Whether or not you believe blondes have more fun (personally, we’re of the mindset that all gorgeous hair colors have fun), one thing is for sure - come swim season, blonde hair is more likely to adopt an unwelcome greenish tint. With rainbow-hued hair being trendy these days, you could tell people that you did it on purpose. But if you’d rather skip the tinge, we’ve got some tips on how to avoid green highlights, and keep your hair looking shiny and healthy all summer long.
Why does hair turn green in swimming pools?
Although chlorine often gets the blame for turning hair green after swimming, it’s actually copper and other hard metals that do the dirty work; chlorine is just along for the ride. Copper and metals like iron and manganese are present in a lot of our water, including tap water and well water. When chlorine is introduced to pool water as a cleaning agent, it oxidizes the hard metals found in the water. Hair, being naturally porous—that’s how we’re able to color our hair, after all—catches the oxidized metals and turns a greenish tint. Why green? Think about the cast of the Statue of Liberty...our lady of liberty was sculpted in copper, and these hard metals turn green when they are oxidized. While this patina might be appreciated on a statue or weathervane, it’s probably not something you want for your hair.
Why does only blonde hair turn green?
Put simply, blonde hair is more susceptible to discoloration because of its light hue, and of course lightening hair can add to the porosity, making it even more susceptible. Brown, black, and red hair is just as exposed to copper and chlorine in pools, but they just don’t show the tint as obviously as blondes. But no matter what your hair color is, if you have highlights in your hair, those lightened strands can be affected, so it’s important to take the same precaution as blondes when it comes to swimming.
How can green hair be avoided?
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to avoid green hair. If you own your own swimming pool, be sure to use a copper-free algaecide, and look into attaching a filter to your hose that prevents metals in the water from entering the pool. Without the metals in the water, chlorine has nothing to oxidize, and will leave your hair free from those bonds.
If you don’t own a pool but you swim quite a bit, take preventative steps with your hair. Before swimming, thoroughly apply a leave-in conditioner (you can even use apple cider vinegar on wet hair!), and rinse hair out between dips. Once you’re done swimming for the day, do a thorough wash and condition to help eliminate build up from the chlorine-oxidized copper. We love our Color Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner because they are gentle enough to use daily, and packed with nourishing ingredients like argan oil. They also protect from UV damage, another side effect of hanging poolside.