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How to Protect Hair from Chlorine Damage


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If you have ever spent a summer’s day at the pool, you are probably all too familiar with the smell of chlorine clinging onto your hair and skin even long after you have left. Chlorine is commonly used to sanitize pool water, and its chemical properties break down bacteria that otherwise would be harmful to the unsuspecting swimmer.

What Does Chlorine Do to Your Hair?

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Chlorine can become a nuisance, especially if you love going to the pool regularly. Over time, you will notice a difference in your hair after its contact with the chlorinated water. It may become dry and brittle to the touch which are all common signs that chlorine has stripped your hair of its natural oils.

Essentially, the roots of your hair follicles generate a substance called sebum. When exposed to pool water, hair shafts absorb the chlorine ridding you of the moisture that sebum provides and leaving hair strands more prone to breakage and split ends.

For those with lighter colored hair, an even stranger phenomenon may occur. Regular swimmers may notice a green tint to their hair, otherwise known as ‘chlorine green hair.’ The green color is caused by chlorine oxidation that occurs when the chemical is exposed to the copper present in the pool’s pipage system.

How to Get Chlorine-Out of Hair

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Thankfully, all of these chlorine-induced hair issues can be evaded with a few simple steps. Although it may be tempting, do not leave the pool and go on with your day without washing the chlorine out of your hair. In order to remove any last traces of chlorine, you can create and apply a baking soda paste. Making the paste is simple. Mix ½ cup of baking soda with water; apply to hair and rinse. Follow up with your normal hair care routine.

There are also hair products specifically tailored to solve this kind of problem. The best hair products are pH balancing shampoos which target the root of the problem. Specially formulated to provide gentle protection on hair, pH balancing hair products are recommended to restore damaged cuticles and irritated scalps after a day at the pool or after any form of exposure to chlorine.

How to Protect Your Hair from Chlorine

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Being proactive about your hair’s health is a great way to avoid damage from chlorine. According to hair care professionals, olive oil or coconut oil are useful tools for protection. The best hair products with coconut oil and other natural ingredients coat the hair so that it may not come in contact with chlorine while strengthening the sebum already present in the hair follicles.

Experts also suggest wearing a cap to the pool, as it minimizes hair’s contact with the damaging effects of chlorine. Their suggestions also include wetting hair with non-chlorinated water before immersing it into chlorinated water as well as using leave-in conditioner prior to your swim.

Soaking hair with water before entering the pool minimizes the amount of chlorine that hair follicles would normally absorb while applying leave-in conditioner has the same coating effect as using olive oil or coconut oil.

How to Protect Colored Hair from Chlorine

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Colored hair is also susceptible to the damaging effects of chlorine. As mentioned before, those who have lighter, blonder hair -- especially if it is color-treated -- have a higher risk of it turning green in addition to the loss of shine and dryness.

Steps towards protecting color-treated hair are much of the same. Coat the hair with oils or conditioner, wear a cap, or opt to purchase hair care products geared towards the treatment of colored hair. Whatever you decide, these are all effective ways to protect your hair from chlorine damage.