Do you love swimming year round in your local pool or aquatic centre? Do you swim fairly regularly every week? If you answered yes to both of these then you have probably faced the “how to get rid of green hair” battle or the “yuck my hair is so dry from the chlorine battle.”
The team at Mingara Aquatics know all too well about plenty of time in the pool and have shared their top tips on keeping your hair green free and healthy.

Why does swimming in chlorine make my hair green?

Did you know that it isn’t chlorine that makes your hair go green? It is a different type of reaction. Hair turns green, especially blonde hair when there is the presence of hard metals in the water.  Hard metals? Yes – like copper, manganese and iron (don’t reach for your periodic table – they are all on there!). These three types of metals can be present in pool water. Yes, the chemical reaction is helped along by the chlorine but poor old chlorine isn’t solely to blame. The heavy metals become oxidized by the chlorine – this in turns sticks to your hair. Ok – enough science – let’s learn how to get rid of green hair or at least try to prevent it as best you can! It might look great on mermaids but not so great on everyone else!
green hair mermaid and crab

Why is chlorine used in pools?

Chlorine is an extremely effective disinfectant designed to kill any nasties so that you don’t get sick while enjoying your swim or training for your next big swim event. Chlorine chemically bonds to your hair and skin – this is why you have that beautiful chlorine perfume you can still smell, even after showering. Chlorine may even fade your swimmers if they are not rinsed properly afterwards and for some, it can cause dry, itchy skin.
water quality testing kit

How to avoid chlorine damaged hair?

There are several steps you can take to avoid swimmers hair – don’t panic if your hair already is a green tinge – we have a tip for how to get rid of green hair too.

Before swimming

  • Coat your locks

    Chlorine loves to strip hair of its natural shine and healthy oils that protect your hair from damage. Use a hair product prior to swimming that coats your locks – you could try an oil or silicone based hair product before jumping in the pool. This will help to form a protective barrier.

  • Shower first

    Yes – you should shower first anyway! It is a way of washing off any dirt and germs before you hop in the pool. But, this technique has you soaking your hair with fresh water before you even get in. This helps slow the absorption of chlorine because your hair is like a sponge and will take on less water when wet. Understandably this may not be everyone’s number one approach to preventing green hair from swimming! A lot of the time you are trying to keep hair dry – who has time for all that hair drying after swimming anyway – it’s exhausting enough wrangling your clothes back on your body. So you might be best to …

During swimming

  • Use a swim cap

    It won’t completely block the chlorine from reaching your hair but will definitely help. Expert tip – adding a little talcum powder to the inside of your dry swimming cap makes it a million times easier to put on.  If you don’t like swim caps you can pin your hair back which will limit the exposure to chlorine.

After swimming

  • Use a hair cleanser

    You can buy a specialty shampoo designed to get rid of chlorine and mineral deposits like copper, which can turn your hair green. If you want a natural and cost effective remedy you can use apple cider vinegar, it acts as a natural clarifier. Just add one part vinegar to four parts water and pour it over freshly washed hair. Then, do a final rinse. There are also other home remedies including using lemon juice and even a can of Coca-Cola to rinse the green out of.

Moral of the green hair story?

Please don’t use it as an excuse to stop your swimming or your children swimming! Swimming is one of the most amazing activities you can do. Learning to swim is a skill that all children should have. Learning how to swim and survive in and around water is vitally important. Follow the tips for protecting and treating your hair for swimmers green hair.
Be sure to ask the Mingara Aquatics team for more of their healthy hair and skin tips too!