Most kids love water, and many start swim classes at a very young age. This also means that their hair is exposed to the aggressive chlorine water since young, to the copper in the pool, to frequent shampooing, to sun exposure etc. [Read about pool water damage here] Those who swim on a regular basis, will start facing hair damage issues eventually. We want to prevent that from happening. So let’s review some of the ways that we can protect kids hair while being at the pool.
How to protect kids hair at the pool
1. Swim Caps
Yes, many of the younger kids don’t wear them because they hate the feeling of being squeezed at the head and ears. But luckily, there are some cute ones now that can appeal to them better. Letting them choose can be a way to convince them to wear the swim caps.
Unfortunately, that’s the best way to protect the hair from the water. Often, the water still seeps in around the hair line. Applying some conditioning products around that area can help slow down the diffusion of the pool water into hair. Coconut oil or some other heavy conditioner are great.
Check out those designed for long hair as well: here.
2. Pre-conditioning hair
For those kids who refuse to wear a swim cap, there are still ways to keep the pool water damage to a minimum. One is by pre-conditioning before they step into the water. Coconut oil is a great oil that enters the hair and prevents loss of protein. [See benefits here.] Being hydrophobic, oils tend to repel water and will delay the diffusion of pool water into hair.
Many swimmers also wet their hair with fresh water before heading into the pool. This also slows down the chlorine absorption.
Detangling long or curly hair can bring about many tears. Not only is it painful, but it can diminish the whole swimming experience for young kids who are just getting acclimated to the water. So make sure to have a good detangling spray and detangling brush at hand.
One well reviewed silicone free detangling spray is : SheaMoisture KIDS Extra-Moisturizer Detangler which consists of several oils, great to detangle hair and seal in moisture as the wet hair dries.
The Bella and Bear detangling comb and brush is one of the well rated detangling accessories on amazon.
4. Swim Spray
Often times after swim, you might not be able to shampoo your kids hair right away. After they rinse their hair, spray the hair generously with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) solution. This works well to remove the chlorine both from hair and skin. Rinse again after, and your kid should no longer smell like a swimming pool after.
5. Swim Shampoo/Conditioner
Regular shampoos are able to remove most of the chlorine from hair. However, the copper ions from pool water do not leave the hair that easily. Using swim shampoos can help trap those ions to prevent the green hair effect which is mostly visible in light colored hair. One well rated tear free shampoo is: Circle of Friends George’s Swimmers’ Shampoo. They also make a coconut based pre-swim formula to treat the hair before going into the water (in case you do not want to use coconut oil).
In some instances,Kid shampoos might not be efficient enough to remove all the copper. If your child’s hair color is prone to turn green, you might need an adult shampoo such as Malibu C Swimmer’s Wellness Shampoo, which is also well rated for removing hard metal ions.
6. Leave in products
After you’ve shampooed and conditioned their hair, it is important to have some form of leave-in product. The additional layer of product will prevent moisture from escaping the hair and keep the hair soft and manageable. Depending on what your kids hair is like, you should choose the products accordingly. One example of a good silicone free leave-in product is: Cantu care for kids leave-in conditioner. This is designed for textured hair and is thicker.
Another one which is lighter is the Fairy Tales Organic Energizing Leave in Conditioner for Kids. It is said to be great for after swim.
Final words of advice to protect kids hair
Before your child heads into the pool, remember to protect their hair and skin with sun hats and sunscreen. Also avoid using the hand dryer in the bathrooms to dry hair. The lack of control on the heat can cause some serious damage to hair.