How to Protect Hair from Pool Damage

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise and a fun activity you can do on your own or with friends and family. Unfortunately, chlorine and other chemicals used to keep a pool clean can damage your hair. Learning how to protect your hair from pool damage is a must, especially for avid swimmers who don’t want to give up their favorite pastime.

Wet Your Hair

Dry hair soaks up liquids quickly, so as soon as it touches that chlorinated water, it absorbs the liquid and chemicals. To reduce the absorption of these chemicals, wet your hair before stepping into the pool. Hair can only take in so much moisture, so the wetter it is before you get in, the less pool water it can absorb.

Use Leave-in Products and Conditioner

To protect your hair from the chemicals and salt in the pool, you may want to add some protective hair products before swimming. A good leave-in conditioner will coat your hair, moisturizing it while preventing chlorine absorption. 

You can also find conditioners specifically formulated for swimmers. They contain specialized ingredients to counter the damage pool water can cause.

Alternatively, you can apply oil to your hair to repel the water and chlorine - that way, your hair won’t soak them up. A good option is coconut oil since it is inexpensive and contains moisturizing fatty acids. You can also try olive oil, which has antioxidants, and Vitamins A and E, which work together to protect the natural keratin in your hair.

Wear a Swim Cap

Whether you plan on using leave-in products or not, you can use a swim cap to keep pool water off your locks. This creates a barrier between your hair and the water for added protection. You can wear these over dry hair, but wetting your hair first creates an even tighter seal for less leakage as you move in the water.

Any standard swim cap will do. You can find one at major department stores, your local beauty supply store, or online.  

Rinse Well

In addition to preparing your hair before swimming, you should also take steps to protect your hair after you get out of the pool. 

Rinse the pool water from your hair immediately after swimming to get all the chemicals and salt out. For a more thorough clean, you can wash your hair with either regular shampoo or clarifying shampoo.

Afterward, apply a moisturizing conditioner to replenish your hair’s moisture levels. You can also try a hair mask or deep conditioning treatment for a bit of extra TLC.

Daily dips in chlorinated or salt water pools can wreak havoc on your hair, but you can greatly reduce the effects of pool water damage. Adding one or two of the above options to your regimen can help maintain your hair’s healthy look and feel. But incorporating all of them will give you the best possible results. We hope that this article is helpful to you in your pursuit of healthy hair. 


Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.

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