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What’s the best conditioner for swimmer’s hair?

conditioner for swimmer's hair

Has your hair become brittle, crunchy and dry from frequent swimming? The severe damage caused by chlorine is known as “swimmer’s hair” or “chlorine hair”. Let’s investigate the best conditioner for swimmer’s hair.

Swimmer’s Hair

First of all, swimmers hair is severely chlorine damaged hair caused by frequent swimming and exposure to chlorine. Sometimes your hair will even have a green tint. It’s a common problem avid swimmers have had to deal with since public swimming pools began using chlorine as a sanitizer.

When your hair is healthy, the outermost layer of your hair shaft lies flat. This outer layer is called the cuticle and is a scale like structure. These scales interlock around the hair shaft and lock in moisture. When you hair is healthy, it is shiny and smooth. Healthy hair is also slightly acidic.

When exposed to chlorine–which is alkaline–your hair cuticle lift and the chlorine works to sanitize your hair shaft removing all of the natural oils and moisture. The chlorine forms a tight bond to your hair and is very difficult to remove with normal shampoo and conditioner.

In fact, so-called clarifying shampoos and harsh soaps can make matters worse.

Think of it like this: The chlorine has made your hair absolutely clean (and super dry). What you need to do is gently remove the chlorine and restore the natural oils stripped by the chlorine. The worst thing to do is to use harsh chemicals on top of the chlorine.

Protect Your Hair Before Swimming

One of the best strategies avid swimmers use to keep their hair healthy is to protect it before swimming. Here is a great article:

Protect Your Hair Before Swimming: 5 Pro Tips

Types of Conditioners

There are three general categories of hair conditioners:

  1. Rinse-out Conditioners – “standard” conditioner. You apply in the shower and rinse out after about 3 minutes. This type of conditioner you can use daily.
  2. Leave-in Conditioners – Leave-in conditioners are great detanglers and are useful for people with hard-to-comb hair. They help protect your hair against heat and styling products as well.
  3. Deep Conditioners – Deep Conditioners are applied for 15-30 minutes and then rinsed out. They contain high quantities of oil and are used to restore moisture to severely dry and damaged hair.

Conditioner for Swimmer’s Hair

Swimmer’s hair presents a unique problem–that chlorine is attached. No matter what type of conditioner you use to treat swimmer’s hair, they should all have the following properties:

  1. Reduce and Remove Chlorine – Conditioner for Swimmer’s Hair is formulated to reduce and gently remove chlorine. Make sure the conditioner you use is formulated for swimmers and will get rid of chlorine which is the fundamental problem that causes swimmer’s hair.
  2. Rebalance pH – The conditioner should be pH balanced and help to return your hair to its natural pH level.
  3. Restore Natural Moisture – Of course it should contain lots of conditioning and moisturizing ingredients.
  4. Assist Combout – Because swimmer’s hair has become brittle, selecting a conditioner with plenty of “slip” that assists comb-out is a good idea.
  5. Protect – A good conditioner for swimmer’s hair will continue to protect after you leave the pool.

If your hair is extremely damaged, consider using a spray chlorine neutralizer like Goodbye Green before using a swimmer’s shampoo and conditioner.



Shop Goodbye Chlorine Products

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