So You Think You Can Swim? A Guide to Recovering from a Day at the Pool with Naturally Curly Hair

By Tiffani Douglas

There’s no better situation than relaxing at the pool on a hot, sunny day, but when you have naturally curly hair, that one day at the pool can equal two or three days of work to get your hair back together! A day at the pool gives new meaning to poppin’ bottles…bottles of conditioner that is… when you’re trying to rehydrate your curls!

So why bother? Because swimming is fun and it doesn’t have to be difficult to get your hair back on track afterward if you know how to care for and protect your hair from pool chemicals. You don’t have to be a pool prude, don’t miss out on summer fun just because you don’t want to get your hair wet and deal with the curly hair care aftermath.

First, let’s talk about chlorine

 
There’s no denying that pool chemicals can do the fool on your hair and skin – and chlorine is the main culprit. Chlorine is a sanitizing agent that is added to swimming pools to decrease or eliminate the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. It affects the hair particularly by causing chemical reactions that result in changes to your hair, by altering assets, like color, oil content (your shine) and protein composition. Your hair’s natural oils are meant to protect the hair shaft and chlorine strips those natural oils, making it more susceptible to damage, thus causing dryness, disruption to the hair cuticle, and loss of shine and elasticity.

The good news is you don’t have to go to the pool and just put your feet in anymore. Luckily there are some steps that you can take before, during and after swimming to lessen the blow of the negative effects chlorine can have on your hair. Read on to see what you can do to get off the side of the pool.

Before you swim

 

  • Rinse your hair. Rinsing your hair with warm water before hopping in the pool is a great way to decrease the effects of chlorine damage. Wetting your hair before you swim allows the hair to become saturated with non-chlorinated water beforehand, and when you jump in, your hair is already soaked with water and will only absorb a small amount of the chlorinated pool water.

 

  • Coat your hair. Coconut oil is great for sealing in moisture, so before you take a dip, coat your hair with coconut oil. It seals the hair cuticles, thus allowing your hair to retain more moisture and remain protected while you swim. For even more protection, try CURLS’ Coconut CURLada Conditioner for enhanced curly hair care!

 

  • Put it up and wrap it up. To prevent your hair from becoming a tangled, matted mess, braid it or put it up in a pony or bun. Also, if you really don’t want to deal with a pool hair recovery project, (and you don’t care about looking cute at the pool) wear a swim cap. And for an extra layer of protection, just in case that water seeps under the cap, cover your hair with plastic wrap then wear a swim cap on top of it.

 

While you’re swimming

 

  • Rinse your hair…AGAin. Before you take a sunbathing break, find a shower or some source of tap water and rinse your hair AGAIN after you’ve swum. Removing excess chlorine from your hair throughout the day while you are swimming helps keep chlorine absorption at bay when trying to rehydrate your curls.

 

  • Apply a leave-in conditioner. After you rinse your hair for the second time, and you’re lounging and looking fly, apply a good all natural leave-conditioner. This will help you begin to restore moisture to your hair, and the heat from the sun will help the conditioner deeply penetrate your hair strands. With organic blueberry extract, coconut oil, grapeseed oil and mango butter Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave-In Conditioner is the perfect pool companion for moisture restoration while you swim.

 

After you swim

 

  • Cleanse your hair. After you’ve had a relaxing day at the pool it’s time to get to it! Cleanse your hair immediately after swimming with a moisturizing, clarifying cleanser to remove chlorine and other chemicals from your hair. Pure Curls – Clarifying Shampoo is wonderful for gently washing away harmful chemicals and reestablishing moisture.

 

  • Go deep. When your hair has been exposed to harsh chemicals like chlorine, it is imperative that you use a deep conditioner to repair and restore moisture, oils, and vitamins to your hair as soon as possible to prevent dryness and damage. Heat activated Curl Ecstasy Hair Tea Deep Conditioner or Cashmere+Caviar Hair Masque- Deep Conditioner are both great deep conditioners to help you recondition dry, pool hair!

 

  • Be a basic chic…just this one time. It’s great to be aggressive when it comes to healing your hair after a swim, but don’t forget to return to your curly hair care basics. Get right back to your daily regimen after you’ve done your more intensive moisturizing treatments. Continue to apply regular conditioning products that ultimately finish the work of getting your hair back to its healthiest state. Daily moisturizers like Lavish CURLS Moisturizer or Quenched Curls – Curl Moisturizer/2nd Day Curl Refresher refreshes, rehydrates and gives life to dry curls.

Now that you are equipped with these life-saving curly hair care tips, let’s go for a swim! Check out the full line of CURLS’ conditioning products.