Blonde hair is prone to turning green after being in contact with pool water. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this. But if your golden locks already have a grassy tint, here’s how to get green out of blonde hair and keep it that way in the future.
The trick to removing green from blonde hair is to treat your hair with a chelating shampoo or home remedies like apple cider vinegar, ketchup, and lemon juice. These are excellent chelating substances that bind the copper in your hair, making it soluble and removing the green tinge.
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Why Does Pool Water Make Blonde Hair Turn Green?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not chlorine that turns blonde hair green after swimming.
However, chlorine does contribute to the process because it oxidizes the copper in the pool water.
The copper oxides then bind to the proteins in your hair, leading to the green color.
This is possible because copper is a transition metal and copper complexes are almost always colored blue or green.
So, it’s not only pool water that can turn blonde hair green — even tap water can give your hair a green tint if it contains enough copper.
Copper is a naturally occurring metal in most pools that contains freshwater or saltwater.
Chlorine is also commonly found in swimming pools, and it is the presence of both copper and chlorine that leads to green pool hair.
Besides naturally occurring copper, adding copper-based algaecide to your swimming pool can increase the concentration of the metal in the water.
Typically, algaecide is used to prevent algae growth, and it contains copper and other mineral additives.
After oxidation by chlorine, the copper sticks to your porous hair, turning it green. This is also the same chemistry behind old pennies made of copper.
The copper is oxidized when exposed to oxygen and ends up looking like it has a greenish patina. Similarly, if you look at the Statue of Liberty, it’s covered in green stuff called malachite.
Malachite results from the oxidation of copper after exposure to salt, acid, and the elements.
Keep in mind that all types of hair color are at risk of discoloration from pool water, but the effect is more noticeable on blonde hair because of the light hue.
Still, if you have darker hair with highlights, you might notice discoloring on those lighter strands.
The good news is that you can successfully use the same techniques for getting green out of blonde hair, regardless of your hair color.
How To Get Green Out Of Blonde Hair
As stated, copper is the culprit behind green pool hair. It gets oxidized and forms copper oxides that bind to hair proteins.
Therefore, removing the green from blonde hair simply means removing the copper. In that case, you need a chelating agent.
A chelating agent is a substance that reacts with metal ions to form stable metal complexes that can dissolve in water.
That means you need a chelating substance that makes the copper in your hair water-soluble and easy to get rid of.
Thankfully, there are several solutions you can try, and most of them are home remedies:
Chelating shampoo (also known as swimmers shampoo or hard water shampoo) is so-called because it contains various chelating agents designed to remove build-up chemically.
The shampoo usually contains chelating ingredients like tetrasodium EDTA, ascorbic acid, citric acid, sodium oxalate, and potassium citrate.
While professional shampoo is effective, it usually contains too many additives that may irritate the scalp, so avoid using it too much.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the best chelating shampoos on the market:
Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Collection
This swimmers shampoo is specifically designed to remove mineral deposits and eliminate green tones. The kit contains shampoo, conditioner, and powder shampoo packets you can use on the go.
Ion Swimmer’s Shampoo
You can use this shampoo daily to remove build-up from chlorine and minerals. The good news is it’s suitable for all hair types.
Nucleic-a Nutra-Clenz Chelating Shampoo
This chelating shampoo promises to gently remove deposits and residues from your hair. It’s also a great option if you want to strip excess oils from your hair.
Malibu C Blondes Shampoo & Conditioner
Green discoloration can make your blonde hair look dull. However, this shampoo and conditioner duo will revitalize, enhance, and brighten your bombshell blonde.
TRISWIM Swimmers Shampoo
This swimmer’s shampoo has a lot going on for it. It removes chlorine, saltwater, and hard water, while hydrating and moisturizing your hair.
When using chelating shampoo to remove green from blonde hair, simply apply to wet hair, lather, then rinse thoroughly.
It’s best to shampoo your hair as soon as you get out of the pool.
Red Color Infusing Shampoo
If you look at a basic color chart, the colors on the opposing end cancel each other out. So the perfect color to balance out green pool hair is red.
