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Hair Care For Swimmers: 10 Tips For Healthy, Gorgeous Hair This Summer

Posted on February 12 2020

Family hanging out at the pool


Has time in the pool left you with dry, damaged hair? It doesn’t have to be that way! Whether you’re a year-round competitive swimmer, looking after your kids during swim team days, or just out for a little summer fun yourself, hair care for swimmers is essential.

To help keep your hair healthy and gorgeous while you’re in and out of the water, Babo Botanicals is here with 10 hair care tips for swimmers. Chlorine and saltwater will have nothing on you!

How Chlorine And Saltwater Damage Your Hair

If you’ve spent more than a few days at the pool, you might have first-hand experience with dry, straw-like hair. Or maybe you’ve even noticed a slight change in your hair color — and not because you dyed it! 

Before we jump into tips for swimmer hair care, let’s take a look at exactly how swimming can damage your hair. That way, you’ll understand a bit more about how to combat that damage with the right treatment!


Woman sitting on dock splashing her feet
You’ve probably heard that chlorine damages your hair and can even turn it green like the Grinch. OK, maybe not quite that bad, but who wants green hair?

Surprisingly, that green tint some swimmers experience isn’t due to chlorine alone. It comes from both copper and chlorine. When those two get together, they can turn light-colored hair a horrible shade of green.

Regardless of the science behind green hair, we don’t like it!

The other way chlorinated pools can affect your hair? Drying it out. Chlorine dries and damages your hair by stripping it of its natural oils, which weakens it and leaves it susceptible to breakage and split ends.

Pool chemicals can also dry and irritate your scalp (not to mention the rest of your body) if you have sensitive skin.


Woman at the beach wearing a hat
The salty water of the ocean is natural and, in many ways, good for you! The biggest drawback of ocean water is that it can leave your hair quite thirsty — especially if you have dry hair to begin with.

Saltwater isn’t full of chemicals like chlorine water, so you’re sparing your body that influx of chemicals when you swim in the ocean. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the salt in ocean water can still do a number on your hair and skin by leaving them dry.

Plus, both chlorine and saltwater can be extra drying for color-treated hair since it has already been stripped of some of its protective oil.

Hair Care For Swimmers: Tips And Tricks

Three friends at the beach

Wherever you’re splashing around, the right hair care is important! To help you achieve the luscious locks you crave, here’s our list of hair care tips and tricks for swimmers.

1) Shower First

You know how some pools require you to rinse off before hopping in the water? There’s a good reason for that. It’s partly for the sake of keeping the pool water clean, but it’s also good for your hair (and skin)!

Your hair and skin are like sponges. When you shower off before getting in the pool, your hair and skin soak up that fresh water, making them less likely to soak up the pool water and its damaging chemicals.

A shower is your best bet because it gets both your hair and skin wet. But if you don’t have access to a shower, simply run some water over your head in the sink.

Filling a water bottle and giving your head a good squirt is always an option, too!

For more summer skin TLC, apply Babo Botanicals’s After Sun Soothing Hydrating Aloe Gel. Our quick-absorbing and non-sticky aloe vera gel also contains green tea, witch hazel, arnica, and eucalyptus oil.

It’s a treat for your sun-kissed skin!

 Babo Botanicals’s Haircare for Swimmers

2) Apply Coconut Oil

Whether or not you have the chance to shower in fresh water, apply coconut oil to your hair before dipping it in the pool or the ocean.

This provides a protective coating for your hair, keeping moisture in and warding off the chemicals and dryness.

Keep in mind that if you’re wearing a latex or silicone swim camp, coconut oil may make the cap slide off your head. In that case, you might have to skip the coconut oil and up your hair care game in other ways.

3) Wear A Hat

woman in pool wearing hat as part of hair care for swimmers

Wearing a hat while lounging by the pool or relaxing on the beach is a good idea for many reasons — plus, it’s just a cute summertime accessory! But how can a baseball cap or sunhat help your hair?

It will provide sun protection for sensitive or color-treated hair, keep tangles at bay, and protect your scalp and face from the rays of the sun.

This probably goes without saying, but don’t forget to armor-up with sunscreen every time you go outside! Don’t just grab the first sunscreen you see. Choose one that’s safe for your body and the coral reefs.

For your delicate face, check out our Daily Sheer Tinted Facial Mineral Sunscreen. And for the rest of your body, a reef-safe sunscreen, like our Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion, will do the trick.

4) Rinse Off After Swimming

Even if you don’t have the chance to take a shower right after swimming, a quick rinse-off can help. Running fresh water through your hair will remove some of the saltwater or chemicals until you have time to take a proper shower.

Remember that even though ocean water is more natural than pool water, it can still affect hair color and dry out your hair.

5) Wash With Shampoo

When you do get in the shower after a swim, make sure to suds up with a good shampoo. After soaking in the chlorine or saltwater, your hair needs a thorough washing, not a half-hearted rinse!

Look for a shampoo that will effectively clean your hair without drying it out or irritating your scalp. That brings us to our next point.

6) Choose Hypoallergenic Shampoo

The goal of washing your hair is to get the chlorine and grime out, not add more chemicals to the picture!

Choose a shampoo that’s hypoallergenic and free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicone, and synthetic fragrances. Babo Botanicals’s Swim & Sport Shampoo & Wash is a great option for your post-swim routine!

Babo Botanicals’s Hair care for Swimmers

The corn-derived chelator helps remove chlorine, salt, pollution, and grime, leaving your hair soft, smooth, and shiny. This purifying swim shampoo contains Natural Aloe Vera and Cucumber to moisturize and comfort your scalp and skin.

7) Finish With A Conditioner

Hair that’s dry from a day of swimming needs the hydration of a good conditioner.

Moisturize parched hair that has been exposed to sun, chlorine, or minerals with a conditioner like our Swim & Sport Conditioner. It contains Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, and Provitamin B5 to detangle, repair, and protect hair.

Rock your look without skipping a beat!

8) Comb Your Hair

When your hair is wet, it’s especially prone to breakage. Skip the hairbrush entirely after swimming.

When it comes to hair care for swimmers, go easy on your hair by using a wide-tooth comb or simply running your fingers through it to work out the tangles. Start at the bottom and work your way up as you detangle.

9) Don’t Wash More Than Once A Day

While keeping your hair clean is important for healthy, shiny hair, washing it too much just serves to dry it out.

If possible, avoid washing your hair more than once a day. Your hair, scalp, and skin will thank you for it!

10) Avoid The Heat

When we say “avoid the heat,” we’re not talking about the summer sun, although you should cover up and protect your skin from its damaging rays when possible.

Instead, we’re referring to how you style your hair.

Counteract some of that summer hair damage by taking a break from heat like hairdryers, straighteners, or curling irons. Give your hair a day off every now and then and embrace your natural look!

Love Your Locks With The Right Hair Care For Swimmers

Friends enjoying drinks in the pool

Don’t let dry, brittle swimmers’ hair keep you from loving your locks! Follow our 10 tips for hair care for swimmers, and keep Swim & Sport Shampoo and Swim & Sport Conditioner in your shower, gym bag, and beach bag.

You’ll be in good shape to toss your hair all summer long!

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