A woman relaxing in a swimming pool

Shampoo for Swimmers

Shampoo for swimmers.

Swimming is an excellent and gentle sport for enhancing overall fitness and promoting physical and mental well-being. Whether you choose the confines of indoor or outdoor swimming pools or opt for the natural waters of local lakes, rivers, or the sea, understanding the significance of pre and post-swim hygiene is important for maintaining the health of your hair. 

Let's dive (pun intended) into the importance of washing before and after your swim, offering insights on how to ensure a safe and effective fitness routine in the water.


  1. Swimming pools and how Chlorine affects your hair
  2. How to protect hair from Chlorine
  3. Washing before and after a swim
  4. Shampoo for swimmers
  5. How to use a shampoo bar for swimmers
  6. Best shampoo bar for swimmers

Swimming pools and how Chlorine affects your hair

Community swimming pools provide convenient and easily accessible recreational opportunities for the public. Chlorine is introduced into the pool water to maintain cleanliness and hygiene by preventing the accumulation of harmful bacteria. However, while Chlorine serves this essential purpose, our bodies, skin, and hair might not be the biggest fans of its presence.

Overexposure to Chlorine can adversely affect your hair and skin; protecting your hair is essential, especially for frequent swimmers. Many of us have encountered minor issues such as dryness or heightened skin sensitivity after a swim, with some individuals even experiencing flare-ups of eczema due to the impact of Chlorine.

Hair and Chlorine

The natural pH balance of our hair and scalp is mildly acidic, falling within the range of 4.5 to 5.5. In contrast, Chlorine, essential for maintaining swimming pool hygiene, is alkaline, requiring a pH level between 7.2 and 7.8. When Chlorine interacts with the hair, it has the potential to elevate the pH level, leading to various issues.

  • Dryness: The alkaline of chlorine strips away the natural oils from the hair, making your hair dry and unmanageable.
  • Frizz and Damage: Altered pH levels induced by Chlorine cause the hair cuticles (the outermost layer) to lift, resulting in frizz and making the hair more vulnerable to damage from environmental factors.
  • Brittleness and Irritation: The depletion of natural oils and the disturbance of the hair's structure can render it more brittle and susceptible to breakage, causing potential irritation.

In addition to its higher acidic level, Chlorine possesses bleaching properties. While serving as a disinfectant that effectively eliminates harmful bacteria in pools, Chlorine also brings about unintended effects on our hair and skin. Its bleaching properties can lighten or fade colours in fabrics, hair, and other materials.

Chlorine's oxidising effect can break down pigments found in fabrics and hair dyes, resulting in colour fading. Individuals, particularly those with colour-treated hair, may observe a gradual lightening or alteration of their hair colour over time due to prolonged exposure to chlorinated water.

A person sitting by the swimming pool

How to protect hair from Chlorine

Protecting your hair from Chlorine is essential to prevent dryness, damage, and colour fading. You can start to protect your hair before you dip into the pool.

Pre-Swim Preparations

The best and most effective solution to minimise the effect of Chlorine is to wet your hair before entering the swimming pool. 

You must have seen people give their head a rinse before entering the water. Hair is porous and, when dry, can absorb minerals and Chlorine from the pool water. Wetting the hair acts as a barrier and prevents the hair from absorbing too much Chlorine. 

Regularly caring for your hair with the appropriate shampoo and conditioner is an effective way to protect your hair while swimming. Using suitable shampoo and conditioner contributes to your hair's overall health and moisture balance. By keeping your hair well-moisturised and vibrant through regular shampooing and conditioning, you create a protective barrier that helps prevent the absorption of Chlorine.

And finally, wearing a swimming cap helps immensely. It's not super attractive, but it works!

Washing before and after a swim

As mentioned earlier, giving your hair a thorough wash before entering the pool can significantly minimise the negative impacts of Chlorine. Additionally, it's a good habit to quickly wash your body before taking a dip. This practice is considerate to others, ensuring that any dirt or bacteria from your body and hair doesn't enter the pool, and promoting a cleaner swimming environment for everyone.

