Can Chlorine Ruin My Hair?

Most of us have heard the rumor.  I’m talking about whispers of chlorine damaging your hair. Or even worse, people warning that chlorine can turn your beautiful, newly colored locks into a wretched green color.

With summer coming up FAST, you’re probably wondering if this rumor is true? Let’s clear a few questions up and I’ll offer advice for keeping your hair looking beautiful and beachy on your upcoming pool days.

Why do pools need chlorine anyway?

Chlorine  is a chemical disinfectant that pool owners add to the keep their water fresh and clean. In fact, if your swimming in a pool without chlorine, you’re likely swimming in slime and dirt. Gross, right?!

So, can chlorine ruin my hair?

If you’re swimming in a pool for short amounts of time, chlorine probably won’t cause a lot of damage to your hair. You might notice your hair feeling dryer than usual, but nothing too dramatic.

However, if you’re spending hours in the pool each day on a regular basis, you are at greater risk for hair damage. Why, you may ask. Well, disinfectants (like chlorine) fight to kill off and remove dirt, oil, and other bacteria.

With long exposure in a pool, the chlorine will start removing the natural oil our scalp produces to project and replenish our hair. As a result, regular swimmers (who don’t take proper care of their hair), could experience any of the following: extremely dry hair, itchy scalp, increased split-ends, and even thinning hair.

Good to know! But what about the other rumor? Will chlorine turn my blonde hair green?

No, I’m happy to report this rumor is actually false! According to this article, “It isn’t the chlorine that turns blonde hair green. Oxidized metals in the water bind to the protein in the hair shaft and deposit their color. The metal that produces the green tint is copper, which is most commonly found in algicides, though it naturally occurs in some water. The bleach that is added to a pool may be responsible for oxidizing the metal, but it’s not the cause of the color.”

What should you do if your hair DOES turn green from metals in the water? Find a shampoo that removes the metals from your hair.

And obviously, never swim in that water or pool again, unless you have evidence the metal has been removed from the water.

Don’t let chlorine ruin your beautiful hair! After all, your stylist spends a lot of time making your hair look great! Here are a few tips to prevent chlorine damaged hair:

Rinse your hair before AND after getting into the water. You know those signs that always warn you to rinse your body and hair before jumping into the water? Well, they have a purpose!? Obviously pool owners want you to rinse off any dirt hiding on your body. But they’re also doing you a favor too! By jumping into the water with wet hair, you’re actually less likely to absorb much of the chlorine lurking in the water.

Head straight to the shower and start shampooing! Lathering you up hair with shampoo immediately after your day at the pool is the best way to remove the chlorine build-up in your hair. If you are swimming on daily basis, ask your stylist about special shampoos made to treat chlorine-damaged hair.  Our fave? Malibu C shampoos and repair kits, which work like a dream for frequent swimmers and those who have hard water.

Gain back the protein balance by moisturizing your hair back to health. Now that you’ve used shampoo to remove the extra chlorine in your hair, you need to replenish your hair with protein and moisture. Browse through our list of hair treatments and masks here or ask your stylist which hair moisturizer she recommends based on your hair type.

Following these three tips will help you prevent extremely dry hair, itchy scalp, increased split-ends, and thinning hair after regular dips in the pool.

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