Simple Ways to Swim With Long Hair (Without Tangling It!)

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Whether it’s in a pool or the sea, swimming is the most fun activity to combat the summer heat. Unfortunately, the aftermath of swimming can be an unpleasant experience for hair, particularly when it’s long.

Every swimmer knows the struggle of maintaining their hair after taking a dip. This is because swimming will sometimes damage hair, leaving it dry, matted, and prone to breakage.

That doesn’t mean you have to skip out on a splash just to protect your hair. You only need to know how to swim with long hair and how to care for your hair after a swim.

So, read on to know everything regarding essential hair care during, and after, taking a dip in the water.

How to Swim With Long Hair

Swimming can be one of the most damaging summer activities for your hair. Because most pools contain a lot of chemicals, specifically chlorine, regular exposure can wreak havoc on even the most beautiful locks of hair.

These chemicals are present in most pools because they disinfect the water and kill any bacteria. With this in mind, you can imagine how harsh those chemicals are on your hair!

Even if you substitute a swim in the pool for a swim in the sea, your hair will still take some damage. This is because seawater is incredibly salty and might even lead to permanent hair loss on rare occasion.

Generally, prolonged exposure to either seawater or pool water strips out all the natural oils from your hair. Not only that, but if your hair is bleached, pool water might completely change your hair color.

Hair damage might not be a big problem for casual swimmers who only take a dip every once in a while. Still, it can be a pain for anyone with long hair, particularly those trying to grow out their hair.

How to Protect Long Hair While Swimming

While swimming isn’t a major problem for people with short hair, anyone with long hair must take extra care to protect their hair in the pool.

Here are some tips that will help you protect your hair while still enjoying the water:

1 – Apply a Barrier Beforehand

The best remedy is prevention. So, to avoid hair damage, you’ll need to prevent your hair from absorbing any chlorine or salt water.

The simplest way to do that is by applying a barrier on your hair, which will act as a protective layer between your hair and the water.

Essentially, you can use almost anything as a barrier. In addition to natural oils and deep conditioners, there are also a variety of swim sprays, which you can either purchase or DIY!

2 – Rinse Your Hair

Rinsing your hair before entering a pool is a well-known pool etiquette practice. This is because showering removes any dirt or oil on your body that might contaminate the pool, as well as other swimmers.

In addition, soaking your hair in clear tap water before taking a dip can greatly protect it. This way, your hair will absorb all the clean water, leaving little space for chlorine or salt water to be absorbed.

3 – Immediately Use a Shampoo for Chlorine Damage

If you want to avoid hair damage, it’s crucial to wash your hair immediately after swimming. This way, you’ll minimize the amount of chlorine and salt your hair absorbs.

Furthermore, it’s best if you use a special shampoo for chlorine damage. These clarifying shampoos remove every last bit of chlorine from your hair and provide extra moisture.

4 – Use Hair SPF

Chlorine and salt aren’t the only factors that can damage your hair during swimming. You should also pay special attention to the blazing sun.

While it’s known that we mustn’t forget to use SPF daily, protecting the hair and scalp from sun damage is often overlooked.

That said, you can’t just use any sunscreen on your hair and scalp. Make sure to use an SPF for your scalp as well as one for your hair.

5 – Avoid Pools 

If you have colored or bleached hair, it’s best to avoid chlorinated pools altogether. This is because bleached hair often turns green when exposed to chlorine, specifically blonde hair. Nevertheless, any chemically colored hair is prone to chlorine damage.

Thankfully, there are several ways you can get rid of the green swimmer’s hair. However, in our opinion, prevention is always better.

How to Keep Long Hair from Tangling While Swimming

Swimming can directly damage your hair due to the high amount of chlorine and salt, but a lot of the damage comes after swimming.

For one thing, many people with long hair find it incredibly hard to brush their hair after a swim. So, the hair becomes a matted, tangled mess.

