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 15 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!

Chlorine

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 unintentional 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.

Saltwater

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 damage 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

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 contain green tea, witch hazel, arnica, and eucalyptus oil.

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

2) Apply A Natural Oil

Whether or not you have the chance to shower in fresh water, apply a natural oil — like coconut oil or olive 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.

Both oils are water-resistant, so they’re great on defense. This means they can protect your hair when you’re swimming by repelling chlorinated water.

Olive oil is rich in vitamin A and E and helps to preserve keratin (a type of protective protein found in your hair, skin, and nails). And coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that moisturize your hair and scalp.

To correctly use these oils before going for a swim, apply either one to your hair after getting it wet (with non-pool water).

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

Expert Tip: If you’re a year-round swimmer and use oil on a daily or weekly basis, you’ll get more bang for your buck by using coconut oil.

3) Spray Your Hair With Conditioner

Before you jump in the water, lather your hair with a leave-in conditioner.

The oils in the conditioner will repel and defend your hair against chemicals and saltwater (just like we mentioned above), but the conditioner also keeps your hair soft so you have fewer tangles when you get out of the water.

If you’ve ever tried brushing your hair (or your little one’s) after going swimming, you know how daunting it can be. Our Smoothing Detangling Spray is just what you need!

It serves as a leave-in conditioner and helps to detangle your hair and give it a beautiful shine. But that’s not all it can do! Use it to:

  • Eliminate frizz
  • Calm flyaways
  • Prevent static
  • Smooth bedhead
  • Calm cowlicks
  • Revive curls

You definitely want to stash this hair care must-have in your pool or beach bag!

Note: Just like with oils, add a leave-in conditioner after wetting your hair for the best results.

4) Wear A Hat

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 daily sunscreen like our Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion will do the trick.

5) Embrace The Swim Cap

Wearing a hat while you’re out of the water protects your hair from the sun. But what about when you’re in the water? A swim cap fits the bill!

An effective swim cap covers all of your hair. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean your hair won’t get wet at all. But it will keep chlorine as far away from your hair as possible.

Even though some pieces of your hair might get exposed to chlorine, the chlorine won’t come near your roots. And your roots are where things tend to get locked in place and do some damage.

Getting chlorine on a few strands of hair can still damage your hair, especially the ends of it. But it’s better than soaking all of your hair in chlorinated water. When it comes to hair protection for swimming, swim caps are your best bet.

Swim caps are designed for men, women, and children. To make it fun for your kids, choose from different designs! (Swim caps are best to use for year-round swimmers.)

6) Switch Up Your Hairstyle

When you’re swimming in the pool or ocean, consider switching up your hairstyle. If your hair is long enough, try braiding it or putting it in a bun or ponytail. These are known as protective hairstyles.

Using a protective hairstyle not only keeps your hair out of your face and eliminates tangles, but it can prevent a huge amount of chlorine from coming into contact with your hair.

For best results, braid your hair when it’s dry and then get it wet before you go swimming. Braiding your hair when it’s wet can sometimes cause more damage since it’s more fragile wet than dry.

7) 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.

8) 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. 

9) 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’ Swim & Sport Citrus Mint Shampoo & Wash is a great option for your post-swim routine!

Our formula is made with purifying and plant-based phytic acid extracted from passion fruit seeds. Rice protein and panthenol help to strengthen and revive hair, leaving it soft and shiny.

10) 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 Citrus Mint Conditioner.

The plant-based and hypoallergenic formula is enriched with sustainably sourced Passion Fruit Seed Oil that provides nutritious rich vitamins, Organic Aloe Vera and Green Tea to soothe and condition, and Organic Fruit Peel and Peppermint Oil to add additional vitamin C benefits.

Rock your look without skipping a beat!

11) 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.

12) Don’t Wash More Than Once A Day

So you now know what type of shampoo and conditioner you should use, but how often should you wash your hair?

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!

13) 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!

14) Sleep On A Silk Pillowcase

During the summer, you want to give your hair the best treatment. This doesn’t just mean tending to your hair during the day. It’s also important to take care of it when you hit the sack at night.

