How to Protect Your Hair With a Swim Cap While Swimming

How to Protect Your Hair With a Swim Cap While Swimming

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Swimming is a popular sport that has many health benefits, but there are risks to be aware of. Most public and private swimming pools contain chlorine, a chemical that kills harmful bacteria, which can cause damage to your hair. Thankfully, the benefits of a regular swimming regimen outweigh the potentially negative effects of chlorine. There are steps you can take to protect your hair with a few easy-to-find products and a swim cap. Just a few minutes of prevention can protect your hair from irreparable breakage and split ends.

Step 1

Wet your hair with clean, non-chlorinated water before entering the pool. Many pools have a rule requiring swimmers to shower before entering the pool anyway -- use this opportunity to thoroughly soak your hair. If your hair is already saturated, it is less able to absorb chlorinated pool water.

Step 2

Coat your hair with conditioner before putting your swim cap on. Apply a generous amount of nourishing conditioner to your hair and comb it all the way through to ensure all strands and ends are coated but not so slippery that your cap will slip off. Conditioner will repel water making it less able to soak into the sealed hair shaft.

Step 3

Put your swim cap on properly to avoid water seeping in. Hold the sides of the cap while puling it over your forehead leaving long hair hanging out the back. When the cap is in place and halfway on your head, twist the long hair and tuck it under your swim cap as evenly as possible. Push as many stray hairs as you can find under the cap. Do not put your long hair into a bun or ponytail ahead of time -- this will cause a bump that will prevent the cap from sealing around the face, potentially allowing water to seep in. Wear a cap that is snug enough to stay on while swimming but not so tight that you get a headache.

Step 4

Shampoo and condition your hair and rinse your swim cap in clean water after you're finished swimming for the day. To prolong the life of your swim cap, dry it before storing it and don't let it stay outside in the direct sunlight for too long. Repeated stretching and exposure to sun and pool chemicals can damage swim caps. If you notice tears in your cap, replace it immediately.


  • You don't have to pay a lot of money for swim caps. Some swimmer supply shops sell seconds -- caps with old swim team logos or misprints -- at a discounted price. Stock up on these when you find them and always keep a spare in your swim bag.
  • A propery fitting swim cap can also protect your eyes from chlorine. A snug swim cap should secure your goggles, which are important for keeping pool water out of your eyes while you swim.


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