Preventing Chlorine-Damaged Hair

By: Erin Torrance

Okay, perhaps swim caps were fashionable in the ‘50s, but unless you’re a pro swimmer, they might not be your first choice of hair protectant for a casual swim. You can’t leave your hair to fend for itself, though, against the damaging effects of chlorine—discolouration, brittleness, breakage, dryness and an itchy scalp to begin.

We have a thorough hair care routine that will counteract present and prevent future chlorine damage.

Oscar Blandi Capri Sun-Shield Spray, Sephora, $20

Before diving into the pool, thoroughly wet your hair. This will lessen your hair’s ability to absorb chlorine. Immediately apply a leave-in conditioner or argan oil, which is gentle on colour-treated hair. We recommend Oscar Blandi Capri Sun-Shield Spray (Sephora, $20), a champagne-and-peaches scented treatment that shields hair from sun and chlorine damage, or Josie Maran Organic Argan Oil (Sephora, $14–96), a multi-tasker that can also repair cuticles and dry skin after a dip in the pool.

Josie Maran Organic Argan Oil, Sephora $14-96

Post-swim, immediately wash your hair with a specially formulated swimmer’s shampoo and conditioning combination. Try Aubrey Organics Swimmer’s hair care line (Aubrey Organics, $3.58–14.98)—it is effective, vegan friendly and free of dyes, perfumes and sulphates. However, swimmer’s hair products are generally formulated to remove chlorine for damage prevention, not treat existing damage. For dry and damaged hair, opt for a gentle hydrating or clarifying shampoo and a deep conditioning treatment.

Some important don’ts to remember:

Do not try to re-dye faded or discoloured hair that is a product of chlorine damage. Dry, porous hair—which goes hand-in-hand with chlorine discolouration—holds dye unevenly. Treat it for dryness first and then see a salon professional for re-dying.

Refrain from washing your hair too often after it has been exposed to chlorinated water—at most, stick to every other day for at least a week after you hit the pool.

Refrain from using a blow-dryer on high heat or other hot hair styling tools—the application of heat will actually cause your hair to further absorb any leftover chlorine, increasing the damage done to your hair.

Check out Swimming the Extra Mile for a new kind of workout

Leave a comment


  1. Another great line of hair care products for swimmers is from Malibu Wellness. They offer a shampoo, conditioner and demineralizer specifically designed for swimmers to combat the effects of chlorine. They just introduced a new Malibu C Swim & Sport Skin Care Kit too. It’s a complete wellness skin care kit formulated especially for the athlete, competitive and recreational swimmer exposed to pools, open water, sun and pollution. Available at

  2. Breeeeee

     /  February 8, 2014

    You have to wash your hair after you swim, every time! I used to be in the swim team at my school and I used a brand called Pro Natural’s argan oil shampoo/conditioner and after I used their argan oil because you use it after a shower and leave it in. It’s not greasy or anything so I loved it and it kept my hair soft and healthy. You have to get them online though…

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