Protecting hair when swimming

Amany Abdel-Moneim , Wednesday 14 Jun 2023

Though swimming can be lots of fun, pools can cause issues for your child’s hair. Submerging the hair in water for long periods of time can strip moisture out of the hair and cause plenty of tangles.

Protecting hair
Protecting hair

 

Summer is here, and that means lots of time spent at the pool. Though swimming can be lots of fun, pools can cause issues for your child’s hair. Submerging the hair in water for long periods of time can strip moisture out of the hair and cause plenty of tangles.

Whether it’s a private or public pool, a clean pool is a safe one. Therefore, chlorine is a necessary part of summer swim fun. Yet, chlorine has its downside, as it saturates the hair and steals the hair’s natural oils and moisture, leaving it dry, brittle, and apt to break easily. 

Plus, without those natural oils to protect the hair, the strong UV rays of summer can do even more damage. To make matters worse, children will often spend hours in the pool, and this means that their hair is literally being soaked in chlorine all day long.

Staying out in the sun for too long can also cause dryness and damage to your children’s hair. Fortunately, with a consistent hair-care routine for their swim sessions, you can protect against swim damage and help your child’s hair thrive at the pool and beyond. 

Here are some tips to protect your child’s hair from damage and keep it healthy all summer, both before swimming and afterwards.


Wet the hair:

Wetting your child’s hair before he jumps into the pool can allow less space for chlorine and other chemicals to permeate the hair follicles. 

 

Add oil to hair:

Applying an ample amount of olive or coconut oil to your child’s hair can help seal in moisture and stop harmful chemicals from penetrating your child’s hair shafts.

 

Use a pre-swim conditioner:

Treat your child’s hair with conditioner before getting into the pool. This can add a layer of protection from chemicals and help retain the hair’s moisture. 

 

Ensure a protective style:

Leaving your child’s hair out is asking for trouble. To prevent her hair from getting tangled, you can put it up in a bun, two tight braids or a ponytail before entering the pool. This can keep your child’s hair secure while swimming.

 

Wear a swim cap:

Swim caps are one of the most effective ways to prevent chlorine damage to your child’s hair. Choose a cap that can completely cover your child’s curls.

 

Consider apple cider vinegar:

Make apple cider vinegar part of your child’s regular hair routine every night as they’re bathing. Mix one part of apple cider vinegar with four parts of water and then apply it to the hair. Let it soak for a few minutes, then rinse and condition the hair as usual. This can help provide a natural barrier to protect the hair from chlorine when your child is in the pool.

 

Rinse out chlorine thoroughly:

After swimming, rinse out the chlorine with lukewarm water from root to tip for about five minutes. If the hair is loose, section it into two-four sections for an easy rinse out.

 

Cleanse and condition:

After completely rinsing out the chlorine, clean your child’s hair with a cleansing conditioner. If your child is done swimming for the rest of the day, use a cleansing shampoo instead and then moisturise.

 

Deep condition:

Using a deep conditioner after swimming is a vital step to keeping your child’s hair healthy all summer long. Separate the hair into four sections and apply a generous amount of deep conditioner. Cover with a thermal cap and let sit for 30 minutes and then rinse.


* A version of this article appears in print in the 15 June, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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