Murphy’s Law sometimes seems alive and well in hair color maintenance. We plot all spring for our perfect summer color—only to have it turn a scary green the first time we go swimming. Don’t forsake the pool. Use these tricks to enjoy those summer days, and keep your color intact.
Shower before hitting the pool.
It may seem counterintuitive to shower before swimming, but do it for the sake of your hair. “Shower before entering the pool. Hair is porous and once it is saturated with moisture, very little chlorine will enter the shaft,” says Nicole Hitchcock, owner of NH2 salon, a luxury salon in the San Francisco Bay Area. If a shower isn’t an option, keep conditioner in your pool bag and saturate hair with the conditioner before entering the pool.
Imagine your hair cuticles acting like a sponge. If they’re filled with clean water, it’ll be harder for the pool water to get in and damage them.
Try an olive oil treatment.
“Apply olive oil and put on a swimmer’s cap or hat. You have to use oil on the hair before going into the pool, as anything else will rinse right out once you hit the water. However, you have to keep your head covered, as oil will also cook your hair in the hot sun,” says Scott Fontana, celebrity stylist, owner of Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, founder of the Making the Cut live hair show competition, and creator of the Scott Fontana Collection line of salon products.
Embrace the swim cap.
Using a swim cap keeps your hair dry and prevents it from coming in contact with the metals in pool water. You can even deep condition hair and then put it in a swim cap for extra protection.
In you skip the cap, you’ll still want to pin your hair back. “Tie hair up using a soft tie or use a scarf or hat to keep hair from soaking in the pool,” says Celebrity Hair Colorist Frederic States.
Give hair a post-swim rinse.
No matter what, you should always rinse your hair after a swim so any residual chemicals and metals do not start to build up. “Even if it is not with shampoo, an initial rinse will help your hair keep its color and strength,” says Mario Russo, owner and lead stylist of the Mario Russo Salon.
Remedy damage with one of these quick fixes.
“If you do get any chlorine deposits on your hair, you can remove them with a clarifying shampoo like Ultra Swim ($5, walgreens.com). For an easy at-home solution try doing an apple cider vinegar rinse,” says Kyle White, lead colorist at Oscar Blandi. This will not only remove any chlorine deposits, but it will take out highlight-dulling product build up, remove dead skin cells, and unclog hair follicles. Always follow any clarifying treatment with a deep conditioner to replace any lost moisture.
Another option is to take your meds. “If hair is discolored by chlorine, dissolve an Aspirin in water, and rinse hair with the solution to remove the green hue,” says eSalon Color Director Estelle Baumhauer.
If you have a salon appointment post-pool day, make sure you wash your hair before going to a salon for a chemical service. “If you don’t rinse, you can cause a chemical reaction if any residue of chlorine is left in the hair. Or make sure to tell your stylist so it can be washed at salon. I have seen hair fall out as a result of the chemical reaction, and it’s not pretty!” says States.
Read more: Why You Should Consider Reverse Hair Washing