March 31, 2011

Swimming While Natural

You hear many women of color refusing to swim or even get in the water for fear of getting their hair wet.  My family had a pool growing up and I can remember throwing out threats such as “You better not get my hair wet!”, while sitting on the edge of the pool with just my feet in the water.  Much of the protest was because I didn’t want my straight hair to curl up (how ironic) but I was also concerned about the potential damage resulting from the chemicals in my hair mixing with the chlorine.  Don’t think for a minute that you don’t have to worry about this just because you have natural hair.  Natural hair is not a protected class and chlorine damage does not discriminate based on hair type or texture.  Without proper care, your delicate tresses will suffer.  Just a few steps will prepare you so that you can enjoy the benefits of swimming and instead of simply sitting on the side line looking cute, while minimizing damage caused by swimming in chlorinated water.  Not only is it supreme summer fun, it is great exercise and a stress reliever.  #WINWIN right?!  If you were not a swimmer as a young child, it’s never too late to enroll in swim lessons.

As for that preparation I spoke of:
·         Saturate your hair - sounds silly right? Why do I need to wet my hair BEFORE I get in the water? Quick answer – wet hair will soak up less chlorine (or sea salt) than dry hair will.
·         Apply coconut oil (unrefined is best) prior to getting in the water (preferably the night before).  Hair will absorb the coconut oil strengthening the hair shaft thus providing extra protection against the chlorine.  Is there anything coconut oil can’t do?
·         Coat hair with conditioner - this will seal the cuticle and help create a barrier between your strands and the chlorine. *some choose to forego this tip because fellow swimmers may end up wearing it and tasting it!
·         Do not leave your hair out - one big braid or a bun will keep hair from becoming matted or tangled.
·         Wear a swim cap – it may not be sexy and you can certainly skip it, however, the more barrier between your hair and the chlorine the better.

 Post Swim:
·         Rinse with water then shampoo – there are several swimmers shampoos out there.
Try Ions Swimmer Shampoo (100% vegan and sulfate free) or Triswim Shampoo (paraben free)
·         Condition as normal (deep condition if you feel it’s necessary)

How do you prep your hair prior to taking a dip?

Let's see what JC of The Natural Haven as to say about the topic!




Jc said...

Aww thanks for referring my blog! I think I look pretty sexy in my swim cap (then again I am quite up there in terms of loving everything about me lol).

Curly Chic said...

@JC - You are welcome! I refer to you often. You are such a great resource. Some have the ability to look sexy in almost anything! You are one of the lucky ones! :)

C'est Moi, Samii™ (The Listener) said...

Thank you so much for this CC and JC. I have a pool trip at the end of July, and I was wondering the best way to care for my hair. I know chlorine is harsh and not friendly at all. I am glad I read this, because just off the top of my head I thought--I'd use my coconut vatika oil and saturate my hair right before I get into the pool-Now I will do that the night before as you suggested. I was also thinking--I will coat my hair conditioner before entering the pool. So, thanks for the helpful tips. Have you used a shampoo that is specific to removing chlorine from the hair? (opps, you already answered that). I heart this blog..

C'est Moi, Samii.... Out

Curly Chic said...

@C’est Moi, Samii – I am so glad you found this post helpful! Natural hair presents a lot of challenges but the rewards far outweigh! Have fun in July! Send me some pics! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time out to comment!