When you go to have a dip in the pool or love the mantra “salt on my hair,” but then after you take a shower, your hair doesn’t feel as soft as it was. As much as you like swimming as a summer activity, chlorine and salt water can cause damage to your hair as well, especially if you are swimming under the sun.
Having curly hair means your hair doesn’t need that much styling. However, it is also prone to damage. The way curly hair is structured makes the natural oils from the roots difficult to travel to the ends. Hence, additional moisture and extra care are needed to maintain healthy curly hair. Find out how you can take care of your hair after swimming.
Prep: Before swimming
Just like skin, hair is also absorbent of liquid. If your hair is dry and it makes contact with the pool or the saltwater, your hair will absorb much of that content. Hair absorbing chlorine water will strip your hair of its moisture. Saltwater, on the other hand, is not that damaging if you do not let it dry on your hair.
Take a shower with fresh or tap water first before heading in for a swim. In this way, your hair would be absorbing less of the chlorine.
Step 1: Washing Method
Choose a shampoo that will not strip your hair of its natural oils. Choose a shampoo without silicones and parabens. And check the back of your shampoo bottle. If one of the first 5 ingredients has sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, these ingredients are commonly found in most supermarket shampoos. These ingredients are not entirely bad. They are what makes the shampoo have a richer lather that leaves your scalp feeling squeaky clean.
This can be used if you are just using it if your hair needs to be cleaned thoroughly. However, due to its strength in cleansing the scalp, it can strip the hair of its natural oils, which are essential for the health of the hair, especially for curly hair.
In washing, make sure to only wash your scalp and not travel down to the tip. First, take a small amount of shampoo that will wash only the back of your head. Lather that shampoo on the palm of your hand, then lather it on the back of your head first, then work your way to the middle. After that, with the same amount of shampoo, do the same step to the top of your head. Then rinse thoroughly.
Step 2: Conditioning
Look for a conditioner that contains coconut oil and argan oil. These oils are beneficial for bringing back the moisture that your hair has lost. It is important to not include your scalp, as it builds more moisture than the tips of your hair, where moisture has difficulty traveling down those areas.
Part your hair into two. In this way, the conditioner can be easily distributed rather than applying the whole amount to only one side and spreading it throughout the hair. Apply the appropriate amount of the conditioner that is appropriate depending on how much and how long your hair is. Apply it to the tips first, and work your way to the upper middle. Do the same to the next side of your hair, and let it sit for 3 or 5 minutes. You can either massage your hair while waiting or you can just leave it until the timer is up. Then rinse. Do not let the conditioner be rinsed out.
Step 3: Hydrate
Aloe vera has proven to be an after treatment for swimming, may that soothe the skin for sunburn, or as aftercare. This can also be used as a pre-care for your hair. For skin, aloe vera gel is the common product you would see. For hair, you would look for an aloe vera spray.
After you get out of the shower, instead of using your towel to dry your hair, use your t-shirt instead. Cover your head with an aloe vera spray. Make sure that your hair is not dripping wet before you spritz.
Step 4: Style
Before your hair is completely dry, comb your hair using a wide-tooth comb. Starting from the ends of your hair and working your way up to the roots, in this way you are preserving the natural pattern of your hair as well as preventing breakage.
From here, you can use hair oils or a curl-defining cream. Part your hair into two and apply your chosen oil or cream, using a small amount at the tip of your finger up to the upper-middle. After the product is well applied, scrunch your hair up so that if it dries up, the curls will appear healthier. Do the same on the other side.