5 ways to prevent chlorine damage and treat chlorine buildup in your hair

If you love spending summer by the pool but don’t love the effects chlorine has on your and your family's hair, we’re here to help. Everyone with a family of little swimmers has probably had the fight over trying to detangle their hair more than once. You don’t have to! Read on for our hair experts' top tips for avoiding and reducing chlorine damage to hair (that means fewer tangles!) without sacrificing time in the pool and sunshine.


Chlorine is notorious for turning your hair green, making it feel like straw or smell funny. All of those rumours about chlorine might not always be true, but here’s one thing that is: chlorine is a powerful chemical that is great for your pool but not great for your hair and skin. 

The chemical properties can strip the natural oils from your hair making it feel rough, brittle, and dry and often making it hard to comb through. It can also make your hair more porous, which can alter or fade colour-treated hair quickly.


The fact is that anyone who regularly gets their hair wet in a chemically treated pool is likely to experience chemical build-up and/or damage. Certain hair types need to be extra careful and diligent about sun and pool care which include: 

  • Damaged hair
  • Blondes (the most susceptible to damage!)
  • Fine hair
  • Dry hair
  • Colour-treated hair

If you fall under any of these categories we highly recommend following our tips to take extra precautions in avoiding chemical buildup. We also recommend keeping your salon appointments regular. Your stylist will be able to keep your hair trimmed and healthy to avoid brittle ends, and provide you with a nice cleansing wash and a repair treatment like our salon provides will all services. This is the best way to keep your hair looking and feeling its best.

For at-home haircare here’s what we recommend:


  1. First and foremost you should be using a product with UV protection. The sun’s UV rays can have a damaging and drying effect on hair the same way it does on skin. A UV protectant coats hair to protect it from damage, which is essential when you’re poolside and in the water all day. Damaged hair is more likely to be affected by pool chemicals.

    We highly recommend Hair Dressers Invisible Oil by Bumble and Bumble as a lightweight leave-in treatment with tons of benefits, perfect for sun and swim lovers.

    Another fave is Su Hair Milk, a silky leave-in treatment that protects colour and keeps hair soft and moisturized.

  1. Rinse your hair and apply a leave-in conditioner before AND after getting out of the pool. Pre-rinsing helps saturate hair to protect it from UV damage and prevent chemical build-up. Rinsing after helps remove chemicals from hair and a conditioner helps replenish moisture and softness. Use a wide-toothed comb to comb the conditioner through your hair to smooth out tangles and reduce snags and damage from fine tooth combs.

    We recommend Oi All in One Hair Milk to soften, detangle, fight frizz and add shine all at the same time!


  1. Use a clarifying shampoo to deep cleanse hair regularly. This helps break up and cleanse away any buildup in your hair and remove damaging pollutants. This should be done regularly but not too often or else you can overstrip hair - aim for once a week if you’re a daily swimmer or once every two weeks if your hair is on the dryer side.

    Two clarifying shampoos we absolutely love:
    - Solu sea salt scrub cleanser: this is the holy grail of deep yet gentle cleansing. The scrub texture helps remove all impurities and residue without drying out hair. Must-have for regular swimmers!
    -Solu shampoo: deep cleansing shampoo that leaves your hair feeling softer and refreshed.

  1. Use a replenishing deep conditioning mask or treatment to help repair hair and restore moisture. Chlorine can strip hair of its natural oil and zap all its moisture, causing dry, brittle hair so making sure to include regular moisturizing treatments is a must!
    We highly recommend Su After Sun replenishing mask.

  1. Don’t overdo it with heat styling! Try to limit your hot tool use, keep them on low temps while using and always use a heat protectant! As mentioned chlorine can dry out hair and frequent heat styling can exacerbate damage. Our fave heat protectant is Hair Dresser’s Invisible Oil by Bumble and Bumble - it does double duty as a UV protectant as well!

Chlorine doesn’t have to keep you and your family away from the pool when you have the right products and haircare to control buildup and minimize damage. For all of our colour-treated babes (but blondies especially!) protection is the key to maintaining your colour and integrity of your hair. Those with kiddos, keep combing a breeze by making sure to always have a good leave-in on hand and apply regularly. 

You can always book an appointment with our team of experts to refresh your hair, or shop all of the products mentioned on our online shop