In addition to the painful detangling process, your hair is incredibly fragile and prone to breakage after swimming. So, detangling your hair might cause further breakage and split ends.

Fortunately, you can keep your hair from tangling during swimming by using any of the following tips:

1 – Brush Your Hair Thoroughly

Before heading to the pool, you should make sure your hair is thoroughly brushed and free from any tangles or knots.

That’s because if your hair is already tangled before getting in the water, it’ll surely turn matted by the end of your swim. 

However, you shouldn’t brush your hair immediately after your swim!

2 – Rinse Your Hair Before Detangling

It might come as a surprise, but you shouldn’t be reaching for your brush after swimming. In fact, you shouldn’t take down your hair, remove your hair tie, or even touch it for that matter.

The chlorine and salt that your hair has absorbed make it unbelievably dry and brittle. Therefore, you should rinse off all the chemicals first before attempting to brush your hair.

This also includes taking your hair out of a bun or a braid. The more you play with your hair before rinsing it, the more it’ll tangle. That’s why you should rinse your hair first, then take down your hair-do.

3 – Wear a Swimming Cap

Swimming caps are great for a variety of reasons. First, they help you swim faster and keep your hair out of your face. Second, they greatly protect your hair, whether it’s long or short.

While swimming caps aren’t designed to fully keep your hair dry, they can reduce the amount of water that seeps into your hair. This will limit your hair from soaking in as much harsh water, thus preventing tangles.

What’s more, swimming caps can shield your hair from UV rays, which can be damaging to your hair.

It’s best to use swim caps made of latex or silicone. Contrarily, you should avoid swim caps made of lycra as those aren’t as protective and might tangle your hair even more.

Swim caps come in various sizes, so if you have long hair it may be best to opt for a larger size cap.

If you’re trying to keep your hair as dry as possible, consider wearing two caps. Also, placing your hair into a tight bun before placing the cap on can help limit the amount that your hair gets wet.

4 – Tie Your Hair While Swimming

It’s crucial to tie your hair during a swim. This way, your hair will be out of your face so you can enjoy a smooth swim.

Not only that but even if you’re a casual swimmer, tying your hair up will keep it from tangling. This will also offer much-needed protection, especially in the absence of a swim cap.

How to Tie Long Hair for Swimming

Now that you know how crucial it is to tie your hair while swimming. Here are some protective yet stylish hairstyles to sport during your swim:

1 – Ponytail

The most simple one of all is the ponytail. While this hairstyle is the least protective since it leaves most of your hair loose, it’s the easiest. After all, tying your hair in any way is better than leaving it loose.

Ponytails are incredibly versatile. They fit all hair lengths and can be worn high, low, or even half-up. So, anyone can find a ponytail style that suits them.

2 – Braids

Braids are great for the summer. You have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to braids. You can go for simple braids, fishtails, or even box braids.

What’s important is that if you decide to go with braids, make sure they’re tight. The last thing you want is for your braids to come undone while swimming and your hair to become knotted.

3 – Bun

By putting your hair in a tight bun, you’re ensuring it doesn’t move at all during your swim. This is why it’s by far the most protective hairstyle. 

While many people find buns to be a boring hairstyle, you can still stylishly sport a bun. Instead of a plain bun, you can add braids, bangs, or even fun hair accessories!

Final Takeaway

While fun, swimming can be an incredibly damaging activity for hair. This is due to the presence of many harsh chemicals in pools. Moreover, swimming in the sea exposes your hair to high salt content and direct sunlight, which can burn your hair.

Those with long hair may have an even larger challenge than most in keeping their hair protected while swimming. It’s important to know the best ways to swim with long hair along with the proper aftercare. This includes using UV protection and to tie your hair before swimming.

Now that you know how to combat all of the damage your hair might take from pools and beaches, you can enjoy the most fun, cooling activity in the summer completely carefree!

If you’re looking for other fun tips in the water, check out these unique ways on how to dry your swimsuit fast!

Happy (tangle-free) Swimming!

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