Can You Swim in the Ocean After Coloring Your Hair?

Sea salt has tons of healing properties, but not as much when it comes to your hair. 

It can dry out your scalp and strip away the moisture from your hair, causing colored hair to lose its shine. 

So, if you’re planning to take a much-needed beach getaway and you’ve recently colored your hair, then you might want to consider the risks and the remedies of a saltwater and hair combo. 

Ocean Water and Color-treated Hair 

Swimming in saltwater after you’ve colored your hair can strip away the chemicals used to apply the color. 

The ocean’s saline naturally strips your hair of its oil and moisture, making it dry and brittle. When the saline does this, it takes the color of your hair with it! 

Wearing a swim cap is highly encouraged if you are determined to take a dip in the ocean. But, avoiding salt water is just as effective and even more recommended. 

How Long Should You Wait to Swim after Hair Color? 

No one wants to miss out on soft sand between their toes, refreshing saltwater on their face, or beautiful sunsets in the evenings. 

But having colored hair might make you hesitant to accept a beach vacation invite. Waiting a certain amount of time after you’ve dyed your hair can allow you to enjoy the waves. 

As a general rule of thumb, you should probably wait three to four days before exposing your hair to saltwater. 

Giving yourself more time allows the pigments in your hair to settle. The longer you wait, the more your hair will thank you. 

Which Hair Colors Suffers the Most From Saltwater? 

Seawater does not work well with any hair, whether it’s color-treated or not. But, some shades are more prone to damage than others. 

Bleached or blonde-colored hair will usually become dry and prone to fading in both saltwater and chlorine. 

The blue pigments in chlorine and saline can cause the yellow pigments to turn into a greenish color. 

Blonde coloring has a high risk of becoming more altered or damaged than other colors. But, hair dyed brown, black, blue, or burgundy are also susceptible to damage and fading. 

Ways to Protect Your Hair From Saltwater

Sometimes the ocean is just too sunny and relaxing to pass up. Having colored hair doesn’t mean you have to skip out on all the fun. 

Here are a few ways to protect your hair from being damaged by saltwater and keep it healthy and shiny. 

Use Sunscreen 

Most people think sunscreen is only for your skin! But, nope, that’s not the case. Your hair deserves to be protected as much as your skin does. 

Before you head to the beach, spray some SPF on the roots of your hair so that an extra layer of protection is there to combat salt and sun rays. 

Remember to apply SPF to your hair throughout the day, just as you would to your skin. Your locks might feel sticky, but having brittle, dry hair is much worse! 

Lather in Some Oil 

When you expose your hair (and skin) to long hours in ocean water, sunlight, and chlorine, it can become damaged and dry. 

However, you can prevent that if you routinely lather some oil into your hair. Both avocado and coconut oils have benefits when applied to your hair.  

Plus, since it has no additives or chemicals, it makes it an ideal solution to keeping your hair naturally moisturized. 

Using oil is especially important before you go into the water or spend a day at the beach since it is absorbed quickly and keeps your hair sleek, moisturized, and hydrated.  

Wet Your Hair Before Going In

When you swim in salt water, the saline gets absorbed quickly into your hair follicles. If you rinse your hair with clean water, it can provide an extra layer to your hair. 

This layer can lower the amount of saline absorbed into your hair once saltwater reaches it. 

Most beaches have outdoor showers, so just head over to one of those and give yourself a presoak! 

Keep Your Hair Dry

One easy way to keep the salt water from your hair is by keeping it dry. 

This may put a bummer on things since you may not be able to feel the ocean on your face as much. 

But, keeping your hair up in a ponytail or bun can keep the saltwater from reaching it and keep out moisture-absorbing saline. 

Rinse Your Hair Immediately 

After swimming in salt water, your hair will quickly soak up the salt if it is not properly rinsed.

This can leave salt in your hair, which absorbs the moisture and color from your hair. 

So, once you are done with your dip in the ocean, you should quickly rinse out your hair with clear water to remove as much salt water as you can.  

Add Deep Conditioning to Your Routine

Sometimes our hair needs a bit more than the typical shampoo, condition, rinse routine. 

In fact, as you spend more time in the sun, the pool, or the ocean, your hair may gradually become dull or dry and lose its natural protein. 

Your hair may be begging to have a little life pumped back into it. Using a deep conditioner packed with protein oils and natural ingredients can restore strength and moisture. 

It also can provide a protective barrier on top of your hair strands to keep out damaging particles, such as the salt from the ocean. 

Use a Spray-In Conditioner 

Using a spray-in conditioner can be super handy when you’re out on the beach for a day. You can take your conditioner on the go and apply it as needed. 

When you spray a leave-in conditioner, it adds extra protection and moisture to your hair (much like deep conditioning). 

So, you may want to try using a spray-in conditioner after you shower, before you get into saltwater, and during your entire day at the beach. 

Remedies for Damaged, Color-treated Hair

If the ocean happens to get the best of your hair, don’t fret. There are a few solutions you can use to repair your hair and restore its color. 

Book a Hair Appointment ASAP 

If you get your hair regularly colored, then booking an appointment a few weeks before your trip gives you the perfect time frame to book a follow-up. 

Your hairstylist may be willing to do a touch-up or recolor if your hair color has faded. 

So get to your local hair salon and get the color back into your hair! 

Use Color-restoring Shampoo

Using both color-safe and color-restoring shampoos are great ways to make sure your color lasts as long as possible and restore some of the shine left due to saltwater. 

An ideal shampoo for treating colored hair has moisturizing proteins and ingredients like keratin and oils. 

You will want to avoid any shampoos with damaging chemicals, such as sulfates and parabens. 

Apply a Moisturizing Hair Mask

Well-moisturized hair is crucial in prolonging hair color. Your hair’s moisture can leave when you spend hours in the sun and saltwater. 

But adding a moisturizing hair mask that contains ingredients, such as coconut oil, keratin, or shea butter, can give you the extra strength and layer of protection against saline. 

Grab Some Baking Soda

This little trick is a life-saver for anyone who has gotten their hair turned green after a day in the water. 

All you’ll need to do is mix about ¼ or ½ cup of baking soda with water to make a thick paste. 

Then massage the paste throughout your scalp and the ends of your hair for a few minutes. Make sure all the affected areas are covered with paste. 

Then rinse it out and wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner. You will need to repeat this process depending on how severe the green color is. 

The Bottom Line

It is not impossible to enjoy a day at the beach, even if you have recently colored your hair. 

Although, there are some risks of color fading and hair damage to prolonged exposure to saltwater. 

Even if that happens, there are some ways to protect your colored hair, such as applying sunscreen, rinsing your hair thoroughly, deep conditioning, and using coconut oil. 

So, go and relish your day on the beach, but don’t forget to keep your hair protected from the elements! 

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