3 tips to prevent chlorine damage to hair

How does chlorine affect your hair?

Chlorine is used as a disinfectant to to reduce the growth of bacteria and viruses in the water.  Because of its chemical activity, chlorine also affects hair of swimmers: it strips out the natural oils that protect your hair from damage, resulting in loss of shine and flexibility, as well as making them more susceptible to mechanical damage.  An unprotected exposure to chlorine  will therefore make your hair drier, and cause the appearance of split ends.

Is it possible to have lustrous hair and go  swimming regularly?

Yes, it is 🙂 I am a regular swimmer (I go to the swimming pool 3 times a week), and I still manage to keep my fine, long hair, healthy. But it is important that you follow these 3 steps.

hair care swimmers chlorine damage

1) Apply coconut oil on your hair first

coconut oil hair swimmers chlorine damageApply this wonderful oil on your hair in order to prevent some of the chlorine from being absorbed. Being a  fatty acid, coconut oil  has a high affinity for hair proteins, and  is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft. This means that not only it will help prevent chlorine from being absorbed, but will also moisturize your hair while swimming!  Run the oil through the lengths of your locks, then use a wide-tooth comb to spread it  from scalp to ends. This will ensure even coverage.

2) Wet your hair before getting in the poolhair care swimmers rinse

Take a quick shower! This is a very important, yet underrated step. If you get your hair wet before stepping in the pool, your hair will be less likely to absorb chlorinated water.  In fact, your hair is similar to a sponge, so it will take on less water when it’s already wet.

3) Wear a good quality swim cap

Wearing a swim cap to prevent chlorinated water from reaching your hair is a pretty obvious thing to do; however, it is important that you choose a swim cap that actually protects your hair!  Swim caps are made in different designs, shapes and quality, and this often confuses the customer.

After trying several different swim caps, I came to the conclusion that  The Friendly Swede Silicone Long Hair Swim Cap really does its job!

Designed in Sweden, this cap is made of 100% premium quality silicone, and its flexibility makes it easy for you to take it on and off without pulling your hair! It is suitable for male and female swimmers, as well as both adults and children. In order to protect your ear from water, the manufacturers added comfortable ergonomic ear pockets to these swim caps.  The design  is wrinkle-free, which allows you to swim faster and with less resistance!

What makes this swim cap stand out: 

  • COMFORTABLE FIT: Made of 100% premium quality silicone, The Friendly Swede’s silicone swim caps offer maximum flexibility. They are easy to take on and off without snagging or pulling long hair. 
  • DURABILITY: These swim caps are made from 100% premium quality silicone instead of latex, so they are much more durable and will last longer.
  • EAR PROTECTION: The comfortable and ergonomic ear flaps of the swim hats help minimize pressure in your ears and keep water out.
  • SWIM FASTER: The hydrodynamic, wrinkle-free design of our swim caps allows you to swim faster with less resistance and drag.
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY: This product is covered by The Friendly Swede’s Lifetime Warranty.

One more reason to opt for this product: The Friendly Swede’s costumer service is amazing!!

hair care swimmers swim cap


Enjoy your swim!





18 thoughts on “3 tips to prevent chlorine damage to hair

  1. Daniel says:

    Hello Margherita, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. Honestly, I did not know that chlorine can damage our hair. I swim from time to time but I want to ask one thing as my water in the house also contain chloride. Can I only use coconut oil to prevent damage?

  2. Ally says:

    Thank you for this information.  My daughter is a keen and strong swimmer but since completing her swimming lessons some years ago, she is more self-conscious now about wearing a swim cap.  During lessons they were compulsory, and for me they were a godsend because although she would shampoo afterwards, her long hair was not so tangled or damaged as the cap protected it.  Now she is older, it’s not so cool to wear a cap, however these caps are so professional looking that I think she would actually wear one quite happily.

    Personally, I am going to be trying the coconut oil, because my hair is much shorter and finer than hers and I don’t really need a cap.  I colour my hair and find not only does chlorine make my hair feel like straw, it seems to make the colour fade quickly too.  Do you think the coconut oil would be good for swimmers with coloured hair?

