Swimmers Hair, The Facts

From Dr. Andrew Chadeayne, Inventor of SwimSpay:

Green Hair, Swimmer’s Hair, Swimmer’s Hair Care, and Swimmer’s Shampoo —

Swimmer’s Hair – According to the Urban Dictionary, Swimmer’s Hair is “Extremely dry and damaged hair due to continuous exposure to chlorine and extended hours in the pool. Sometimes even green because of the chlorine.”

The term “swimmer’s hair” is often used to describe any bad effect on hair that happens after swimming.  Unfortunately that usage can be confusing because it combines several different chemical effects.

The dry, damaged, brittle, bleached, “dead” feeling is caused by chlorine reacting with the hair.  Pool chlorine is the same thing as bleach (think Clorox), so you should expect similar effects.  Notably the pool chlorine is less concentrated, so the bleaching isn’t as fast or dramatic.  Nevertheless, you should note the similarities in smell and effect – you smell like bleach and your hair gets lighter.  That’s because you pool chlorine is bleaching your hair.

The green hair color comes from copper depositing in your hair.  When pool water contains copper, that copper can become oxidized by the pool chlorine to make copper (II) chloride dihydrate, which sticks to your hair and makes it green.  Take a look at the photo of this chemical isolated in a vial — note the color similarity between this chemical and swimmer’s hair, i.e,. green hair.

Fortunately both the damage and the green color can be mitigated by preventing chlorine’s oxidizing effects.  The best way to prevent chlorine’s oxidizing effects is to apply a concentrated antioxidant in the shower when you are done swimming.  Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) is a great antioxidant.  Here’s how to get chlorine out of your hair. See also SwimSpray’s video instructions.

The Best Swimmers Shampoo

Swimmers’ Shampoo

Note: you do NOT need a “swimmer’s shampoo.”  Those shampoos are full of ingredients for lathering, color, fragrance, etc.. But they fail to provide enough of the ingredient that you need: a powerful antioxidant. 

This is why we invented SwimSprayOther “swimmer’s shampoos” do not work.  As surprising as it sounds, all swimmers shampoos fail to provide enough of the ingredient that you need.  SwimSpray is the first product to provide you with a concentrated, pH-balanced solution of vitamin C in purified water.  It provides a concentrated blast of exactly what you need (vitamin C) and nothing that you don’t (all those other ingredients).  It works. You will notice the difference the very first time you use it because you won’t smell like chlorine.

About SwimSpray: SwimSpray was invented by Dr. Andrew Chadeayne, a former Princeton University swimmer and chemistry Ph.D. from Cornell University. Tired of smelling like chlorine after his swimming workouts, Andrew set out remove chlorine from hair and skin ( SwimSpray works where so many other chlorine-removal products (e.g., SwimSpray Postcardswimmers’ shampoos) have failed previously because SwimSpray’s all-natural vitamin C based formula breaks this bond, neutralizing the chlorine, and allowing it to be washed away with your favorite soap or shampoo. Follow him on Twitter @swimspray and fan him Facebook.

SwimSpray is a SwimSwam ad partner. 

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Jasmine honn
5 years ago

I have a question. What about going swimming then bleaching my hair will it turn green, fry, or fall out? I know it’s still unhealthy but just curious.

Helene Kabay
5 years ago

I am an avid swimmer and have ‘salt & pepper’ hair, although the grey is now becoming prevalent. I have been using either store bought shampoo and occasionally, special and expensive ‘swimmer’s shampoo’ bought at a salon. Neither are really effective as my hair is dry and lifeless. I have a habit of putting Shea oil after shampooing which brings the shine and texture back into my hair but unfortunately, this doesn’t last very long. I am toying with the idea of getting silver shampoo to highlight the grey in my hair but am worried there will be an interaction between this and the chlorine. Am I right? also where can I purchase your Vitamin C product?

Sherry jones
5 years ago

I also need some advice. My hair is absolutely fried. I have had a pool for the past 30 years, and have never ever had this happen.

Grant Ding
Reply to  Sherry jones
3 years ago

I am a current swimmer, and I spend about 14 hours in the pool each week. Product that I recommend are (obviously) Swimspray for before you bathe after swimming, and then the L’Oreal Total Repair conditioner, and Living Proof restoring spray (nude/raspberry bottle, an 8 oz. bottle is $28). After you wash, dry your hair until it’s barely damp, then spray enough to saturate your hair and dampen it. Then let it sit in your hair and dry off for about three minutes and blow dry your hair on the warm/low heat setting. The living proof spray is magic, the first time you use it, it leaves your hair really soft and less brittle, if you use it every day… Read more »

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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