Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Maintaining my natural hair while swimming

What an adventure I’ve been on these past four weeks taking swim lessons. I’m always up for a challenge, and swimming is definitely a skill I've wanted to conquer for a while. Of course one of the concerns I have is how to maintain my hair while swimming regularly in chlorinated pool water. Of all the many ways to be physically active: running, biking, yoga, etc., I think pool swimming poses the greatest threat to the health of Black hair. The chlorine can be detrimental, causing dryness and breakage. Wearing a swim cap is almost essential for maintaining a regular swim routine and healthy hair. I’m a bit of a product junkie. I like to use various products just for the fun of it. But for the past four weeks I decided to stick to one product line to track the health of my hair during swim lessons. I’ve been using the Jojoba Monoi Eden Bodyworks line to maintain my hair.

My hair is relaxer-free, but color treated. I was concerned about how the chlorinated pool water would affect my hair, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how moisturized and healthy my hair has been while consistently using the with using the Eden Bodyworks line during my swim lessons. This is my simple routine:

Before getting in the pool:
Thoroughly wet hair with water
*Apply conditioner to while pulling hair into a puff or pony (with an ouchless band, i.e. pantyhose hair-tie)
Wet swim cap inside and out before putting on

After leaving the water:
Carefully remove swim cap
Rinse hair thoroughly with water - enough to remove all of the conditioner
*Shampoo or conditioner wash (co-wash) hair as normal
Deep condition 1x week minimally

*Conditioner will help reduce snagging when removing the swim cap post-workout. It will also help to protect the hair shaft from being penetrated by chlorine if some water does sneak in. It won’t completely block it, which is why washing thoroughly afterwards is important to remove all traces of chlorine.

*At the pool I rinse my hair, then pull it into a ponytail and head home. At home I shampoo/co-wash my hair in the comfort of my own home.

I moisturize and seal with the hair milk and oil in between visits to the pool. I also prefer a lycra swim cap versus a latex cap. I've tried a latex cap and lycra is is more comfortable to me. NO, LYCRA IS NOT COMPLETELY WATERPROOF. So, if you can stand a latex cap, that's the way to go. But, in my experience this particular cap does nearly the same job as the latex cap I tried. It's not like jumping into the water with no cap at all. Don’t let the fear of breakage keep you out of the water this summer! Washing and deep conditioning regularly with quality hair products can keep hair healthy during your workout and training routines.
To address a reader's concern, of course shower before entering the pool. And wearing a swim cap creates a barrier keeping conditioner from creating an 'oil slick' in the water.
Happy swimming!

1 comment:

April said...

Great post! You can also twist or braid your hair before putting on your cap especially if you like to wash your hair in sections. The cap will contain the conditioner inside the cap, so make sure to wash it thoroughly after swimming.

I plan to get the boys into a swim class so I will be sure to keep this regime handy.

Thanks Margaux!

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