My Swimming Routine
If you look over under “Categories” you will see that I have one called “Protection from Swimming and Summer Sun”. There you will find product reviews for anti chlorine shampoos under that heading and you can also follow my process for learning to protect my hair from the constant swimming I’ve been doing this summer.
However, I thought I’d go ahead and post a solid routine. I’d planned to wait until the spring/summer rolled around to do this but I see that a lot of you are taking swimming lessons this fall (which is awesome, keep it up!) My hair has suffered no ill effects that I can see which is much different from my last experience in the pool.These are only tips that I have gathered from experience and I can not guarantee that your hair will not be damaged from frequent swimming.
Put hair in twists, braids, other protective styles. If you have your fro out, you will soon find the agony of trying to stuff one into a swim cap. My preference has been twists. I’ve also tried to wet my fro under a swim cap and it just doesn’t cut it. It was a detangling nightmare afterward. Unless your hair is shorter, I would do a protective style of some sort, even if it’s some big, temporary twists.
I tried bantu knots, which worked ok, but my swim cap wouldn’t fit very well and my head just felt waterlogged compared to twists. When doing my twists, I use a very moisturizing product, sometimes a bit more than I would normally use to make sure each section is fully coated. I really think this helps protect your hair as well. Sealing with an oil is also good. The vaseline that I used on top of my conditioner once was way too messy and unnecessary.
Applying conditioner to wet hair. There’s no special conditioner you need to use. I have been using this opportunity to use up all of the conditioners that I didn’t like. One time, in a pinch, I even had to put lotion on my hair. Just put something on there! I’ve heard of people using butters and oils as well.
I’ve been applying it to the ends first on dry hair to let it absorb. I then wet my hair in tap water thoroughly followed by applying conditioner to the rest of my hair.
If your hair is in twists or braids, make sure to squeeze it in gently, wait, apply more, and squeeze again. Don’t just slather and rub it on, especially if you want to keep your twists looking nice. They can get ratty quite fast.
Finally, I concentrate more conditioner at my hairline, as it may be more likely to be exposed during the swim.
Get a swimcap. I know you are probably thinking, why? If you’ve ever been swimming with a cap on, then you know they do diddly squat for keeping the water out. However, I’ve noticed that they do keep your hair from swishing all about. Even when I put my hair back in a pony, strands start to escape in the front and I can see that my hair has a roughened look to it from cutting through the water. In other words, too much manipulation and the possibility of knots and tangles.
They also keep the hair out of your eyes. Even though your hair normally is not in your eyes when it’s dry and shrunken, being wet will drag it down, which can annoy to no end.
Now, as you are trying to put on your swim cap on your conditioner laden head, you will probably experience major slippage and sliding because the cap will not stay on with all of the conditioner. No one ever seems to mention this frustrating phenomenon when suggesting the use of conditioner while swimming. Maybe it’s just me? I don’t know.
(You can view my updated swim cap combo here, this is what I currently use. The suggestions below were before I made this discovery)
Here are some swim caps that have worked for me:
The first is a bubble cap with a chin strap and the second is a neoprene swim cap. The second one is something most people use in cold water, usually along with a wet suit. It stays on my hair so much better, but it does have a kind of felt-like material on the inside that will be against your hair. The other will be rubber. The chin straps for the rubber one snap on either side and the strap itself can come off completely where you can adjust how tight the fit it.
Now, the ones that did not work included all of the standard swim caps that are out there. They say that using silicone is better, but at this point I’m just using what will stay on my head.
For either one, be very gentle when trying to get your hair in there. The rubber one in particular can be prone to ripping from fingernails. I never did find one that left none of my hair uncovered, but these two covered most of it. Usually my nape was a bit exposed and the very front.
I’d thought this one would be a great cap:
But it turns out it slipped a lot worse than the others and resulted in partial strangulation as well.
Snags and Such. Be careful of pulling off and adjusting your cap while it’s on. Even though your hair is protected with conditioner, you still want to be gentle. Also be aware of swimming goggles if you have them on. I have had one too many nape hairs snap from me being careless while pulling off my goggles.
After the swim:
No matter what, rinse thoroughly with tap water after your swim. I also make sure I rinse my scalp because chlorine gives me a terribly itchy scalp.
If you prefer, you can use a anti-chlorine shampoo (see my reviews hereand here) if you feel you need to. I initially started with ending every swim with a diluted shampoo, followed by a DC. I soon found that my hair would often still feel coated after a swim and, on a leap of faith, I cut shampooing down to once a week, if that. I’d just rinse and then cowash.
My hair seems to have suffered no ill effects. I think if you hair is coated enough and it’s absorbed a good amount of moisturizer, that cowashing is good enough and shampoo might not be necessary. Whether to shampoo or not is your decision and I would never tell anyone not to shampoo after swimming, that is a personal choice.
- Continue a healthy hair routine. Even though you will be protecting your hair to the best of your ability, keeping your hair healthy in the first place gives a good fighting chance.
- Step up the protein treatments I also did protein treatments and used protein heavy products to try to keep my hair strong. This may backfire on those who are protein sensitive, but I am a protein lover and sometimes I could just tell that my hair needed it. I also enjoyed the ZSC treatments for strengthening my hair.
- Chlorine kills. Try not to use the same towel on your freshly washed hair that you used when getting out of the pool, as it probably absorbed chlorinated water. This also goes for ponytail holders.
- Feel free to add your own tips and/or questions in the comment section.
Powered by Facebook Comments