I am not a ‘swimmer’ swimmer. I like to get in the pool. I will swim a length, hold on to the wall, gasp for breath for a few minutes, then repeat until it seems like I’ve done it enough times to call it a legit workout. My daughter is a competitive swimmer, which is to say she is the complete opposite of me. She happily dives in and swims with concentration for 10 hours per week at Circle C or Nitro pool. Living in Austin, TX we spend a lot of time in the water during the summer (and spring and fall) because it is the only way to survive the heat and humidity. As an Austinite I’m sure you will fall somewhere on the spectrum between floating in the river to earnestly swimming laps to improve your times.
How do I care for my hair, which has been expertly colored to a divine chocolaty brown with golden highlights, as well as my daughter’s blond virgin hair? Fortunately Hayley Groll from Shag Austin is there with the answers I need.
Hair Care Tips For Swimmers
The first thing to know is that salt water = good. Chlorine = bad. Either way, though, there are steps you will want to take to protect your hair. Before getting in the water wet your hair with cool water. Your hair is porous so wetting your hair with cool water prevents damage causing water from getting into the shaft.
It is also a good idea to coat your hair with a nourishing hair oil both before and after swimming for the same reason, try Kérastase Elixir Ultime, Kevin Murphy Young Again Oil, or Kevin Murphy Shimmer Shine Repairing Shine Mist. Swimming for exercise will generally mean wearing a cap. If you apply coconut oil to your hair under the cap it can be super nourishing.
After swimming if you are not able to wash, at the very least rinse. Ideally with warm water (that was a surprise to me, I have been so ingrained to use cold water as much as possible. I love not suffering in a cold shower!) but even a bottle of water out of the cooler is better than nothing.
After rinsing comb some leave in conditioner through your hair until you can get a shower and wash. As soon as you are able to wash use a ph balancing shampoo and conditioner that will help get the ph back to neutral and will keep your hair looking shiny and healthy. Kevin Murphy’s Staying Alive line is great, but any ph balancing shampoo and conditioner will help. It is also a good idea to see your stylist for a professional conditioning treatment like the L’oreal Expert Serie Repairing Treatment. The blonds among us will benefit from Kevin Murphy’s Blonde Angel Color Enhancing Treatment for Blond Hair, this will keep away the green tones that can creep up on blond hair due to chlorine.
What else can you do to care for your hair this summer while spending time in the water? Give your tools a break and ease up on heat styling. There are many sprays (Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray, Fekkai Soliel Beach Waves, Kevin Murphy Hair Resort) that will give you beachy waves without having to use heat. Effortless summer boho hair is the perfect match to those breezy sundresses you will be wearing.
Swimming Hair Care Recap
To recap: BEST- 1. rinse with cold water before swimming in a salt water pool, apply hair oil (coconut oil if using a cap) 2. when finished swimming rinse with warm water and wash with a ph balancing shampoo and conditioner 3. see your stylist every few weeks to get a professional salon only conditioning treatment 4. back off heat styling for the summer. BETTER- add any of the previous steps to your swimming routine, even rinsing with a bottle of water you brought with you for tubing before and after your swim will be beneficial. Ok oppressive heat and humidity of a Texas summer, we’re ready for you!