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How to Protect Your Hair While Swimming

By January 27th, 202111 Comments
How to Protect Your Hair While Swimming

by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

Swimming is fun and relaxing whether you’re doing it for exercise or just to cool off. You don’t have to limit your pool time for your hair, but you do have to take some extra precautions. Chlorinated water and constant friction from swimming will take a toll on African American hair. Spend a few minutes before and after swimming to help your hair survive the summer.

Key Tips

  • Rinse your hair with tap water before you get in the pool.
  • Don’t wear a swim cap if it pulls too tightly or rips out your hair at the hairline.
  • Always shampoo after you swim, chlorine does not rinse out.
Step 1: Always rinse your hair in the shower before getting in the pool. If your hair is “filled up” with clean tap water it won’t be able to absorb as much chlorinated pool water. There’s usually a shower right near the pool that you can use to rinse your hair before and after diving in.
Step 2: Apply a thorough coating of a silicone serum to your dripping wet hair. The serum will help protect your hair from the force of the water. Choose an inexpensive serum like John Frieda Frizz-Ease Original Serum, $7.50.
Step 3: (Optional) Put on a swim cap. Many swim caps are so tight that they pull your hair out when you take them on and off. Try a Speedo Silicone Swim Cap, $7.99. If a swim cap causes you to lose hair, don’t use it. Just let your strands hang free instead.
Step 4: After you swim, rinse your hair with tap water again. It’s best to wear a hat if you plan to stay in the sun after you exit the pool.
Step 5: Always shampoo your hair after you’re done swimming for the day. It’s important to use a shampoo that gets rid of chlorine and mineral build up. If your regular shampoo contains EDTA or Phytic Acid it will provide thorough enough cleansing. If your regular shampoo doesn’t contain EDTA or Phytic Acid, buy UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Shampoo, $15.21 for a pack of 4 ($4.99 each MSRP) for pool days.
Step 6: Continue with your usual shampoo and condition routine. You must take the time to condition your hair every time you shampoo it, even if you swim every day.
Step 7: When you style your hair it would be best to avoid direct or high heat. Try to limit your use of heat to a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment or a bonnet dryer on low.

Are you a swimmer? What’s your hair care regimen?


  • Anonymous says:

    I swim everyday and I follow the tips above but should I also deep condition everyday or just once a week like normal?

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the great tips. My 12 yr old daughter loves to swim and she has relaxed hair. It's in very good shape and I would like to keep it like that. We wash and condition it with Design Essential Products. I will now add a serum to her hair prior to swimming. Thanks again for the great tips!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey people, this is a youtube video for what looks like the method above (Anon 22/07/2011 at 1.14). I find it really useful


  • Natalie says:

    That information is very helpful, I had started cutting back on the swimming due to my hair shedding more than normal. Thanks

  • Aishah says:

    Right on time! I decided to take swimming lessons in mid-August. I was stressing bout what to do with my hair. This confirms everything else I've found on the internet 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    silicone and EDTA are not bad for natural hair? i use aubrey organic shampoo and conditionner for swimmers. somebody else use them too?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hm. My shampoo has disodium EDTA. Is that good enough? I swim once a week, and have a regimen I follow: I wet my hair and put in plenty of my cheepie conditioner. (tresseme natural(no silicones)) and put it into a bun. Then I put on a plastic cap, and then a little black cap (not a swim cap, more like a skull cap. Keeps out some water, but more so to keep my hair in place. I hate tangles, and it is gentle on my hair)Once I find a good swim cap, I will put that on top of all of it. I plan on getting one very soon.
    Once I get home, I shampoo. Then I do a protein treatment, DC and a final ACV rinse. I have not noticed any adverse affects.

  • TiAnna Mae says:

    Very good advice. I also put conditioner in my hair before I get in the pool. So now I'll start to put the John Frieda on top of the conditioner.

  • Anonymous says:

    I went swimming last weekend while wearing mini twix that I had in for about 2 weeks. I wet my hair before going in the pool and wash my twix with shampoo and condition. the day after when I try to take my twix out (with lots of oil and conditioner mind you) it was a nightmare. my hair felt like it was glue together close to my roots. and it took me like 3 hours a lot of patients and in my opinion too much shedder hair before I was done. Now i'm scare to get back in the pool even thought I don't have twist on

  • Unknown says:

    This is very helpful, as I am doing more swimming this summer than I have in a long time. Thank you for this easy outline.

  • Anonymous says:

    Any advice for swimming in the ocean?

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