Summer is hard on our hair. Wait...but I thought winter was hard on it too?! Yeah...we know. Living in Minnesota can be a drag. But let's focus on the positive! The sun is out, it's humid, and the snow melt in the St. Croix is a balmy 70 degrees. *shivers* That might be a little chilly for your liking still, so you probably opt for the pool if you're in the mood for a summer cool-off. But nothing is worse than the dingey green cast your hair takes on after a couple of hours in the chlorine. We're sharing a couple preventive measures and quick fixes so you can beat the big, bad, green chlorine machine!
Why does hair turn green, anyway?
Many people don't know this, but it's not actually the chlorine turning your hair green, it's copper! There are numerous different chemicals dissolved in pool water meant to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and algae, and one of those chemicals is copper. You know, what the Statue of Liberty is made of? The shiny bronze metal turns a minty green the longer it's exposed to oxygen and the elements in an effort to protect the remaining copper from breaking down. The copper found in pool water attaches to the rough, outer layer on each hair strand, called the cuticle. It gets nice and comfy there and if it isn't removed shortly after, it oxidizes when exposed to sun, heat, and water until it gives off that green glow. Once it's settled in, it can break down the disulfide bonds in your hair, causing dryness, brittleness, and breakage. You haven't been mislead your whole life though, there's chlorine built up in your hair too, that's what gives it the post-pool smell, the slippery, gummy feeling, and the straw-like texture once hair is dry.
SIDE NOTE: Copper can be found in your everyday tap water, well water, and lake water at varying levels, along with other metals like iron. You can get green hair from high amounts of copper in a lake, and orange hair from high amounts of iron (rust) in your shower. Metals in your water are not harmful unless they are dissolved in high amounts. Sometimes they're just a little annoying when it comes to dealing with your hair! If you're going swimming at all (unless you swim in bottled water) these tips will be helpful in preventing chemical and mineral buildup for everyone!
Interesting, huh? Now you know! But we're not saying stay out of the water for the rest of your life either! Here are some measures you can take to reduce the effects on your hair.
Wet your hair down before you get in the pool
This is a big one. It makes SUCH a difference! If you wet your hair down thoroughly right before you hop in the pool, your hair cuticle has already absorbed all the freshwater it can hold. Hair is really thirsty, so it drinks up whatever it can find and if it's already satisfied with some pure, clean aqua, the chemicals in the water are less likely to sink in and cause the green grimy buildup.
Use a deep conditioning masque while you swim
Instead of wetting your hair down with water before you take a dip, why not multitask and get a good deep condition in while you swim? We recommend EVO The Great Hydrator moisture mask combed thru damp hair and tossed into a messy bun or braid. Your hair will soak up all the moisture from the masque instead of the pool or lake and in case you do decide to take a full on dunk, you'll know you've got a great buffer in there so the chemicals doesn't stand a chance!
Keep you hair out of the water
Okay, this one's obvious, but important. While we don't want to ruin your summer fun, sometimes the easiest way to solve a problem is to avoid it completely. We know swim caps aren't the fashion statement of the summer, so a simple messy bun will do the trick to keep your hair elevated and out of the water. Floatie, anyone?
In case you're already past preventive measures...
Use a Clarifying Shampoo
We recommend a clarifying shampoo to anyone and everyone, but especially right after you swim. It works like a hair and scalp reset and can help remove minerals, build-up, excess product, and scalp irritation. Especially for color treated blonde hair, this is a good tool to keep on hand if you're in the pool all day! Massage in like a normal shampoo right after you're done in the pool, and follow with your regular shampoo and conditioning regimen. A good clarifying shampoo won't strip color or leave hair feeling dry and brittle. We love EVO Normal Persons Daily Shampoo for everyone. It has a clean, fresh scent and feels amazing on the scalp!
Swimmers Wellness Shampoo and Conditioner
If you're in the pool a few times a week, you NEED this in your shower!!! This is the companion line to the Malibu in-salon Treatment (see below) but it's an AMAZING duo that works and smells great. It removes chlorine from the hair, adds back in the moisture & shine your hair has been missing, AND has antioxidants that help defend your hair from future chemical absorption. You can replace your regular shampoo and conditioner with this in the summertime so easily, and we also recommend this for your kiddos that are in the lake, river, or pool 24/7, too!
Malibu In Salon Treatment
This is the heavy hitter if you're a swim, sun, or outdoor addict and just can't stay away. There are lots of Malibu treatments we love for prepping color, soothing scalp irritation, removing hard water build-up, and generally fighting the harmful effects of free radicals that damage our hair every day (we looking at you convertible drivers and motorcyclists!) but the swimmers wellness packet can literally save your hair. During your treatment at the shampoo bowl, we mix the powdered crystals with a little water and scrunch it into damp hair. Depending on the severity of the chemical buildup, we might even cap it and let you process under gentle heat to really help the product do it's magic. After a quick rinse, shampoo, and condition, your hair has life again, the green is gone, and it doesn't feel gummy or tangley anymore! At The Hair Tailor we do Malibu Treatments for $45, but if you add on a treatment to a haircut or color service it's $35!
Are you feeling a little green the summer? Try out a few of these tips next time you take a dip!