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Does hair dye come out in the Pool?

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Summertime means pool parties, beach days, and hours of refreshing swims. But if you've got color-treated hair,  you might worry about your lovely locks every time you see that sparkling pool water. Chlorine, salt water, and even harsh UV rays can all wreak havoc on your hair color. Faded blondes, funky green tints, washed-out reds... it's a common issue! But does hair dye come out in the pool? Sadly, yes – so let's stop it before it starts.

A person with vibrant multicolored hair gazing outwards by a poolside with palm trees in the background.

Why Chlorine, Saltwater & the Sun Fade Your Color

  • Chlorine: Your Hair Color's Worst Enemy
    • Think of chlorine, the chemical keeping your pool clean, as supercharged bleach. It breaks down those precious hair color molecules, making them fade quickly.
    • Worse yet, chlorine can react with oxidized metals (like copper) in pool water, causing wild color changes. That dreaded green tinge in blond hair? That's chlorine's fault!
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  • Salt Water: A Sneaky Color Fader
    • While gentler than chlorine, salt water dehydrates your hair terribly. Dry, porous hair is more likely to let those color pigments wash out, leading to faster fading.
    • Saltwater from the ocean or salt water pools can both affect your hair color, especially with repeated exposure.
  • The Sun: Double Trouble for Your Hair
    • Just like sunlight fades your favorite shirt, those strong UV rays also bleach your hair color. Pair a sunny day with a chlorinated pool, and your hair faces a double whammy of color-fading forces!

Protect Your Color: It's All About the Prep and the Aftercare

Before Your Swim

  • Wet Your Hair First:  Think of your dry hair like a thirsty sponge, ready to soak up that pool water. A pre-swim shower with clean water saturates your hair strands, making them less likely to absorb as much chlorine or sea water.
  • Oil for the Win: Natural oils like coconut or argan form a slight protective barrier, helping to repel harsh chemicals in the pool's water. Plus, they keep your hair hydrated, fighting the drying effects of chlorine.
  • Cap It Up: A well-fitting swim cap is your best physical barrier for protecting your color. No pool party should happen without one, especially if you have sensitive semi-permanent hair color!
  • Wait After Dyeing: If you can swing it, give your hair at least a week after dyeing before swimming. This lets those color molecules fully bond with your hair shaft, making them less likely to wash out.

After Your Swim

  • Rinse, Rinse, Rinse: Get that chlorine (or saltwater) out of your hair ASAP! Cool water is best, as it helps close those hair cuticles and keeps your color pigments in place.
  • Clarify for Frequent Swimmers: A weekly clarifying shampoo is your secret weapon against stubborn buildup from chlorine and pool chemicals a normal shampoo might miss. This is especially important if you have light hair, where buildup becomes more visible.
  • Deep Condition is Key: Chlorine sucks the moisture right out of your hair, making it brittle. Replenish with a deep conditioner designed for color-treated hair to fight breakage and dryness.
  • Mask for the Win: Take your post-swim care to the next level with a hair mask. It's like intense hydration therapy, perfect for rescuing your hair after a day in the pool.
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03/20/2024 03:50 am GMT

Tips to Protect Your Color in the Pool

Before You Swim:

  • Wait a Week: After dyeing, try to wait at least a week before swimming. This lets your hair cuticles close and helps the color settle in.
  • Rinse Before You Dip: Don't jump in with dry hair! Thoroughly wet your hair with clean water before swimming. This makes it less likely to soak up the chlorinated water.
  • Swim Cap: Your Best Friend: The ultimate physical barrier – find a comfy one for maximum protection.

After You Swim:

  • Rinse Out That Chlorine: Wash your hair as soon as possible, preferably with cool water.
  • Clarify and Condition: A clarifying shampoo helps remove chlorine buildup (especially for frequent swimmers). Follow up with a deep conditioner to restore moisture.

Important Note: Even with the best protection, frequent swimming might cause some fading.

FAQs About Pool Water and Hair Color

  • Is saltwater better than chlorinated pools for my hair color? Not significantly. While saltwater won't cause the chemical reactions that lead to green hair, it's still dehydrating. This dryness can make your hair more porous and prone to fading, regardless of your color. Protective steps are important for both types of pools.
  • What about those dreaded green tones?  You're right, this is primarily a problem for blondes and those with lighter colored hair. Here's why:
    • Culprit: Oxidized Metals: Chlorine in pools can react with trace metals (like copper), causing them to oxidize. That oxidized metal is what binds to hair and creates the green tinge.
    • Chelating Shampoo to the Rescue: These shampoos are designed to remove those pesky metal deposits.
    • Strange but True: If you're in a pinch, the citric acid in tomato ketchup or lemon juice can neutralize the green before you head to the store or salon.
  • Am I safe if I don't have light hair? Mostly! Darker hair shades are less likely to show the green tinge as visibly, but color fading remains an issue with chlorine. Plus,  everyone's hair reacts slightly differently to pool chemicals!
  • What if I'm a frequent swimmer? Prevention is vital! Here's your routine:
    • Swim Cap: Non-negotiable if your goal is to protect your color.
    • Pre- and Post-Swim Rinse: Get those chemicals out with clean water, immediately!
    • Clarifying Shampoo: Once a week to combat buildup.
    • Deep Conditioning: Your best defense against dry, brittle hair.
  • Can my red hair fade in the pool? Absolutely! Red pigments, whether natural or dyed, are especially prone to fading – even from chlorinated water. Those with vibrant red shades need to be extra diligent with preventative steps and aftercare.
  • What other factors affect how my hair reacts to pool water?
    • Hair Porosity: Damaged or already porous hair will absorb more water (and chemicals!), potentially leading to faster fading.
    • Type of Hair Dye: Semi-permanent colors are generally more vulnerable to chlorine than permanent colors, though both can fade.
    • Condition of Your Hair: Healthy hair is more resilient – proper hair care even outside of swim days matters!

Specific Product Recommendations: To help you protect your color, here are a few product suggestions:

  • Pre-Swim Protection:
    • Coconut Oil: A natural and widely available option to create a light barrier.
    • Moroccanoil Treatment: A nourishing oil blend for added hydration and protection.
    • Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Hair Remedy: A pre-swim treatment designed to remove minerals that can cause color changes.
  • Post-Swim Care:
    • Joico K-Pak Color Therapy Shampoo & Conditioner: This pair specifically caters to color-treated hair, combating fading and restoring moisture.
    • Paul Mitchell Color Protect Shampoo: A gentle, color-safe shampoo for everyday use.
    • Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer:Provides leave-in moisture and UV protection, especially important after pool exposure.
Joico Color Therapy Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair - With Keratin & Argan Oil, Repairs Damage, Boosts Shine, 33.8 oz
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03/20/2024 03:52 am GMT

Important Notes:

  • Always check product labels to ensure they're designed for color-treated hair.
  • What works for one person might not work as well for another, so don't be afraid to experiment to find your perfect haircare routine!

Don't Let Your Color Fade Away!

Nobody wants their vibrant red, rich brown, or beautiful blonde to go dull after a fun day in the sun. By taking these simple steps and understanding how pool water affects your hair,  you can keep your color looking amazing all summer long. After all, your fabulous hair deserves to shine as bright as those pool days!

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