It is always a good idea to take steps to protect your hair when going swimming in a pool. The chlorine used in swimming pools is a great disinfecting agent, also making it quite damaging to your hair by sucking sebum out of the hair shaft. Even from your first swim, hair can turn dry, brittle and duller in colour (or sometimes even become greenish). The good news is that you can take simple measures to protect your hair and avoid further damage. Here are 10 things you can do to keep your hair looking it’s best:

1.Embrace the Swim Cap

This is truly the easiest way to protect your hair and keep it safe from getting caught anywhere. Swim caps today are offered in a huge variety of colours, shapes and designs, making it a great swim accessory. Speedo is a leader in swim accessories, and carry comfortable swim caps in tons of styles and sizes. You can even customize your own from websites such as Swim Capz Inc, Swim Outlet. Canadian stores that carry Speedo and other swim caps include Sport Chek, Canadian Tire, Sporting Life, Swimco, AquaSport, Amazon and more! Be sure to also check out the Aqua Kids Pro Shop to learn what type of swim cap is right for you and see the styles we carry.

2. Rinse Hair Before Swimming & Use Swim Spray

Your hair is like a sponge. It is likely to absorb less water from the pool if it’s already soaked. The water you rinse with almost acts like a barrier against chlorine water. Don’t skip this step – it makes a difference! But don’t just rinse with tap water, include a Swim Spray and vitamin C in the pre-soaked to neutralize the chlorine.

Pre-soaking hair with Swim Spray has another great benefit: the hair absorbs a small supply of natural chlorine neutralizer, depositing a small amount of anti-chlorine defense into the hair.  This is especially helpful when combined with wearing a swim cap, which minimizes the amount of chlorinated water that contacts the hair.

3. Always Wash Hair After Swimming

Chlorine bonds to hair and skin quite easily, which can get uncomfortable if you go swimming frequently. Use a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo and make sure to follow up with your favourite deep conditioner to infuse hair with moisture. Here are a few of our shampoo picks: L’Oréal Extra Gentle 2-in-1 Swim & Sport Shampoo, TRISWIM Organic Chlorine Removal Shampoo, Aubrey Organics, Suave Kids Swim and Sport, California Baby Swimmer’s Defense Shampoo & Bodywash, Ultra Swim Shampoo and Conditioner, Macademia Professional Endless Summer Sun & Surf Shampoo, UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Shampoo, OUIDAD Water Works Clarifying Shampoo, Moroccan Oil Clarify Shampoo. Shampoo twice for ultimate results.

4. Pre-Treat with Conditioner

Pre-treat your hair with conditioner like TRISWIM before getting in the pool. The conditioner acts as a barrier to the pool water to protect the hair. Use a small amount of conditioner on hair at home before going to the pool. Chlorine from the hair washes out more easily and has makes a huge difference in preventing dry hair and preserving hair colour.

5. Coconut Oil

Similar as pretreating with conditioner, you can apply a small amount of coconut oil to the hair to protect it before swimming. Nature’s Way is one brand readily available in your local organic grocery store.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Use apple cider vinegar, such as BRAGG Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, as a natural way to remove pool chemicals from hair. Mix one part apple cider vinegar and four parts water, then apply to hair. Rinse and follow with shampoo and conditioner. The nice thing about this natural substance is that it not only helps get rid of chlorine, but other damaging things found in pools like copper, salt, and various impurities and contaminants.

7. Tomato Paste

Apply to the hair, using as much as needed depending on the length and thickness of your hair. Comb through hair, let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse out then wash with shampoo and condition as normal.

8. Moroccan oil, argan, coconut or olive oil

After showering, while your hair is still wet, apply some Moroccan oil, argan, coconut or olive oil to the palms of your hands and run through your hair to further coat and protect your hair. We love Marc Anthony Oil of Marocco Argan Oil Treatment (available at your local Shoppers Drug Mart).

9. Swim in an Outdoor Pool

These allow gases from the chemicals in the water to escape into the air—leaving less to contaminate your hair and skin. These types of pools are also better for your eyes, sinuses and lungs. If you need to swim indoors, look for well-ventilated pools. Aqua Kids offers outdoor summer swim classes, click here to view our locations and schedules.

10. Avoid dryers if Possible

Use a leave-in conditioner and wide-toothed comb to remove tangles after washing, and then pat dry or braid your hair. Avoid using blow dryers as often as possible as they create further damage and dryness, especially on weakened hair after swimming. The Sleep Styler (as seen on the Shark Tank) is another great product to help dry your hair naturally into beautiful waves at home or while you sleep.