Swimming is so refreshing but green hair is not. Chlorine is a commonly used chemical that controls bacterial growth in pools and drinking water but it can leave one’s skin smelling like chlorine and wreak havoc on one’s hair. Chlorine in pool water can interact with color treated hair, bleaching it and making hair dry and brittle.
Why does chlorine turns your hair green?
The answer is--it actually doesn’t; copper and other metals in the water do. Chlorine in the water increases oxidation (interaction with oxygen) of the metals. The same thing happens to copper pipes where green discoloration appears in areas exposed to the air. The metals that are floating in the water are attracted to porous hair. The more porous the hair strands the more they absorb the metal.
Coloring one’s hair makes the hair cuticle more porous as do other chemical processes such as getting a permanent. Lighter colored hair such as blonde shows more absorption of the metallic green color but even brown hair can show a tint of green. Additionally, chlorine is a bleaching agent, which is why it lightens hair and can also damage it. For those who go swimming regularly, a hair protection plan is needed.
What to do:
Before swimming use silicon based hair conditioner to prevent your hair from absorbing so much chlorine and to seal the hair cuticle. Additionally, some people recommend getting your hair wet first with fresh water so that the hair shaft is filled with fresh water and is less likely to absorb swimming pool water. Afterward, don a bathing cap to further seal your hair from exposure. If you despise bathing caps, pull your hair back into a ponytail or bun.
You must rinse your hair with copious amounts of fresh water as soon as you can after swimming to rinse away any chlorine or green metal coloring that has attached to your hair.
There are several brands of chlorine removing shampoos on the market. They mostly rely on the use of sodium thiosulfate, which acts to bind the chlorine and will help remove any green tint deposited in your hair.