    • Margherita says:

      Hi ally. It may not be so “cool” to wear a swim cap, but it is definitely less cool to have your hair damaged because one doesn’t want to wear a swim cap 😉
      Applying coconut oil, rinsing your hair, and wearing a swim cap are all important steps to protect your hair from getting damaged by chlorinated water. Those like me and you who have colored hair, need extra protection against chlorine: both oil and water will help prevent your hair from absorbing the chlorinated water. Wearing a swim cap is also important, as it creates an effective barrier against the chlorine in the pool.

  3. MissusB says:

    Wow! I always thought that applying conditioner on your hair after swimming is the best way to keep it moisturized and safe from drying. Had I known this before, I would have done this to my daughter. But there’s always a next time for that. Because it was summer time in our country, I enrolled her to swimming lesson and during her training I observed that her hair became a bit brittle.

    About the hair cap, do you know if the warranty applies to all countries? I’m not sure where to find it here in our country so that if ever it’ll be damaged I know where to go. It seems like it can only be purchased through online. Thank you for sharing what you know about this matter. Mothers like me always want the best practices, when it comes to our kids.  

    • Margherita says:

      Hi! I understand, I used to only take care of my hair after swimming, but what I found is that what really makes a difference is the hair care before getting in the pool! My friends and I have purchased the Friendly Swede swim cap from Amazon. The delivery service was great! To date, it is only possible to order their products online.

  4. Dominic says:

    Hi Margherita

    Thanks for the great advice, living in Australia my daughter is constantly in the pool as she is also in a swimming club, her hair seems to be one of he constant worries/complaints so I will definitely be passing on this information to her. Given that doing all 3 may not be possible all the time which one would you recommend as being the most important. 

    Thanks for your help

    • Margherita says:

      Hi Dominic! The most important step is to wear a swim cap, as it creates a barrier against the chlorinated water in the pool. It has to be a good swim cap though: many swim caps on the market don’t really protect your hair, so they’re just a waste of money. After trying several models made of different materials, my recommendation is to go for the swim cap made by The Friendly Swede. It doesn’t pull my long hair at all, and it completely protects my ears too. The company’s service is very friendly, and the quality/price ratio is great.

  5. Anthony says:

    This is excellent information Margherita. I will defenitely start using the oil method for swimming, considering my large head of hair. Thank you!

  6. Suzanne says:

    I’m just about to begin swimming 2-3 times a week and have very fine hair. I was unaware of putting coconut oil and wetting my hair first. However, since my hair is colored with a “deposit only” hair dye (no bleach or ammonia) I will be wearing a swim cap. I’m going to check out the one you suggest. Thank you for the information.

    • Margherita says:

      Hi Suzanne! yes, it is very important to wear a swim cap, especially if you, like me, dye your hair. The Friendly Swede swim cap is the best I’ve tried so far, you won’t be disappointed 🙂
      Applying coconut oil and wetting your hair before getting in the pool will also help prevent chlorine from damaging your fine hair. Wishing you good luck! 🙂

  7. Madysen Wilcox says:

    Wow I never thought of wetting my hair before getting in the pool. that’s a great tip! I also have fine long hair and living in California it’s hard not to go swimming every day! This is just what I needed. Thank you for the great post!

  8. Lisa says:

    Hey, I am a professional swimmer, and always struggled with taking care of my hair. I think it is actually a great tip to wet your hair before getting in the pool: so your hair will be less likely to absorb further (chlorinated) water. I also wear the Friendly Swede swim cap! I’m very happy with it, because all of the other swim caps I tried pulled my long hair. This one, instead, doesn’t pull my long hair at all!

  9. Sophie says:

    Hi Margherita,
    Chlorine is one of the main reasons I tend to steer away from the pool when on holiday, or when I do decide to take a dip I always try my hardest to keep my head and hair above the water. But since reading your article I feel like I’ll be able to have a proper swim next time – thank you for sharing!

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