When summer rolls around and the weather starts to get unbearably hot, the temptation to take a refreshing dunk in the pool or beach will be overwhelming. Normally that’d be a great idea, but not if you have dyed your hair recently. You don’t want the dye to fade, leaving a trail of color behind you, would you?
Unfortunately, that is exactly what would happen if you go swimming with dyed hair. Whether you dyed it purple, red, blue, or green, it doesn’t matter; the chemicals present in chlorinated water can cause your dye to fade, and saltwater can also do the same. On top of that chlorine can damage your hair, and using chlorine removal shampoo can also cause your dyed hair to fade faster.
The best thing you can do for your dyed hair is to avoid going into the pool until at least 72 hours have passed. On top of that, you will need to use some color depositing shampoo and conditioner to ensure your dyed hair stays vibrant. Wearing a swim cap can limit the amount of water that your hair comes in contact with.
In this article, we will be going over why it’s generally not a good idea to swim with dyed hair if you have dyed it recently, and the steps you can take to protect your hair so that it can retain its multicolored luster after swimming.
Why is chlorine bad for dyed hair?
You know that chlorine is used in all pools, whether public or residential, to disinfect the bacteria in the water so that it’s safe to swim in. As beneficial as this is, it also comes with some downsides, one of which is that it will also cause your hair to fade.
Some additional downsides are that the chlorine will strip your hair of its natural protective layer of oil and cause it to dry out. It will also react with the ingredients contained in the hair dye because they are also chemicals.
Most of the time, chlorine will bleach hair. It is known for causing ginger or blonde streaks in your hair.
If you already have light hair, such as blonde colored hair, it’s also known to turn blonde hair green. Perhaps if you intended to dye your hair green, then you should just go swimming in a pool (don’t actually do that).
When chlorine dries out your hair, it will cause it to become brittle and fall off. Chlorine is also harsh on the skin, causing itchiness or general irritation. You might find that your scalp has become dry and itchy as well if you leave chlorine in your hair overnight.
Whether you are swimming with dyed hair or not, you need to take better care of your hair otherwise it will become brittle and weak!
Should you go swimming after dyeing your hair?
Hair dye, both permanent and semi-permanent, needs some time to penetrate the hair shaft and settle into the hair. Therefore, you should wait at least 48-72 hours (the more the better) after dyeing your hair with any type of dye before going swimming.
The reasons why you want to avoid water, particularly saltwater or chlorinated water, are simple:
- Dye pigments fade faster when exposed to saltwater, chlorinated water, or ultraviolet light.
- Swimming increases the frequency at which you wash your hair, speeding up the fading process. Special shampoos that remove chlorine will also remove dye from your hair.
In the case of a semi-permanent dye, you will find your hair color returning to normal in about half the time. So if you expect your dyed hair to last for 2-3 weeks, unfortunately your constant exposure to the water and subsequent shower afterwards will expose your hair to many chemicals that can remove the dye and the color may fade away within a week or so.
Should you swim with permanent hair dye?
Are you willing to test if your “permanent” hair dye truly lives up to its name? It’s true that they are more long-lasting than semi-permanent dyes, but if you have not given it at least a couple of days to settle in, it will fade just as quickly as semi-permanent dye.
Permanent dyes have such great longevity because they permeate to the cuticle of your hair. They are made with harsher chemicals and need some time to really settle in so that it can be “permanent”.
The chemicals found in permanent dye are so harsh that they can even cause some damage to your hair strands. You may find that some of your hair’s natural luster is lost, and it can be a little less vibrant after being exposed to these chemicals.
Unfortunately, these chemicals will react to the chlorine and could become even more dry and brittle. On top of that, if you have not waited long enough, the dye will fade before it has settled in.
Assuming you have let the dye settle in, you will still need to take care while swimming. You can do that by wearing a swim cap, using a color-depositing conditioner, applying natural oils to your hair, and using chlorine removal shampoo afterwards to ensure no chlorine is lingering in your hair after swimming.
This way, you will keep your hair moisturized while also preventing any potential damage that chlorine or saltwater can cause.
How to protect your dyed hair from chlorine and saltwater
We don’t recommend you go swimming so soon after dyeing your hair. Wait at least 2-3 days to be safe; the more the better. Even after that, you will still need to take some extra precautions to ensure your hair color doesn’t fade.
- Wear a swim cap. A swim cap is not going to keep your hair dry, but it can limit the amount of water that reaches your hair. By covering up your hair, you also protect it from the sun’s harsh UV rays and decrease the chances of entanglement if you have long hair.
- Wash with color-depositing shampoo. Normally I’d recommend chlorine removal shampoo, but for dyed hair, you will want color-depositing shampoo that matches your hair color. If you have dyed purple hair, then get a purple depositing shampoo. Read the instructions carefully; usually you will have to leave it in for at least 20 minutes, so this is probably not something you want to do at the public showers.
- Apply leave-in conditioner or natural oils to moisturize hair. Applying either one of these two will add a protective layer of oil around your hair which not only moisturizes it, but keeps the chlorine or salt separated from the pigments in your hair. Do this before you enter the water, and do it again after leaving the water. As for natural oils, a couple of popular ones are coconut oil and jojoba oil.
By following these tips, you can go swimming with dyed hair with the confidence that you are doing everything you can to protect your hair. Semi-permanent hair dye will still fade faster due to repeated washing, but hopefully we can limit the damage chlorine and salt does.
If you go swimming everyday, just make peace with the fact that you will probably have to dye your hair more often to keep it from fading.