Remember, whatever touches your hair impacts your hair, including your pillowcase. Cotton pillowcases can make your hair super tangly, leaving you with bedhead in the morning. They also bunch up your hair, which results in breakage and damage.

On the other hand, silk pillowcases allow your hair to slide and glide across the surface. This means your hair won’t be so tangled when you wake up, and it’ll prevent frizzy hair, too!

Silk pillowcases also help preserve your style, so you’re less likely to have to redo your hairstyle the next morning!

15) Care For Your Hair All Year

The best way to have healthy, gorgeous hair all summer long is by using the right products all year long, not just during summertime. Hair products will make or break your hair — literally!

Choose hair products that are made from natural ingredients and actually moisturize your hair, not dry it out. Certain chemicals in your hair care products can add more damage to your hair.

Avoid shampoos and conditioners that contain:

  • Sulfates
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Synthetic fragrances
  • Formaldehyde

Instead, look for natural ingredients that nourish your hair, like:

  • Primrose oil
  • Provitamin B
  • Coconut oil
  • Shea butter
  • Cucumber

We’ve already mentioned how our Swim & Chlorine products are great treatments for swimmer’s hair. They help with the removal of chlorine and grime leftover in your hair.

But if you need something to make your hair smoother (since pool water and salt water can leave your hair in a tangled mess!), try our Smoothing Detangling Shampoo & Wash and our Smoothing Detangling Conditioner.

Cut back on the time you spend trying to brush and comb your hair and try our smoothing and softening hair products. If you’re looking for fewer knots, tangles, frizz, and tears, these are your go-to products.

Don’t forget to use our Smoothing Detangling Spray to quickly calm and smooth your (and your kids’) hair!

Hair Care For Swimmers: FAQs

If you’re a swimmer, you probably have a lot of questions about what your hair care routine should look like. Here are some answers to a few frequently asked questions to help you out:

How Do Swimmers Keep Their Hair Healthy?

It’s important to take the right steps for hair protection when swimming so your hair can look healthy and clean, despite the chlorine and pool chemicals. There are a couple of things that swimmers can do to keep their hair healthy, such as showering before they go into the pool, prioritizing hair care after swimming, wearing a swim cap, and sleeping on a silk pillowcase. Showering before you go into the pool can make pool water and chemicals less likely to soak into your hair and damage it. It’s also imperative to use the best hair products for swimmers, like hypoallergenic, sulfate-free shampoo, and a moisturizing conditioner. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase can also be beneficial as it prevents your hair from getting tangled and frizzy as you sleep.

Should Swimmers Wash Their Hair Every Day?

Although you might be tempted to wash your hair every day, swimmers should aim to only wash their hair a couple of times a week. Washing your hair two to three times a week with a good quality shampoo and conditioner will help get rid of chemical buildup and keep your hair looking shiny and healthy. And if you absolutely have to wash your hair every day, definitely don’t do it more than once a day.

Should I Shampoo My Hair After Swimming?

You don’t necessarily have to shampoo and condition your hair after swimming, but you should at least give it a good rinse with fresh water. Shampooing your hair every day can strip it of its natural oils and cause the hair and scalp to dry out. On the days that you do choose to shampoo your hair, just make sure you use a hypoallergenic shampoo that will get all that chlorine and grime out.

What Hair Products Should Swimmers Use?

Swimmers should choose hair products that are made with natural ingredients that will moisturize your hair and not dry it out. Swimmers should avoid hair products that contain sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and formaldehyde. Instead, they should opt for hair products that contain nourishing, natural ingredients, like coconut oil, shea butter, and primrose oil.

Love Your Locks With The Right Hair Care For Swimmers

To protect your luscious locks from chlorine, proper hair care for swimmers is crucial. And thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can keep your hair looking healthy, even if you swim every day.

Don’t let dry, brittle swimmers’ hair keep you from loving your locks! Follow our 15 tips for hair care for swimmers, and keep Swim & Sport Citrus Mint Shampoo & Wash and Swim & Sport Citrus Mint Conditioner in your shower, gym bag, and beach bag.