Swimming is a refreshing and enjoyable activity that allows you to stay active and cool off during the summer months. However, for those with natural hair, swimming can sometimes present unique challenges. Chlorine, salt water, and excessive moisture can cause damage and dryness to natural hair, leading to frizz, breakage, and tangling.
It is springtime in NYC and even though the weather doesn’t really feel like it, pretty soon it’ll be time for beach trips and pool parties. I loved these activities when I was younger and enjoy the beach and pool even more after learning to swim. I absolutely LOVE the water now and being afraid to mess up my blowout is not an excuse anymore.
To ensure your natural hair stays healthy and beautiful while swimming, here are some essential tips for swimming with natural hair. These tips will help you maintain your hair’s integrity and embrace your natural curls in the water.
1. Wet Your Hair First
Before swimming with natural hair, let it absorb the water in the shower or bath before jumping into the pool. Your hair is like a sponge, but due to porosity, some may absorb the water more than others. When your hair is wet before swimming, it allows less chlorine to get into your hair since it is already wet.
If you’re not familiar with a pre-poo, it is a process that makes hair more manageable when washing. Just like using the LOC method in a standard regimen, using oil to pre-poo before swimming helps “lock in” the moisture our hair needs giving chlorine and sea water a disadvantage of damaging the hair.
3. Coat with a Conditioner
Use a cheap conditioner, preferably something with a good slip to coat your strands so it’s easier to wash and detangle after swimming.
4. Protective Style
Protective styling isn’t necessary, but putting your hair in a bun, braids or twists before swimming with natural hair helps keep it out of your face. If you have medium to long length hair, protective styles make it easier to put hair in a swim cap.
5. Wear a Swim Cap
Much like protective styling, swim caps aren’t necessary, especially if you’re using a personal pool or are at the beach. If you’re learning to swim or using a gym or recreation center pool, swim caps are mandatory. Contrary to popular belief, swim caps aren’t used to keep your hair dry; it prevents hair from adding more “drag” during professional swimming and keeps hair out of your face and goggles. Using a swim cap also limits the mixture of oils and conditioners in our hair from contaminating the water. Since rejoining the rec center, I’ve been reaching for my a large swim cap. It covers my whole head and there is less pulling on my hair strands.
After Swimming with Natural Hair…
6. Wash and Detangle
After swimming, rinse your hair thoroughly to remove the chlorine, oil, and conditioners used before swimming. You can cowash, deep condition or use a clarifying shampoo to cleanse your hair before styling.
Swimming with natural hair doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By following these tips, you can maintain the health and beauty of your natural hair while enjoying the water. Remember to prepare your hair beforehand, wear a swim cap, rinse and clarify afterward, moisturize and seal,
What are your tips for swimming with natural hair?