The salt from the seawater can incredibly dry your hair and scalp. If you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the ocean, it’s a good idea to invest in some hair products to protect your hair from salt water. If left untreated, it can cause major damage over time. Even if you’re not a regular beachgoer, swimming in a saltwater pool or even sweating on a hot day can leave your hair feeling parched. That’s why it’s important to use a good hair product for watersports to protect your hair from the harsh effects of salt and chlorine.
While freshwater swimming does not have the same drying effect as saltwater, chlorinated pools can be damaging in their own right. So how do you protect your hair from the ravages of salt and chlorine after a dip? Read on for tips on how to deal with saltwater and chlorine damage and restore moisture to your mane.
Rinse, Rinse, Rinse
As soon as you exit the ocean or pool, make a beeline for the shower. Rinse your hair with fresh water to remove any salt, chlorine, and minerals left behind. Work quickly while hair is still wet, as any leftover salt or chemicals can continue dehydrating strands if left to dry. Give your scalp and the lengths of your hair a thorough rinsing to wash away residues.
The quicker you rinse, the less drying and damage will occur. But be gentle – skip the vigorous shampooing for now. When it comes to beach hair care, it’s important to focus only on rinsing until water runs clear. Repeat as needed if your hair still feels tacky. Depending on hair length and thickness, plan on spending at least 2-3 minutes under the showerhead.
Don’t Rub, Blot
Rubbing wet hair with a towel can worsen tangles and breakage. After rinsing, gently squeeze out excess water and wrap the hair in a microfiber towel or old t-shirt. The soft fabrics are ideal for minimizing friction. Let your hair air dry or give it a few minutes wrapped up before combing through. Always comb from the ends up with a wide-tooth comb or pick to minimize knots and pulling.
Hydrate With Masks and Oils
Once hair is cleansed of salt and chlorine, it’s time to regain moisture. Hair masks and oils specially formulated for hydration can help restore lipids lost during swimming. Look for ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, argan oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut milk. Apply liberally to damp hair after shampooing, letting sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing out. Or, for deeper conditioning, cover hair overnight by applying before bed.
For quicker conditioning between washes, apply a hydrating serum or oil to the lengths of your hair and let it air dry. Focus application on the drier mid-lengths and ends. Try lighter oils like grapeseed or jojoba oil to avoid greasiness. For extra smoothing, follow up with a drop of anti-frizz serum.
Supp in the Sun
Using leave-in conditioners and protective products before swimming can help shield against damage. Look for formulas containing silicones or oils, which essentially waterproof hair and limit absorption of salty, chlorinated water. Apply them to dry hair before swimming – focus on the lengths and avoid the scalp to prevent a greasy look. Though not a cure-all, they provide an added layer of protection. Rinse out and follow up with a moisturizing conditioner after swimming.
Less Is More
When hair has been exposed to saltwater or chlorine, hold off on heat styling tools for a few days. Letting hair air dry naturally allows the cuticle to smooth down and avoid lifting and damage that can lead to frizz. Resist the urge to towel dry either aggressively. Handle hair gently while the bonds rebuild themselves.
Trim It Off
A trim can work wonders if your hair is showing signs of significant dryness or damage from repeated saltwater exposure. Removing an inch or two of the oldest, most weathered ends will help restore a healthy appearance. Avoid delaying the cut too long, as split ends will only continue marching up the length of your hair. Schedule regular trims every 8-12 weeks to keep damage at bay.
Adjust Your Routine
Swimming, beach days, or big sweat sessions may necessitate bumping up your haircare regimen. Deep condition more frequently – try a weekly mask to bring back moisture. Use a gentle clarifying shampoo once a week to remove chlorine and salt buildup. And don’t skimp on the leave-in conditioner to protect hair on the go. Consider a salon deep conditioning treatment for a seasonal booster.
While an occasional beach day won’t cause much damage, repeated long-term exposure to saltwater and chlorine can take its toll. Be realistic about how often your hair can withstand these drying environments. Consider wearing a cap or wet hair oils to limit absorption on swim days. And counteract the drying effects with extra TLC when you get home. Your hair will thank you.
Q: Can I use conditioner before swimming to protect my hair?
A: Yes, applying a leave-in conditioner or pre-swim treatment before hitting the water can help protect strands from absorbing as much salt, chlorine, and minerals. Just focus application on the lengths and ends of hair, avoiding the scalp which can lead to greasiness. Rinse out and follow up with a hydrating mask after swimming.
Q: Is salt water or chlorine worse for your hair?
A: Salt water and chlorine can both be very drying to the hair and scalp. However, chlorine tends to be more damaging over time, as the chemicals can continue to build up on the hair leading to dryness and breakage. With salt water, thoroughly rinsing after swimming can wash away most of the salts.
Q: Can you bleach hair after swimming in salt water?
A: It’s best to wait 2-3 days after swimming in salt water before bleaching or chemically treating the hair. Salt water acts as an oxidizing agent, so bleaching too soon after can lead to unexpected results. Always deep condition before and after lightening treated hair.
Q: How long does it take for hair to dry after saltwater?
A: Hair can take 2-3 times longer to fully air dry after swimming in salt water compared to washing with regular shampoo. The salt residues absorb moisture and prevent normal drying. Thoroughly rinsing and using a wet brush can help speed up drying time. Limit heat styling until completely dry.
Q: What oils are best for hair after saltwater?
A: Some great oils to nourish hair after saltwater exposure include argan, coconut, olive, avocado, almond, grapeseed, and jojoba oils. Apply sparingly to damp hair and allow to air dry. For a deeper treatment, cover hair with a shower cap overnight after applying oil.Tags: putting salt water in hair, salt water in hair for curly, salt water in hair overnight, spray salt water in hair, spraying salt water in hair