Hair Care when Swimming: A Tip on Water

Today at the swimming pool a lady caught my eye because we had exactly the same hair products and body wash! She did however do what I call a classic error. She stepped into the shower and after 2-3 seconds proceeded to shampoo her hair.

This is a classic error because water on its own is a really useful first cleaning step. Rinsing hair with water for 2- 5 minutes before adding shampoo allows any water soluble chemicals that you may have picked up from the pool to be rinsed away.

For example people (especially kids) do wee (pee if you are American) in the pool meaning urea from the urine and chlorine can react to form acids. Yes swimming pools do have filters and a well maintained one will also have regular pH checks, however, end story is, as long as it is a public pool more than likely someone has pee'd in it.

Anyway, back to my tip, these acids tend to be very water soluble (otherwise you would see solids in the pool water......blech...ok that is disgusting!). Spending those 5 minutes just rinsing the hair allows any water soluble muck to get access to fresh water and be rinsed away. This tip does apply too when washing your hair in normal circumstances. You may also notice that you will be able to use less shampoo with thoroughly wet hair.

Hope this helps!

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  1. great timing for this article as I just started swimming lessons yesterday! thanks!

  2. Thanx for the post. Now I know what to do to my hair when i get out of the pool. :)

  3. There is an article in the Long Hair Community that says to rinse hair with club soda after swimming and then water (if you want the link for this let me know JC) I do rinse before going in with water & then put some co on and then a none too fetching swim cap! I do rinse out after but will increase the rinsing time - thanks for that tip! CHM

  4. Ooo, best of luck Beverly! Check out Terry Laughlin too. It was a fun way for me to learn.

    Thanks Mystic!

  5. Sure give me the link, what is club soda supposed to do?


    Something to do with neutralizing the chlorine. I haven't tried it and prob wont as when you go swimming you have enough to take!

  7. Thanks for the useful info! As the weather heats up I will be swimming a lot this summer. Since I don't like wearing a swim cap when I swim, I wash my hair right after I exit the pool, then condition. Someone mentioned wetting and applying conditioner to the hair before going into the pool? I don't really get that one...seems that the excess conditioner will just end up in the pool...that + pee = gross...LOL!!!

  8. Thanks JC, I actually did do this today when I got out the pool. I also followed your tip and added coconut oil to my hair last night and again this morning; when I arrived at the pool I soaked my hair in the shower so it would be saturated leaving less room for the chlorine absorption. I didn't notice any dryness at any time today. I opted not to use shampoo but stuck with castile soap (diluted). My hair seems just fine.

  9. thanks anon, will check it out.

    lol Mikimu, the conditioner is supposed to be a barrier but it is very water soluble so I also do not think it works well. Oil in my opinion is a much better barrier.

    Wow thanks mysskay! I follow the same routine all the time with shampoo though. I hope it continues to work for you!

  10. It's me (grace2509dkr on Twitter). So here are the ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, PEG-40 Caster Oil, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone Copolyol, Simethicone, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Steardimonium Hydroxypropyl, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Stearyl Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Silk Amino Acids, Acetamidopropyl Trimonium Chloride, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum).

  11. From Malva -
    I've used Aubrey Organics Swimmers' Normalizing Shampoo and conditioner after swimming. (Once weekly, with lots of pre-swim-rinsing, no cap, no pre-conditioner, coconut oil before hand IF I have time = rarely)

    The swimmers' shampoo - which is finally almost gone - always gives my hair a strange "shock": my (already wet!) hair shrinks drastically and feels wildly unmoisturized-dry (it's soaking wet)and scratchy-rough. Also, the shampoo is hard to "lather" through the hair. After lots of conditioner my hair feels normal again. Whew!

    but WHY the shock? Other shampoos don't have this effect after my swim.

    (The Swimmers' Shampoo ingredients: Deionized Water, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (made from organic, non-GMO soybeans), Coconut Oil-Corn Oil Soap, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Corn Syrup, Organic Aloe Vera, Citric Acid, Carrageenan, Organic Shea Butter, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Bitter Almond Oil, Aubrey’s Preservative (Citrus Seed Extract, Vitamins A, C and E)

    Could it be a high citric acid content? Anyone know the ph value of this shampoo? I usually looooove Aubrey Products, especially conditioners, but this shampoo doesn't work for me at all!

    Thanks much for any insight!

  12. I plan to start swimming again, but it's always been a hair horror for me. Fortunately I remembered reading on swimming on the Natural Haven, so I used the search function to find the relevant topics ;)
    Now this is a side note, but I was wondering if the same principle of water soluble chemicals applies to my face, too. Usually after swimming I would wash my face with cleansing lotion and then moisturise. But later at night, I repeat the same procedure again. Which leaves me washing + moisturising my (already easily irritated) face 3 times per day. Now if the gunk from the swimming basin is water soluble anyway, can I skip the cleansing and just rinse my face with clear water? What do you other swimming ladies do? Thank you for any suggestions! :) XXX


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