5 Tips to Prevent Hair Damage from Swimming

Swimming – either in a public pool or the ocean – can be a worrying proposition if you have fragile, thinning hair.

Chlorine from pool water and salty sea water are both incredibly damaging if they dry in your hair… and with sea water, the problem is made worse by the additional damage from the sun!

So here on this page we’ll share with you 5 simple ways to protect your hair when swimming, so you can look after your locks AND continue to do the things you love to do!

Quickly, make sure you take the free hair quiz later in this article.

1. Wear a cap!

A cap certainly offers protection, but most caps are made from silicone or latex, which have a horrible way of clinging to your hair and pulling it as you put the cap on.

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Pulling your hair, of course, is absolutely the LAST thing you want to do.

So the best way to prevent this is to wet your hair BEFORE putting it on (this has added benefits too, as you’ll see below). 

You’ll find that it’s MUCH easier to pull a cap over wet hair than dry.

Such a simple tip… but so effective!

Another option is to use a Lycra cap instead – they are much more gentle on the hair.

And we particularly love the ‘My Swim Cap‘ – an adjustable cap that can accommodate most hair lengths and types.

If your swimming is more – (ahem) – recreational, then you may not desire the ‘swimming cap look’.

So try reducing the surface area of your hair that comes into contact with the water by securing it in a bun, or – at the very least – by braiding it.

Hate swim caps?

If you really can’t bear to wear a swim cap, check out Phillip Kingsley Swim Cap – a leave-in cream that forms a barrier between the water and your hair.

2. Soak your hair in plain water BEFORE you get into the pool


Because once your hair is saturated, it can’t soak up any MORE water, such as harmful pool water!

3. PRE-Condition your hair

Using a wide-tooth comb, comb conditioner (preferably the leave-in variety) through your hair BEFORE getting into the pool/ocean.

This creates a ‘barrier’, protecting the individual hairs from soaking up the damaging water.

We also like to use coconut oil for this purpose, which is medically proven to provide excellent hair protection.

Make sure you use the organic, unrefined variety which happens to smell delicious too!

4. Rinse your hair as soon as you can

Try NOT to wait until you get home – the longer the chlorine or salt are in your hair, the more damage they’ll do.

Just rinsing your hair with plain water will suffice until you can give it a little more attention.

If you’re planning a trip to a remote beach – where the chance of finding a fresh water shower is slim – then bring some water with you.

The last thing you want is the sun drying the salt on your hair.

5. Pamper your hair with after-care!

Finally, treat your hair to a good shampoo, followed by the application of a rich conditioner. Make sure the products are gentle (you don’t want to strip the hair even more) and use a wide-tooth comb to comb the conditioner through the hair and really distribute it thoroughly from root to tip.

Try and let your hair dry naturally if possible, without using heat.

If you’re in a dry climate – or a cold country with indoor heating – try using a humidifier, which can really help soften your hair.

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