Taking a dip in the pool can cool you down during summer but does swimming pool water remove hair dye?
Swimming pool water can remove hair dye because it contains chlorine. Most swimming pools have a high concentration of chlorine, which acts as a bleaching agent. In addition, sun exposure increases the efficiency of the dye removal process since UV rays can bleach hair.
Is Swimming Pool Water Safe For Hair Dye?
Swimming pool water is generally not safe for hair dye because it contains chlorine, a bleaching agent.
Swimming pool water can ruin hair dye in the following ways:
Turns hair green
Swimming pool water turns hair green because it contains both copper and chlorine.
The chlorine is added to disinfect the water, while the copper comes from well-water or copper-based algaecides used to treat the pool.
The chlorine causes the copper to rust. This oxidation reaction creates a copper compound that reacts and binds to the proteins in your hair, causing a greenish tint that affects the color of your hair, especially with lighter dyes.
The chlorine in swimming pool water draws out moisture from your strands, leaving your hair dry.
Your natural oils help to keep hair soft, manageable, and shiny, so chlorine interferes with your hair’s health. It also reduces the vibrancy of your hair color.
Swimming pool water increases hair porosity.
This means that the cuticle no longer forms a tight, protective layer. Instead, there are large gaps between the cuticles, so moisture and dye molecules are easily lost.
Colored hair is already weaker, but the chlorine in swimming pool water reacts badly with the dye in your hair, and this breaks down your hair’s structure.
Ultimately, swimming pool water isn’t safe for hair because once your hair is damaged, your hair’s color will no longer look fresh and vibrant.
Does Swimming Pool Water Remove Hair Dye?
Swimming pool water strips color from your hair. That’s because it contains chlorine, a chemical that oxidizes hair dye. When hair dye is oxidized, it can no longer bind to the hair properly.
When you color your hair, this damages your cuticle and makes your hair more porous.
Taking regular swims afterward means the pool water can saturate your hair easily and oxidize the hair dye.
In addition, the dye molecules are easier to wash off when you shampoo your hair.
The effect of pool water on hair mainly depends on the type of hair dye. Permanent hair dye penetrates the hair shaft and changes your hair color completely, meaning it’s harder to remove.
While swimming pool water can fade permanent hair dye, the results won’t compare to semi-permanent hair dye.
Semi-permanent hair dye attaches to the outer layer of your hair. It’s designed to wash off after 20 or so washes, and swimming frequently only speeds up the process.
The fading effect also depends on the strength of the chlorine in the swimming pool – a higher concentration means your hair will fade more quickly.
Spending more time in the sun will enhance the results because chlorine reacts when exposed to sunlight.
Sun exposure also naturally lightens your hair by destroying pigments.
The claim that swimming pool water removes hair dye is supported by one study that looked at hair discoloration in Japanese elite swimmers.
The study noted that the swimmers’ hair cuticles were extremely damaged, and this allowed chemicals in the swimming pool water to penetrate the hair cortex and oxidize the pigments inside.
How To Use Swimming Pool Water To Remove Hair Dye
Swimming pool water might not be the best way to remove hair dye, but it’s undoubtedly one of the easiest ways. Here’s what you need to do:
- Go swimming with your hair as is.
- Allow your hair to air dry in the sun.
- Rinse and repeat. The more time you spend in the water and the higher the concentration of chlorine, the faster the fading.
Tips for Using Swimming Pool Water to Remove Hair Dye
The bottom line is that swimming pool water isn’t good for colored hair.
However, if you want to fade your hair faster and more noticeably, you can do so by going against common advice for protecting your hair from swimming pool water.
Still, you need to be mindful of the damage swimming pool water can do to your hair during the fading process.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Skip the swimming cap
Swimming caps are designed to be water-tight to keep the pool water from coming into contact with your hair.
Skip the swimming pool cap whenever you take a dip to ensure your strands get more exposure to the chlorinated water.
Go in with dry hair
When you wet your hair before swimming, it means your strands are already saturated, so they won’t be able to absorb the pool water.
However, dry hair acts like a sponge and will absorb more of the pool water, so there’s a higher chlorine concentration in your hair to draw out more color.
Use clarifying shampoo
After giving the pool water enough time to do its magic, you can use a clarifying shampoo to keep your hair clean in-between swims.
Clarifying shampoo contains powerful detergents that can strip dye molecules from your hair. It also helps remove any green tints that may develop in your hair.
Make sure the clarifying shampoo isn’t labeled as color-safe.
Deep condition your hair
Pool water and clarifying shampoo can leave your hair extremely dry.
The problem is, using swimming pool water to remove hair dye happens over time, and this takes a toll on your tresses.
So it’s necessary to deep condition your hair with a rich oil like coconut or argan oil or a hair mask. This helps seal the cuticle and keep your hair moisturized.
Note that using a leave-in conditioner before entering the pool will prevent the water from removing the hair dye.
The conditioner coats your strands, so the chlorine doesn’t have a chance to affect the hair dye.
Let your hair air dry in the sun without shampooing
You can choose not to shampoo your hair post-swim. This gives the chlorine more time to remove the dye.
At the same time, exposing your hair to the sun will bleach your hair even more.
Take a swim sooner after coloring your hair
Typically, you’re told to wait at least three days or one week before taking a swim after dying your hair.
So the sooner you go swimming, the easier it is to remove the dye molecules. However, note that the color can run in the water if it hasn’t fully settled.
Also, remember, the key to removing hair dye using pool water is to go swimming often – don’t expect the color to fade significantly after one swim.
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Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she’s always happy to recommend you her favorites.