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Now that it's officially warm weather season, it's pretty easy to understand why one of the first things that comes to mind when trying to beat the heat is taking a dip in the pool. But even though a swim is always refreshing, sometimes pool water can be more damaging to your hair than you think.
Meet Our Experts: George Papanikolas, Matrix celebrity colorist, Joe Cincotta, PhD, R&D director at Federici Brands
Post-swim, you might be inclined to reach for a clarifying shampoo, but you should steer clear. “A clarifying shampoo will exacerbate the dehydrating effects of chlorine and will not effectively remove the mineral deposits,” says Cincotta. A chelating shampoo is a better choice, as it will target hard-water minerals and chemicals, like chlorine. For regular use, the secret to keeping your summer hair healthy while splashing around? A hydrating shampoo, which will wash out the chlorine while restoring moisture.
Here, some expert-approved options for your next pool day.
How does chlorine affect different color hair?
Chlorine interacts with hair color differently depending on your shade. Once chlorine comes in contact with brown hair the color fades, leaving an underlying orange pigment. “Blonde hair absorbs the minerals and chemicals and can take on a greenish cast,” says Papanikolas. But it isn’t just color-treated hair that’s at risk. “Chlorine oxidizes the internal disulfide bonds in hair causing it to lose strength and elasticity, which leads to breakage,” says Joe Cincotta, PhD, R&D director at Federici Brands.
Can you protect against chlorine damage?
Yes, says Papanikolas. “Wet your hair with freshwater before you enter the pool so that it absorbs less chlorine,” he advises. Hair is like a sponge, so the more fresh water it absorbs ahead of time, the less likely it is to soak in the chemically-treated water.
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