Summer may be winding down, but in some parts of the world, there’s still have plenty of pool time and sunshine on the horizon (shout out to the LA heat💁🏽♀️). Normally, I’d welcome the extra H2O time, but am sorry to report that my curls may not quite feel the same. That’s why I turned to mane master, celebrity stylist, educator and brand founder Vernon François for tips on how to properly protect your curls from excessive chlorine damage. Scroll through below for his top tips on protecting curls while in the pool.
1. Drench your hair with shower water first.
You’ll want to saturate your hair with clean water prior to hopping in the pool to limit the amount of pool water absorbed by your strands. “Strands absorb water like a sponge and are most fragile when wet,” Vernon shares. “Some individuals find that chlorine has a drying effect on their hair and can dull its vibrancy.”
2. Protect your locks with natural oil.
Vernon recommends olive oil because it repels water. Run it through your strands from the ends upward with your fingertips and then braid or tie your hair up before entering the pool.
3. Alternatively, you can apply a water-based conditioner on to dry hair before taking a dip.
A water-based conditioner will help your strands stay hydrated during your swim. Vernon recommends working in your water-based conditioner in sections from the ends of the hair all the way up to the roots. One of his favorites? Vernon François® Haircaire’s CURL~ Conditioner ($18.00). He even uses it to prepare his daughter’s own hair before a swim. Check out how he fully prepares her locks below!
4. After getting out of the pool, rinse your hair right away to help wash away the chlorine.
Take a shower ASAP after getting out of the pool so chlorine doesn’t sit on your strands. Vernon recommends cleansing with a sulfate-free shampoo (ideally one containing natural oils). They’re less drying and will help to preserve moisture.
5. If you want to keep your locks out of the water altogether, try a swim cap.
“A swim cap is an excellent way to protect hair, ideally one made of silicone to minimize pulling on strands — especially around the hairline where hair can be fine and fragile,” he says. For those with thick curls, he recommends the brand Soul Cap because it has a range of silicone swimming caps designed for individuals with a full head of hair.
For more info on what exactly chlorine does to your hair, check out THIS breakdown from hair industry experts.