Photo Courtesy: Ed Garcia

By Nicole Johnson, Swimming World College Intern

With summer just around the corner, everyone who loves the water is getting ready to be able to finally get away with the “not needing to brush their hair because it’s summer” hairstyle. For those fish who stay in the water for multiple hours at a time, you may be familiar with the green tint that you are able to start seeing in your hair.

Every blonde knows the tragic look in the mirror after a long day of swimming and seeing what looks like it could be the newest trend of summer 2016– luscious green locks. And every brunette knows how it feels to finally be “having more fun” than blondes this time of year.

If you don’t know what I’m referring to, then here’s a quick chemistry lesson to jog your memory. Chlorine isn’t actually what turns blonde hair green. It’s copper. Copper is a metal found in some swimming pools and can turn blonde hair to green. The copper is oxidized by the chlorine and binds to the proteins in the hair strands to produce a green tint.

Before you start to panic, here are some tips and tricks to save you from possible embarrassment.

The easiest way to fix green hair is to prevent it in the first place:

  1. Start off with wet hair. Before hopping in the refreshing cold water, rinse your hair in a sink or use a hose so that the chlorine won’t soak into your hair as much.
  2. Use leave-in conditioner. Much like getting your hair wet before getting in the water, leaving in some conditioner will act as an even stronger barrier against the chlorine.
  3. Wash after you swim. This may seem like a simple one, but it is one of the most important. Making sure you shampoo and condition as soon as possible after swimming will ensure that your hair will stay its natural color.

If your hair has already taken an unfortunate turn for the worse, there are some simple ways you can become good as new:

  1. Use something acidic. Crazy right? Leaving something such as ketchup, tomato juice, lemon juice, vinegar, or baking soda in your hair for ten or more minutes can do wonders for you. Just don’t forget to rinse it out.
  2. Mix it with conditioner. We already know from preventing green hair that conditioner is basically our best friend. Mixing something acidic with conditioner and leaving it in for a while can really seal the deal.
  3. Take it to a professional. We all know that sometimes there’s just not much you can do to fix a problem if it gets out of hand. Fortunately, there are people who are very knowledgeable on fixing hair and can definitely help you out.

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Tip #1

You may think that wearing a swim cap will solve all of your problems, but this is not true. Swim caps are not a good way to keep water out because they are not completely air tight. Instead, you can try putting in conditioner and then putting on a swim cap.

Tip #2

Never try to bleach your green hair because the metal can react to the bleach and cause major damage.

Tip #3

If you have a pool at home, try switching to pool products that are copper-free. But do not use metal remover in the water to remove the copper because the chemicals that aid in copper removal are actually worse on your hair than copper itself.

So blondes, before you plan on spending hours upon hours in chlorinated water, make sure you’re taking a few precautions to prevent your hair from turning green. Otherwise, enjoy the newest style of summer 2016.

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