What Does Chlorine Do To Your Hair?

Written by Anjali Sayee

If you are an avid swimmer, you must also be familiar with the distinct smell of chlorine. Chlorine is added to swimming pool waters to kill bacteria and keep swimmers safe from infections. But how does it affect your hair? In this post, we discuss the effects of chlorine on hair and what you can do to prevent them. Take a look.

What Does Chlorine Do To Your Hair?

Chlorine sucks all the natural oils from your hair. It leaves your hair feeling dry, rough, and damaged. We are aware that our hair needs natural oils to remain healthy and shiny. But chlorine may make hair brittle and dry as it strips your hair of these natural oils. It also may lead to split ends.

Chlorine may also lead to a change in hair color. But does it turn your hair green?

Does Chlorine Turn Your Hair Green?

Swimmers usually observe their hair turning green after swimming. However, chlorine is not directly responsible for this effect. This change in hair color is caused by copper that has been oxidized by chlorine. Chlorine contains oxidized copper that is absorbed by your hair while you swim, eventually turning your hair green.

But you sure can protect your hair while swimming from the ill effects of chlorine. We have highlighted a few techniques in the following section.

How To Protect Your Hair From Chlorine Damage?

1. Wet Your Hair First

Wetting your hair before going into the pool can keep it from absorbing the water containing chlorine or other damaging salts.

2. Wear A Swim Cap

Keeping your hair from getting wet altogether can help. Wear a swim cap to ensure your hair does not come in contact with the chlorinated water.

3. Use A Leave-In Conditioner

A leave-in conditioner in your hair can prevent the absorption of chlorine in the water. Apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair before going for a swim. You can also put on a cap after applying the leave-in conditioner. This will keep your hair from chlorine damage, and will also moisturize your hair.

4. Apply Oil

Oil is hydrophobic and repels water. Applying oil (like coconut oil) to your hair can help repel the chlorinated water and potentially prevent hair damage.

It is important to understand that these are not fool-proof methods. Your hair may still get in contact with chlorinated water despite your best efforts. Well, what should you do then?

How Do You Get Chlorine Out Of Your Hair?

1. Wash Your Hair Immediately

Washing your hair immediately after swimming reduces any possible damage due to chlorine. You may wash your hair with specific shampoos meant for removing chlorine from hair.

2. Comb Your Hair

Brush/comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb after washing your hair. However, ensure you do not comb through wet hair (as it can cause breakage). A wide-toothed comb can gently help untangle your hair.

3. Clarify Your Hair

Hair clarifying products help remove the harsh chemicals from your hair. You may use a clarifying shampoo to wash your hair right after you are out of the pool. You may also use an apple cider vinegar rinse.


Your hair is prone to chlorine damage even if you go swimming just once a week or a month. But you do not have to let chlorine keep you out of the pool. With the right precautions pre- and post-swimming, you sure can have an enjoyable swimming experience every time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it bad to leave chlorine in your hair overnight?

Yes, leaving chlorine in your hair overnight is a bad idea. It may cause irreparable damage to your hair. Chlorine can dry your scalp out and strip it of the natural oils. This can eventually lead to split ends and hair loss.

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Anjali Sayee is a writer and an introvert. From studying Aeronautical Engineering and wanting to design her own airplane to writing articles on hairstyles, she has been on quite a journey. She believes that hair is one of the key factors that define a woman’s personality. To quote her, “What’s the first thing they do in the movies to show a personality change? Change the hair – because it has a life of its own.” She’s here to help you find the hairstyle you need. This bookworm is a self-professed Wholocker, a talented drummer, and an amateur photographer.