Hair-Care Tips

You Should Always Wet Your Hair *Before* Swimming To Protect It From Chlorine

Photo: Stocksy / Rene de Haan
Whether you're enjoying the lap lanes or floating aimlessly on your back, there's a lot to love about a swimming pool. But if you're hair isn't loving the chlorine, wetting it before you dive into the water is the hairstylist-approved tip you need to protect it from harsh chemicals.

"Chlorine from pools burns into the hair, and then when it dries it crystallizes, which causes more problems," says Nexxus global creative director Kevin Manusco.

While there's no stopping some of that damage, there is one simple tip that hair colorists and stylists are begging you to keep in your back pocket this summer: That is, give your hair a nice rinse pre-cannonball—okay? "When you wet your hair before swimming in a pool or ocean, you fill the shafts with clean water rather than chlorinated or salt water," explains James Miju, hair colorist and owner of LV1 Studio. "This helps reduce discoloration and drying damages that cause hair to be really brittle and prone to breakage."

To review, all you really have to do is head to the locker room shower and saturate your hair fully before starting you jump in. However, celebrity hairstylist Laura Polko, Aquage brand ambassador, adds that what you do after you've toweled off matters, too.

"Whenever you leave the pool or ocean, the most important thing to do is put a leave-in conditioner in the hair, such as the Aquage CBD Leave In Conditioning Spray," she says. "Using a leave-in conditioner will serve as a buffer to help prevent that damage.” She adds that you should also avoid brushing your hair at this point, because doing so could cause even more damage.

And, should you wake up in the morning, and find that your hair is drier and more damaged-looking than you'd like, you can always slap a hair mask on for good measure. "Let it soak in for a while and then rinse out—no need to shampoo," she says. If you must brush your hair out, use a gentle option like a Wet Brush rather than anything too harsh.

Keep all this in mind and you'll be able to swim all summer long without worrying too much about how your hair looks by the time fall comes around.

3 leave-in conditioners to spritz in your hair post-swim

Hairstory Hair Balm — $37.00

Curly-haired folks will love Hairstory’s lightweight leave-in conditioner that’s designed for no-heat styling. Throw this in your swim bag, and enjoy post-pool waves all summer long.

Aussie Hair Insurance Leave-In Conditioner with Jojoba & Sea Kelp — $4.00

This affordable drugstore buy gets a lot done for its price point. I’ve been using this stuff for years, and it’s gotten me through countless beach and pool days.

Aguage Leave-In Conditioning Spray — $26.00

Polko’s recommendation offers seed oils and plant extracts to nourish your hair right after you take a dip. Plus, it’s a great size to throw in your bag.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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