Once it warms up, SWIMMING moves to the top of my list of Things to Do during my downtime. But now since I’ve gone natural, I have had to put some thought into how to prevent chlorinated water from damaging my natural hair. Here are the recommendations I created and followed last summer that saved my hair and my sanity.
BEFORE Swimming in a Chlorinated Pool
Get wet and wear an “old school” swim cap
Before you take that first dive into a chlorinated swimming pool, go ahead and rinse your hair really well. Once you get in the pool, your hair should already be wet. This helps slow down the absorption of chlorine. Consider this: your hair is like a sponge, and will take on less (chlorinated) water when it’s already wet. Also, consider using a latex or silicone swim cap. I know that it won’t block the water completely – and isn’t the most fashionable looking pool accessory – but again, it slows down the process of allowing chlorinated water to dry out your beautiful natural hair.
AFTER Swimming in a Chlorinated Pool
Grab the Baking Soda or Apple Cider Vinegar. You’re gonna need one of them.
Have you ever noticed that when you step out the pool, shower, and dry off. . you STILL smell chlorine? Well, that’s because chlorine, unlike dirt, sweat, and general funk doesn’t just wash and rinse off. It’s a chemical that requires a little more work to get rid of. Once you’re done swimming for the day and do an initial shampooing of your natural hair, apply baking soda to your hair. Leave it for 5 minutes or so, to let the baking soda do what it does to your refrigerator odors. Absorb it. You can then rinse the baking soda out.
Apple cider vinegar is also a natural and cost-effective option to get chlorine out of your beautiful curly locks. Just add one part apple cider vinegar to four parts water and pour it over freshly washed hair. Then, do a final rinse.
It’s time to Deep Condition. . Again
Baking soda and apple cider vinegar act as clarifiers. So, once you rinse either option out, use your regular conditioning shampoo and conditioner, and if you follow the same natural hair treatment that I do then this is when you use the L.C.O. Method. Either way, take your time and remember to massage your scalp because the chlorine dries our your natural hair AND your scalp.
When you’re done cleaning, rinsing, clarifying, conditioning, and “sprucing” up your beautiful natural hair, do me a favor. Let it air dry. Your hair is going to still be vulnerable from being exposed to chlorine and from the steps you had to take to remove it. Don’t reach for the hair dryer or flat iron just yet.
Now, get out there, Sis. Show them that Black Girls swim, too!