Going to the beach and swimming in a pool are popular warm-weather activities. When you put on sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays, don't forget to prepare your curly locks, too. Here's how to use organic hair products and other protective measures to minimize the risk of damage from chlorine and saltwater.
How to Protect Hair on Beach & Pool Days
1. Apply Conditioner or Oil Beforehand
The kinky wave pattern of curly hair makes it difficult for sebum to coat the strands from the root to the ends. Without this oil, locks become dry, porous, and brittle. Exposure to swimming pool water makes your tresses even drier because chlorine draws out the natural oils in your locks. Saltwater strips hair of its moisture, too.
Coat your dry or damp hair in a conditioner or natural oil before you go swimming. This will curb the drying effects of chlorine and saltwater, as these products seal the porous strands to stop them from absorbing chemicals or releasing water.
Avoid products containing sulfates, as they deplete hair of moisture. Coconut oil, honey, avocado oil, and olive oil have natural moisturizing properties, which is why they are often used in organic hair products.
2. Wear a Swim Cap or Braid Your Locks
After you slather your mane in conditioner or natural oils, tuck your curly locks into a swim cap. The material won't prevent your hair from getting wet, but it will limit how much chlorinated or saltwater reaches your mane. Wearing the cap also generates heat from your scalp, helping strands absorb the conditioner and oils to remain hydrated.
Use a latex swim cap, as the breathable material will prevent you from becoming overheated and uncomfortable. If you don't have a swim cap, put your hair in a braid after conditioning or oiling it. This will prevent the hair from becoming tangled in the water, so you won't have to detangle it later.
3. Treat Hair Afterwards
After swimming, use a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo to remove chlorine and salt from your locks. Organic hair products with Shea butter will get rid of gunk buildup and refortify strands without stripping away the hydrating natural oils.
Follow this up with a bond repair treatment. The serums restore and strengthen hair's broken disulfide bonds that were damaged by chlorine or saltwater. Deep condition your mane afterward to smooth and hydrate stands and add bounce to your curly hairstyle. Leave the conditioner on for 30 minutes before rinsing it out.
The professionals at Bloom Beauty Lounge in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood will provide restorative treatment to repair your locks after a day at the beach or pool. The stylists use formaldehyde-free, organic hair products to prevent further damage and scalp irritation. Visit their hair salon online to browse the available Lavender & Oak® products for curly locks, see clients' makeover photos on Instagram, or call (212) 255-9355 for an appointment.