sunita v summer curly swimming hair

Photo courtesy of Sunita V

Swimming is a great way to exercise and cool off from the hot temperatures, but you don't want it to jeopardize your hair health. Since chlorine from the pool is damaging to textured hair, it is important to care for your hair before swimming. Taking the time to care for your curls before getting in the pool will not only prevent damage and breakage, but it will also make your wash day a lot easier.

Here are some tips to prevent a wash day disaster before swimming.

Detangle first

Before you swim, be sure to prep your curls. Thoroughly detangle your hair with conditioner. You can use a budget-friendly conditioner that has lots of slip.

Don't rinse the conditioner out

After detangling, leave the conditioner on your hair. Applying a generous amount of conditioner will reduce how much chlorine your hair absorbs, and because of this you may want to invest in an inexpensive conditioner. If you prefer not to use conditioner, you can detangle with hair oil.

Check out some of our budget-friendly favorites from the drugstore!

Twist or braid your hair

After detangling your curls, twist or braid them.  Don’t worry about your hair looking polished. The purpose of twisting your hair is to prevent matting while you swim. If you can secure your twists or braids in a ponytail, that’s even better. 

Cleanse after swimming

Washing your curls right after swimming is necessary. When chlorine is left in your hair, it can cause breakage and damage. Shampooing your curls with a clarifying and moisturizing shampoo will gently yet thoroughly remove the chlorine. Cleansing your hair should be easier thanks to detangling and moisturizing your curls before your swim session. You will notice that your hair does not feel brittle from chlorine or even sun exposure.

Deep condition

Follow up with a deep conditioner. I suggest applying heat while you deep condition by using a hooded dryer, heated cap, or body heat (plastic cap and beanie hat). Rinse, apply a moisturizer or leave-in conditioner, and style.

Regardless of whether you decide to wash and go or do a braid out, make sure to apply and seal moisture for your hair. Now you can enjoy swimming without spending hours repairing your curls from the aftermath. The key is to keep them detangled and coat your curls with moisture so the pool water doesn't get to chance to strip your healthy hair.

Do you have tips and tricks for preventing wash day disasters before swimming? Share with the curly community below!

This article was originally published in 2016 and was updated in 2018 to reflect new product recommendations.