Style Beauty

Monday 20 January 2020

Beauty dilemma: Swimming pool hair

portrait of a young woman massaging her head with her eyes closed
portrait of a young woman massaging her head with her eyes closed

Sinead van Kampen

Having not been anywhere near the swimming baths for years I've recently started swimming again with my two young children. As I've got too much blonde hair to squeeze comfortably into a rubber cap, is there anything I can do to minimise my exposure to the chemicals which are making my hair really dry and lifeless?

Sinead replies:

When it comes to bottle blondes and public pools it seems that the two don't mix well. As much fun as the water is for your toddlers, heated pools are a disaster for mum's hair care routine.

Factors like heat and levels of humidity in swimming pools can strip hair of its natural oils and depending on your own particular tolerance to the chemicals in the water, the chlorine can play havoc with your colouring.

Simply, if you really can't manage a rubber cap it may be that prevention is better than cure and there are some simple steps you can take to manage the damage.

The first and probably the simplest way is to wet your hair thoroughly before you get anywhere near the pool.

A good soak with non chlorinated water from the showers will give your hair plenty of moisture and reduce the amount of chlorinated water absorbed once you hit the pool proper.

Another treatment to consider would be a hair product like Aqua Seal by Kerastase. Simply apply before you take your dip, wrap hair tightly and the formula helps produce a film which repels the absorption of chlorine that penetrates the hair.

Once you've had your dip, a thorough rinse with water before a wash through with a hydrating shampoo like John Frieda's Smooth Start may also improve matters.

When it comes to hair being a bit lifeless, it may be that the change of routine is stripping out the essential oils in your hair which may be causing some damage.

There are several ways to minimise this loss of lustre and it may be down to trial and error.

If you're looking to put the bounce back a treatment of VO5's Hot Oil should work wonders and some deep conditioning with a moisture rich treatment like Fekkai's Shea Butter Hair Mask will help revitalise tired tresses.

Even hair that's been nowhere near the pool can get run down, so it may also be a good idea to go easy with the hair irons until your hair starts to recover.

As a final thought, nothing blasts the life out of hair more efficiently than the heat from a changing room hairdryer, so if it's possible, keep well clear of these until your hair has had time to adjust.

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