Green hair from pool? Learn how to protect your hair from chlorine

Between sorting tickets, packing your suitcase, and tying things up at work before signing off, protecting your hair from chlorine may be the last thing on your mind when you venture off on vacation. 

But the truth is, hair and chlorine don’t mix too well. The effect of chlorine water on hair ranges from dehydration to discolouration. (Not quite the sun-kissed, beach-blonde look you were hoping for post vacay, right?)

color wow dream filter

If you want to protect your hair from pool water it’s important to take steps to prep your locks pre-swim, and apply products like Color Wow Dream Filter post-swim.

Ready to upgrade your vacation hair care routine? Read on to find out more about how to protect your hair from chlorinated pool water.

How does chlorine affect hair?

Chlorine is commonly found in swimming pools - it’s added to kill bacteria that builds up, but when it reacts with copper found in the water, it forms a green mineral compound that sticks to your hair and is stubborn to remove.

This oxidation of metals is what leads to green hair!

Chlorine can affect hair in a number of ways:

  1. It strips away your hair’s natural moisture, leaving it brittle and dry. 
  2. It causes split ends by weakening your hair strands.
  3. It causes hair colour to fade or change. 
  4. For blonde or lighter coloured hair this can mean picking up a green hue.
  5. It can irritate your scalp, leading to dryness and itchiness.

If you’ve dyed your hair, chlorine oxidises the artificial colour, breaking down the colour molecules in hair while also opening the cuticle which draws them out even faster - which is why artificial coloured locks are more at risk from chlorine damage.  

blonde wet tangled hair

Can you swim after dyeing hair?

Although chlorine can speed up colour fade in dyed hair, it doesn’t mean you have to avoid the pool forever. 

If you’ve recently dyed your tresses, we recommend waiting at least a week in between colouring your hair and going swimming. The longer you wait, the more time the cuticles have to close and lock the colour inside your strands. So hold off if you can, or protect your hair with a waterproof swim cap!

woman putting on swim cap ready to go into pool

How to protect your hair from chlorine

So, how can you arm your locks with all they need ahead of hitting the pool? Check out our 6 tips below on how to protect hair from pool water before and after going in.

3 pre-swim hair protection tips

  1. Hit the poolside showers and rinse your hair with fresh water before getting in. This will mean your hair absorbs the chlorinated water less quickly.
outdoor shower
Consider applying conditioner to your hair before going in, as the product will act as an additional barrier against chlorine.

color wow conditioner set

3. Wear a swim cap. Although these don’t keep your hair bone-dry during your swim, they’ll act as a protective barrier and help avoid the dreaded ‘green hair from pool’ look.

blue swim cap

3 after pool hair care hacks

Hair care after swimming is just as important as your pre-swim prep! Follow these steps to try and get chlorine out of hair as efficiently as possible. 

  1. Head to the showers immediately after your swim to remove as much of the chlorine as possible.

    Opt for Color Wow Color Security Shampoo - an advanced, sulfate-free formula that has been clinically proven to be as gentle as water.

    Unlike virtually all other shampoos, Color Wow has eliminated silicones, conditioners, thickeners and pearlising agents… ingredients that should never be found in a shampoo because they not only make your colour look dark and dull, but actually clog follicles and impede growth.

    color wow color security shampoo
  2. Add a surge of moisture with Color Wow Color Security Conditioner - free from any ingredients that might oxidise in the sun and make your colour brassy. Your colour stays pure and vibrant thanks to translucent moisturisers.

    color wow color security conditioner set
  3. Apply a leave-in conditioning treatment to help restore some of the moisture that may have been drawn out by the chlorine.

    color wow dream cocktails range

Hair turned green from pool already? Here are some tips to help

There are a few ways to fix chlorine damaged hair:

color wow dream filter

#1 Spritz Color Wow Dream Filter, a pre-shampoo mineral remover, onto dry locks ahead of shampooing.

Dream Filter detoxes your hair of minerals in just 3 minutes by acting like a magnet to attract minerals to the surface of your hair before encapsulating them for ease of rinsing away. Add this into your hair washing routine once a week.

color wow kale cocktail

#2 Continue using a gentle shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair free of residues.

Invest in products specifically designed for damaged hair - like our Dream Cocktail Kale-Infused Leave-In Treatment which helps strengthen dry and brittle locks.

#3 With split ends being one of the effects of chlorine on hair, having regular haircuts and trims is important for keeping the ends of your hair looking healthy.

Unfortunately, chlorine isn’t going anywhere. Whether you’re by the pool on vacation or heading to your local sports center to do some laps back home, there’s no getting rid of it! But as we’ve seen above, there are a number of ways to protect hair from chlorine and combat that dreaded green tinge. 

If you’re a regular swimmer, investing in hair care products with moisturising and strengthening properties will be key to tackling any damage and colour fade caused by chlorine.


Read more about keeping your hair in good condition throughout the summer months on the Color Wow Blog:

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