After seeing this photo from DesignLoveFest’s Instagram, I figured it was time for a quick primer on how not to go green. I’m not talking about ditching your eco-friendly efforts, I mean keeping your hair from literally turning green in the pool.
Despite a long-standing myth, blondes are not the only ones at risk of turning green; hair of all colors may develop a green tint after swimming. The result is more pronounced on blondes and light hair because of the light shade, and because blondes are typically prone to more damaged tresses.
A quick science lesson before I delve into how to keep your color true. It’s not the chlorine that turns your hair green, but the copper in the chlorine that does the dirty deed. Little molecules of copper get lodged into your hair’s cuticles, then they oxidize and turn green. Blondes are more prone to this because their hair is colored and/or bleached, which roughs up and damages the cuticle, and allows those molecules to get in easier. And that concludes today’s science lesson, courtesy of the scientists at UC Santa Barbara.
So, keep in the buttery blonde while locking out “chlorine green” in a few easy steps.
1. Rinse your tresses in cool water before taking a dip. Cool water helps seal the cuticle, which will help prevent copper from getting into your strands. Rinse again in cool water after you’re out of the pool, to prevent the molecules from doing any damage.
2. Coat your hair in conditioner. Conditioner creates a barrier that blocks copper from getting into the hair. You don’t need to glop it on, just coat your mane with it, and use a wide-tooth comb to distribute the conditioner through your hair. Really work it in to get the full benefits.
3. After swimming, wash hair with a clarifying shampoo. Even if the chlorine just sits on the surface of your hair and doesn’t get into the cuticle, it can totally kill shine. This will help revive hair. Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo ($17) is a good pick.
4. Wear a swim cap. They’re making a comeback!
5. If you’re swimming frequently, use a swimmer’s shampoo to really remove all the chlorine. UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Shampoo is cheap ($4) and works.