given how damaging swimming in a pool can be to hair, this is one of the best ways to minimise the likelihood of chlorine damaged hair.


Apply a conditioner in advance


Coating your strands with a conditioner such as the Pureology Hydrate Conditioner offers additional protection for your hair in the pool. Once you’ve thoroughly wet your hair, apply a thin layer of conditioner to offer an extra hydration boost, and to also act as a barrier to protect your locks against chlorine.


Wear a swimming cap


A good ol’ fashioned swimming cap is also an effective before swimming hair care move. Admittedly, it might not be the most fashionable of accessories when you’re hitting the pool, but it does provide a great defence against chlorine as it offers a physical barrier for your hair in the water. Because the less contact your hair makes with chlorine, the less damage it can cause.


Post-swimming hair care


When it comes to learning how to take care of your hair after swimming, there are a few important things you need to do. These steps will help to lessen the potential damage to your hair caused by chlorine and give it the best chance of recovering if the damage has already been done.


Thoroughly rinse hair after swimming


As soon as you jump out of the pool, give your hair a good rinse in the shower. To help wash the chlorine from your hair further, use a shampoo such as Pureology Hydrate Shampoo. This enables you to get rid of most of the chlorine from your hair, and having hair that has been properly cleansed will aid greatly in avoiding a post-swim situation of hair damaged from chlorine.


Use hydrating haircare


Chlorine is quite drying on hair, so it’s important to use products that are specifically designed to offer a big hydration boost such as those in the Pureology Hydrate collection. The Pureology Hydrate Sheer Shampoo and its counterpart, the Pureology Hydrate Sheer Conditioner are a great combination for combatting chlorine damaged hair. They’re both lightweight and silicone-free, which will deliver moisture to the hair without weighing it down.


Deep condition weekly


To level up your post swimming hair care routine, consider adding a deep conditioning treatment to nourish your locks and combat any dryness caused by chlorine. The Pureology Hydrate Superfood Treatment is like a vitamin shot for your hair – containing avocado oil and coconut oil, it adds extra moisture while leaving your hair soft and shiny.


Another great alternative is the Pureology Hydrate Soft Softening Treatment which is an ultra-creamy hair mask that you can lather on weekly. Containing almond oil (which helps to repair breakage) and shea butter (which seals in moisture) it’s a luxe way to pamper your tresses and one of the most effective things to do when it comes to how to take care of your hair after swimming.


It pays to look after your tresses, no matter the activity or terrain. Caring for your hair when you exercise is also important for keeping it looking great. Check out our essential tips for post workout hair care plus our favourite cute and easy hairstyles for the gym.

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