Shampooing after a swim

After finishing your swim and preparing to dry off before heading home, washing your hair promptly is crucial. Despite minimising the impact of Chlorine through prewashing, there may still be residual Chlorine in your hair that requires thorough removal. Failing to do so can result in dryness and increased vulnerability to damage. 

Shampooing helps eliminate residual Chlorine, preventing it from causing long-term harm such as dryness, frizz, and colour fading. Additionally, pool water may contain other impurities and chemicals that can build up on the hair, affecting its overall health and appearance. A shampoo effectively cleanses the hair, removing Chlorine, salt, and impurities while restoring moisture and leaving your hair feeling clean, refreshed, and ready for optimal health and manageability.

Shampoo for swimmers

So, what is the best shampoo for swimmers? As we covered, the Chlorine in the water will leave your hair dry. We need to rehydrate the hair with moisture and natural oils. Look out for hydrating shampoo, or finish your wash with a conditioner.

Ingredients like Shea butter and Almond oil are excellent choices, not only for restoring oils but also for protecting your hair follicles. Shampoos enriched with protein offer added strength, making your hair more manageable and providing volume. Vitamin Pro B5 helps nourish the hair and bind essential moisture.

Lastly, avoid being tempted to wash your hair with soap. Soaps are typically high in Alkali, and we need to ensure that any product you put on your hair is pH balanced. Our hair and scalp's natural pH range is around 5.5.

Healthy hair blowing in the wind

Shampoo bars for swimmers

Having explored the core ingredients for shampoo for swimmers, let's emphasise the advantages of using a shampoo bar for your swim. 

Shampoo bars are rapidly gaining popularity as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional liquid shampoos found in plastic bottles. Their environmentally conscious nature aligns with the growing trend of sustainable choices, and in many instances, they prove to be more effective than liquid shampoos.

A shampoo bar encapsulates all the components of a traditional bottled shampoo without the plastic packaging. This condensed shampoo eliminates excess water usage, directly applying all active ingredients to your hair. As shampoo bars don't come in large plastic bottles, they are incredibly portable, making them an ideal companion for your visits to the swimming pool.

How to use a shampoo bar for swimmers

To use a shampoo bar:

  1. Begin by wetting your hair thoroughly with warm water.
  2. Wet the shampoo bar under running water, creating a lather either by rubbing it between your hands or applying it directly to your wet hair, ensuring coverage from roots to tips.
  3. Gently massage the lather into your scalp with your fingertips and work it through the length of your hair.
  4. Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water until all the shampoo is washed out.

Depending on your hair type, you can follow up with a conditioner. After use, allow the shampoo bar to air dry in a well-ventilated area. 

There is no transition period and no waxy residue; it's eco-friendly, cleanses effectively and reduces plastic waste.

Best shampoo bar for swimming

The best shampoo for swimmers will hydrate your hair and strengthen and nourish your hair follicles and scalp. You want a pH-balanced formula that washes effectively to remove any Chlorine or unwanted dirt from your hair.

Sweet Orange Shampoo bar with shea butter

I have created a range of shampoo bars that are perfect for any swimmers wanting to look after their hair, as well as removing our dependence on single-use plastic. I created Washla in 2020 to design and create a gentle and effective shampoo while removing any plastic packaging. You can read my story here!

My Hydrating Shampoo bars are perfect for swimmers. They contain shea butter for additional hydration and Vitamin Pro B5 for strength and moisture absorption into the hair. All our shampoo bars are pH-friendly and scented only with essential oils.

Hydrating Lemon Shampoo bar with Shea Butter

Washla's most popular shampoo bars are the Sweet Orange and Lemon scents. They are packaged in biodegradable packaging and weigh 90g, perfect to slot in your swim bag.

Using a hydrating shampoo bar for swimmers with a formula that helps moisturise and repair dry and damaged hair is a great step toward being less reliant on plastic and healthier hair. I hope you find this article on the best shampoo for swimmers helpful; let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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