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Swim Confidently with Curls: Protective Hair Remedies for Swimming

Swim Confidently with Curls: Protective Hair Remedies for Swimming

Summer is literally right around the corner and we know that with warm temperatures comes an increase in water-centric activities. Whether you plan on heading to the beach, intend to hit up a bunch of pool parties, or are a prankster who loves a good water balloon fight, cooling off from the summer sun is one of life's simple pleasures that no one should be deprived of, and yet many women opt to not partake in the summer fun.

I can't tell you how many pool parties I've attended where I witnessed tons of confidant, beautiful bathing suit-clad women, all dancing around the pool, but never actually getting in the water. Most will spend the duration of the party completely avoiding the pool's perimeter all together, and those who dare to go in making it clear it will only be ankle-deep, under a pretense almost bordering on a desperate plea, to not get splashed under any circumstances. From friends to relatives, I've heard all women make this demand. I can even vividly recall being a kid, and hearing the voice of my mother shout after me as I darted to the pool, "Just DO NOT get your HAIR WET! I do not have the energy to detangle a curl labyrinth later!"

We, women, are strong by natural design. Each day we get up early to primp and prep, ensuring we look flawlessly gorgeous as we go about our regular routines of juggling being professional stars at work, raising the next generation of leaders, and regularly cooking impressive dinner spreads for the whole family, all without thinking anything of it or breaking a sweat. We are accustomed to conquering all obstacles and overcoming any level of adversity, but threaten a good hair day? That's an anxiety-inducing deal breaker.

Sure, everyone wants to fully partake and enjoy summer's festivities, but year after year we sit on the sidelines, choosing to miss out on the fun in order to protect the beautiful product of our extensive and expensive beauty regimens and maintain the fruits of our labor. The effects chemical compounds existing in water, like chlorine and even natural salts of the ocean, admittedly can be rough on curly hair's texture and health because of the manner these elements excessively dry hair out. One quick dip can instantly erase hours of personal maintenance and styling by damaging hair, and there is nothing attractive about a head full of dry, matted curls, after freshly exiting the water. You can wear a swimming cap, but we all know that's not a good look and no one wants to be that girl at the pool party; last time that old school style was considered a cute alternative, people also wore full-body long johns to go swimming.

But our hair shouldn't prevent us from missing out on all the water-filled fun! Here is a list of techniques you can use to ensure that chlorine and salt don't strip your luscious locks of its moisture, preserving your hair's luminous quality, allowing you really turn up the beachside or poolside this summer!

Before Swimming
  • Rinse hair in normal tap water, to protect hair from harsh chemical elements. Wetting the hair with regular water before swimming allows the water to absorb into the hair, beating the chlorine of the swimming pool or salt of the ocean to the punch.
  • When you pre-wet your hair, also coat curls in Shea Butter before going into the water, NOT a conditioner. Conditioners are designed to rinse away, so the moment you soak your water in the ocean or pool, it will wash out and deactivating some of the protective properties. Shea Butter is actually much heavier, and this solidified oil creates a protective barrier against chlorine. It's not as easy to wash out like conditioner is, so it's stronger in preventing chemicals stripping hair of its moisture.
  • Try coating hair with coconut oil the night before coming in contact with water. Coconut oil is absorbed by hair, preventing it from swelling excessively when wet.
  • Put hair in Protective Style before getting in water, such as twists, or braids, or a bun. This will decrease the potential for tangles, which are not only painful, but the process of combing out could also potentially result in a lot of hair breakage.

After Swimming

  • Undo the protective hairstyle of your choice and thoroughly rinse hair in super cold tap water- the coldest temperature you can tolerate. Whereas hot water actually activates chemical's molecules (chlorine in particular), cold water is most effective in removing chemical compounds from the hair and body.
  • Rinse hair with Club Soda directly after swimming. Though this probably sounds as bizarre as actually wearing those 1920s old school long johns suits to the beach in 2014, it is actually quite beneficial for protecting hair from damage. The carbonation in Club Soda is actually breaking apart any chemically imposed impurities caused by swimming. This will prevent the damaging properties of water from causing any further damage.
  • As soon as you are able, shampoo hair with a clarifying shampoo, followed by a hearty dose of deep conditioning. Curl experts recommend Miss Jessie's Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo, which is excellent for easily detangling, moisturizing, and removing all salt and chlorine from your hair. Follow this up by deep conditioning with Miss Jessie's Rapid Recovery, to repair any brittleness and prevent breakage. This will eliminate all build up deposits leftover from your watery adventures, restoring natural shine and giving your hair a fresh start.