Skip to Content

What shampoo to use after swimming in chlorine?

Swimming is a great way to exercise and have fun during the hot summer months. However, prolonged exposure to chlorinated water can dry out your hair and skin. Chlorine is added to pool water to kill bacteria and other contaminants, but it can also damage your hair’s natural oils and proteins. Using the right shampoo after swimming is key to undoing some of the drying effects of chlorine.

How chlorine affects hair

When you swim in a chlorinated pool, the chlorine interacts with proteins in your hair and can have the following effects:

  • Removes natural oils – This leaves hair dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.
  • Alters hair structure – Chlorine opens up the outer cuticle layer, causing it to lift up and become damaged. This leads to frizziness.
  • Changes color pigmentation – Over time, chlorine can lighten hair’s natural melanin pigment, causing fading and brassiness, especially in color-treated hair.
  • Builds up on strands – Chlorine binds to hair, leading to a crunchy texture and greenish tint (chlorine green!).

To counteract these effects, you need a post-swim shampoo that tackles chlorine buildup and helps restore moisture. Check the ingredient list for key components that address chlorine damage.

What to look for in a post-swim shampoo

Here are the top ingredients and properties to seek out when choosing a shampoo to use after swimming in chlorinated water:

  • Chelating agents – These bond to metals like copper in chlorine and allow them to be rinsed away. Examples include EDTA, citric acid, and gluconic acid.
  • Clarifying agents – Clarifying shampoos contain detergents to deeply cleanse hair and remove chlorine residues. Look for sulfates like sodium laureth sulfate.
  • Moisturizers – Post-swim shampoos should contain hydrating ingredients to restore moisture stripped by chlorine. Some good options are glycerin, coconut oil, shea butter, and dimethicone.
  • Damage repairers – Keratin proteins and silicones can help smooth and strengthen hair damaged by chlorine. Amodimethicone is an excellent smoothing silicone.
  • Sunscreens – UV filters like benzophenone-4 help protect hair from fading by screening out some radiation from chlorine and the sun.
  • Fragrance – Essential oils add a refreshing, spa-like scent while also sealing in moisture. Look for citrus, mint, or coconut fragrances.
  • Color-safe formula – For color treated hair, choose a shampoo without sulfates, which can cause color to fade faster.

Reviews of top shampoos for after swimming

Here is an overview of some top-rated shampoos for getting hair back to normal after exposure to chlorine:

Brand Key Features Price
Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo Chelating agents, moisturizing ingredients, color-safe $$
AG Hair Swim Shampoo Clarifying formula, keratin proteins, vitamin E $$$
TRESemme Deep Cleansing Shampoo Affordable clarifying shampoo, fresh scent $
Kenra Clarifying Shampoo Removes buildup, gentle enough for daily use $$
Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three Deep cleanser with conditioning agents $$$

Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo

This shampoo contains malic acid (an organic chelating agent) to remove chlorine, along with moisturizing ingredients like cocamidopropyl betaine and sodium PCA. It has a nice tropical coconut scent and is safe for color-treated hair. Users say it leaves hair super soft while eliminating brassy green tones.

AG Hair Swim Shampoo

Formulated specifically for post-swim use, this shampoo by AG Hair contains hydrolyzed wheat protein and keratin amino acids to strengthen and repair damage from chlorine exposure. It also has a unique micro-emulsion formula to deeply cleanse away buildup. Reviews praise its ability to revive dry, tangled hair after swimming.

TRESemme Deep Cleansing Shampoo

For an affordable option, TRESemme’s clarifying shampoo uses surfactants to eliminate residue, along with sunflower seed oil for light moisturizing. It has a fresh scent and leaves hair feeling clean and smooth. Since it’s on the drying side, alternate use with a more hydrating shampoo.

Tips for using shampoo after swimming

To maximize the effectiveness of your post-swim shampoo, follow these tips:

  • Shampoo soon after getting out of the pool instead of waiting – this prevents chlorine from fully binding to hair
  • Focus shampoo at the scalp area where residue really builds up
  • Rinse with cool water to close the cuticles and seal in moisture
  • Apply conditioner only to the ends, not roots, to avoid buildup
  • Let hair air dry when possible instead of using hot tools that cause damage
  • Use a leave-in conditioner or mask for extra hydration
  • Get occasional clarifying treatments to remove hard water and chlorine buildup

Other tips for swimmer’s hair care

In addition to using the right post-swim shampoo, here are some other tips to keep swimmer’s hair healthy and vibrant:

  • Wear a cap – this provides a barrier to minimize direct exposure to chlorine
  • Rinse before swimming – saturate hair with clean water to prevent chlorine absorption
  • Apply leave-in conditioner before swimming – this provides protection from drying effects
  • Shampoo less frequently – limit everyday washing to avoid over-stripping natural oils
  • Use a deep conditioning mask weekly – helps restore damaged areas
  • Get occasional trims – removes split ends and keeps hair looking fresh
  • Protect hair from sun – wear a hat and use sprays or oils to shield from fading

Clarifying shampoo vs. regular shampoo

While regular shampoos focus more on cleansing and fragrance, clarifying shampoos are specially formulated to deep clean and detoxify hair.

Here’s how they compare:

Clarifying Shampoo Regular Shampoo
Contains detergents like sulfates to remove residue Typically sulfate-free and more gentle
Powerful cleansing ingredients that may dry out hair if used daily Balances cleansing with moisturizing ingredients
Removes buildup from chlorine, hard water minerals, styling products Less effective at removing heavy buildup
Use 1-2 times per week Gentle enough for daily use

For swimmers, alternating a clarifying shampoo with your regular shampoo helps keep hair refreshed and free of chlorine residue.

DIY post-swim hair treatments

You can also make your own conditioning treatments at home to restore moisture after swimming:

Honey hair mask

Honey is a natural humectant that helps hydrate parched hair. Mix 1 tablespoon honey with 1 tablespoon olive oil and apply to damp hair. Rinse after 15-20 minutes.

Avocado hair mask

Mashed avocado is deeply moisturizing for dry hair. Combine 1 ripe avocado with 2 tablespoons olive oil and smooth over hair. Leave on for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

Beer rinse

The proteins in beer can help strengthen and boost body. After shampooing, slowly pour a cup of flat beer over hair and let sit briefly before rinsing. Finish with a light conditioner.

Key takeaways

  • Look for shampoos with chelating agents that remove chlorine, as well as moisturizing ingredients to hydrate.
  • Clarifying shampoos are great for periodic use to strip away chemical and mineral buildup.
  • Focus on shampooing right after swimming and use cool water temperatures.
  • Incorporate masks, leave-in conditioners, and oils for extra moisture.
  • Protect hair from sun exposure before and after swimming.
  • Get occasional trims to maintain healthy hair ends.

While swimming does dry out your hair, using the right post-swim products and techniques can help minimize damage and keep your locks healthy and vibrant all summer long.