Red shampoo will therefore help to neutralize and correct the green tone in your blonde hair after a swim.
For instance, this Celeb Luxury Intense Color Depositing Colorwash Shampoo can help to cancel the green in your hair.
If your hair still has a green tint after the first wash, rinse and repeat or use in conjunction with a chelating shampoo.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, another chelating agent. This explains why vinegar is a common household cleaning agent.
For instance, it can remove the tarnish from copper pots and pans. So, doing an apple cider vinegar rinse will help remove copper oxides from green blonde hair.
Baking Soda And Vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar is a well-known combo that can clean oxidized copper.
- First, wash your hair as normal to remove some of the green out of your golden tresses.
- Mix ½ a cup of water with ¼ of vinegar in a bowl before soaking your hair for about two minutes.
- Add about three tablespoons of baking soda to the bowl while your hair is still soaking. The mixture will fizz as the baking soda neutralizes the vinegar.
- Rinse the rest of the acid thoroughly from your hair.
- If your hair still has some green showing, apply about five teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide to your hair, then rinse after the green disappears.
Ketchup Or Tomato Juice
Ketchup and tomato juice both contain citric acid. In addition, ketchup contains acetic acid, making it doubly effective at removing green from blonde hair.
- Apply the ketchup or tomato juice as you would conditioner.
- Once each strand is thoroughly coated, wear a shower cap and leave for about 30 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly, condition your hair and then rinse again.
You can use fresh lemon juice or bottled lemon juice to chelate your hair.
That’s because lemon juice contains citric acid, a chelating agent that can effectively remove copper from your hair.
- To start, apply the lemon juice until it saturates your hair.
- Let your hair soak for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
- Afterward, deep condition your hair to lock in moisture because lemon juice can have a drying effect on your hair.
Like lemon and tomato juice, aspirin contains acids that can neutralize the copper in your hair.
- Make an aspirin-water mixture using about eight aspirin tablets.
- Apply it to your wet hair.
- Let it sit for roughly 20 minutes.
You can then rinse the paste and proceed to shampoo and condition as normal.
How To Protect Blonde Hair From Turning Green
Wet Your Hair Before Going Swimming. Your hair acts like a sponge. So, if you wet your hair thoroughly until it’s saturated, it means that your porous hair won’t absorb much of the pool water.
Apply Leave-In Conditioner Before Swimming. When you have conditioner coating your hair strands, the copper oxides won’t be able to bind to your hair tightly.
Wear A Swim Cap. This is a simple and cheap solution. The sim cap prevents your hair from getting into contact with pool water which contains copper and other minerals that contribute to build-up.
This also saves you the hassle of having to shampoo afterward. Wearing a shower cap is also handy if you have hot water pipes that infuse your shower water with copper.
Always Rinse After Exiting The Pool. It’s essential to wash your hair soon after getting out of the pool. If you wait for your hair to dry naturally, you’re giving the pool water more time to discolor your hair.
Use Hot Oil Treatments. Hot oil treatments help seal your hair cuticles, making it less likely for minerals to latch on.
How To Prevent Pool Water From Turning Blonde Hair Green
Besides taking steps to protect blonde hair from turning green, you can also take action to minimize the “green” effect your pool water has on your hair.
Remove Minerals From the Water
You should first test your water to confirm the presence of copper. This can be done using test strips or a water testing kit.
Alternatively, you can take water samples to a lab or your local pool store.
Once you confirm there’s copper in your pool, you can use a hose filter when filling your pool to reduce the concentration of minerals in the water.
You can also use a chemical that can remove minerals from the water or a metal sequestrant, which binds copper and other metals in your pool water, so they don’t cling to your hair.
Avoid Copper Based Algaecides
As mentioned, copper-based algaecides may be responsible for green pool hair. If you have an algae infestation, look for a copper-free algaecide instead.
Make sure you check the label before using the treatment. You can also eliminate the use of algaecide by keeping your pool filtered, cleaned, and treated at all times.
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