How to avoid green swimmer’s hair this summer

Swimmer's hair

It’s easy to keep your hair blonde, not green, this summer. Image via Adobe Stock.

Summer brings about many wonderful things. Bronzed skin, beach days, sunshine and swimming but… if you’re a blonde, imagine taking a dip only to emerge with a ghastly shade of green through your beautiful, bright tresses. Swimmer’s hair is a common occurrence for those of us with lighter hair, there is a scientific reason behind it and believe it or not, chlorine is not the culprit, well, not entirely.

The main cause for swimmers hair is actually copper, which can be found in both chlorinated and saltwater swimming pools and in our drinking water, which means that even tap water with a high copper content can give you green hair. Though it is a possibility, you’re more likely to get that awful green tinge from swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool, due to the copper and chlorine bonding together, the chlorine causes the copper to oxidise and because chlorine is clear, it is the copper that causes the greenish tint.

Now that we know what causes green swimmer’s hair, here is a list of methods for treating and preventing this unfortunate mishap. So dive into a pool and not a haircare problem this summer with these easy at-home solutions.

Leave-in conditioner
Applying a leave-in conditioner to your hair before you jump in the pool will create a barrier and will help to prevent the chlorine and copper from sticking to your hair.

Wet your hair first
Wetting your hair first in the shower or even running the garden hose over it will also prevent the chlorine and copper from sticking to your hair so tightly.

Swimming cap
Pop a swimming cap over your pre-wet or conditioned hair for an extra barrier.

Baking soda
If you’ve been unfortunate enough to not prevent the green tinge from clinging to your blonde tresses, try baking soda. All you need to do is mix water with baking soda to create a thick paste, then apply the baking soda paste to your green hair, pop a shower cap on and let the mixture sit on your hair for up to 30 mins then wash and condition as normal. It might be a good idea to pop in a leave-in conditioner or do a treatment after this as baking soda can dry out your locks.

Tomato sauce
This one sounds crazy but there’s another scientific reason for this to work. The vinegar in the tomato sauce stops the chemical reaction from happening and the colour red in the sauce neutralises the green, as per the colour scale, to bring your hair back to its normal shade.

Lemon juice
The lemon juice works in a similar way to the tomato sauce, where the citric acid works to remove the hard metal stains, like copper from the hair. Simply squeeze lemon juice all over the affected area, let it sit for a few minutes then rinse, shampoo and condition as normal.

Professional shampoo
Finally, if all else fails or if you would rather not risk an “at-home” treatment you can always pop down to your local salon and ask about a professional shampoo product that will remove the green from your hair. If you are a regular swimmer and the green has built up a lot in your hair, there are specific shampoos created for swimmers to help remove the hard metal build up and chlorine damage in your hair.

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