This should be a given, but just like your hair is no excuse for not exercising, it’s also no excuse for not swimming. If you have a relaxer or color in your hair, you’re probably more worried than naturals about what pool water can do to your tresses, but even those whose hair isn’t chemically altered need to come up with a routine to keep their hair healthy when it comes in contact with chlorine and too much sun.

If you’ve been clueless as to how to keep your strands from getting dried out or damaged during this season, here are some recommendations for preventing swimmer damage this summer:

Tip 1: Rinse Hair Before Swimming
When your hair is already wet, it can’t absorb the chemicals in chlorine water which means your hair will be affected far less than if you went in with a dry head of hair.

Tip 2: Apply a Protectant
You’ll want an additional barrier besides clean tap water to protect your hair while you swim. Choose either a conditioner specifically designed for swimming or either a silicone serum that won’t allow the elements to make as much contact with your tresses.

Tip 3: Braid Your Hair or Pull It Back
The more your hair is contained, the less likely it is to absorb chemicals so instead of just wearing your hair down and going all in, tie it back in a bun or braid it down with a cute cornrow style. This will also prevent your hair from getting too tangled while you swim.

Tip 4: Wear a Swim Cap
We know; it looks lame, but it’s worth it. You probably don’t want to put on a swim cap for a neighborhood barbecue or social function like that, but if you’re swimming on a daily for recreation in an outdoor or indoor pool, this is a good bet because the chlorine will have even less contact with your hair than if you braided it or pulled it back.

Tip 5: Rinse Hair Immediately After Swimming
Most women know to do this, but you definitely want to make sure you don’t skip this step. Rinsing your hair with clean water after a swim is absolutely necessary so that any chemical residue you picked up in the pool will be removed.

Tip 6: Shampoo with the Right Cleanser
Just any shampoo won’t do. You want to make sure the cleanser you use has a chlorine-removing agent that will strip hair of any copper deposits which can discolor your hair. If your regular shampoo has EDTA or Phytic Acid, you’ll be good. If not purchase a shampoo specifically for swimming.

Tip 7: Deep Condition
You can continue with your normal conditioning routine from here, but make sure you deep condition by leaving the product on for at least 15 minutes.

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