With the warm summer sun beating down on us and temperatures hitting the 80’s and 90’s, our thoughts naturally turn to relaxing by the pool. But what if you develop chlorine hair or worse yet you’ve visited the pool and you already have it! It can happen to the best of us. Fortunately there are ways to correct the problem and prevent it from developing in the future.

Just what is “chlorine hair”?

Chlorine hair is that unsightly shade of green that develops when your hair is exposed to too much chlorine as from a swimming pool. It can be quite distressing if you end up afflicted with it. (unless, of course, you happen to like green hair. It does make a statement.)

What causes it to occur?

Many people mistakenly think that chlorine hair results from direct exposure to chlorine – this is not the case. It’s actually the heavy metals found in pool water causing the color change. The most likely heavy metal involved in this process is copper. What happens is this. The chlorine causes the hair shaft to become damaged which opens it up for exposure to heavy metals such as copper. The heavy metals can now adhere to the hair shaft and cause a color change.

What do I do if I have chlorine hair?

Here are some solutions that have been shown to work in a large number of cases:

1. Shampoo with a specialty shampoo designed for swimmers. One possibility is a product called Ultra Swim which gently removes chlorine from the hair while moisturizing it. Follow up with a deep conditioning treatment. Another more potent option is a formulation called EC Mode Demineralizing Solution which is designed to remove mineral deposits.

2. Try mixing a little baking soda with your regular shampoo to create a paste. Apply the paste to your discolored hair. Leave on for 7 minutes. Rinse. Condition.

3. Shampoo with a moisturizing shampoo. Rinse with about 10 ounces of apple cider or white vinegar. Follow up with conditioning treatment.

4. Add a small amount of ketchup to your regular shampoo. With the shampoo still on your hair, apply a warm towel for 10 minutes. Rinse and condition.

5. If all else fails, contact your hairdresser.

How can I prevent chlorine hair?

Probably one of the best ways to prevent “green hair” after swimming is to deep condition your hair before swimming in a chlorinated pool. Another option is to apply cocoa butter to your hair and comb it through thoroughly before entering the pool. This provides a protective barrier against the chlorine and heavy metals. Consider using a shampoo specifically formulated for swimmers such as Ultra Swim on a regular basis and give the idea of wearing a bathing cap some thought. (I know they’re not the prettiest things in the world, but they do serve a purpose).

If you already have chlorine hair, give these treatments a try and then start taking some preventative measures to prevent pool related hair problems in the future. Isn’t it a relief to know you can swim and enjoy the pool without worrying so much about your hair?