If I could count the number of times I’ve heard my friends say that they don’t like to go swimming regularly because of their hair I’d be a billionaire. Having relaxed hair should not be a reason for not swimming. Swimming is an excellent exercise that works your whole body out whilst being very easy on your joints at the same time. It is by far safer than running in the park, and burns just as many calories without the risk of injury that comes with running.
So how are women with relaxed hair meant to look after their hair if they would like to go swimming say several times a week?
First things first, get yourself a swimming hat. It will NOT keep your hair dry while you swim, because that is not the reason they were created. They were invented to keep your hair out of your face while you swim. In the case of women with relaxed hair, it will keep your hair out of your face and secure it in place so your hair doesn’t snag and break.
Secondly, before wearing your newly acquired swim cap, prepare your hair. This will involve applying a conditioner to your hair so that it can not absorb the chlorinated water from the pool. Chlorine is damaging to all hair types, regardless of your texture. Its drying and causes the hair to become hard and stiff which makes it break off at the slightest provocation. An alternative to using a conditioner is applying an oil to your hair.
After swimming, simply rinse your hair. Place your hair in a bun or loose cornrows or plats after applying your oil or conditioner. Place your swim cap over your bun or plats while swimming and after swimming rinse your hair with your bun or plats in place. This will reduce manipulation on your hair while it is in a weak and fragile state. Reducing the risk of breakage.
Try to leave your hair to air dry. The idea here is to find a way to care for your hair so you can keep it healthy while enjoying your swimming. There are specialty shampoos made to remove chlorine from the hair, however they are very harsh and should not be used frequently. They are very stripping and drying and may end up irritating your scalp if they are used regularly.
The conditioner or oil applied to your hair before swimming can be treated as a co wash and therefore you shouldn’t have to shampoo your hair every time you swim. Infact this means you should increase the amount of time between your regular shampoos.
For example if you normally wash your hair once a week but have now started going swimming three times a week, simply stretch your shampoo to once every two weeks. When your hair is shampooed that irregularly, a chlorine shampoo can be used on shampoo days, which will now be fortnightly. However often you choose to wash your hair, ensure you use the chlorine shampoo to wash your hair once a month. Think of it as a clarifying shampoo that removes all the build up that has accumulated on your hair and scalp.
Always follow a stripping wash with a deep conditioning treatment to replace lost moisture in your hair and strengthen your hair, all in one fell swoop.