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Why You Need to Coat Your Hair in Oil Before You Swim

You know that one person who’s at the pool – they’ve found the only patch of shade, they’re wearing an XL kids swim shirt that’s still too small, huge hat, and coated in SPF 500? Well that’s me. I’m the Queen of Sunscreen, and subsequently, sunburn care.

Lately though, I’ve been wondering about what type of damage my hair gets when I’m chillaxing at the pool. Now that I’ve got pink strands, there’s a whole new level of care that needs to be taken so that it doesn’t fade.

Don’t worry, we did all the work for you. First, we grabbed our tools: pool water, vibrant pink hair strands, and coconut oil.

Then, following the rules of our other post, How to Protect Colored Hair When Swimming, we took one of the hair strands and rinsed and coated it in coconut oil.

We separated the pool water sample into two containers – one for the oily strand to lay in, the other for the dry, untouched strand. Both had been previously coated in Vibrant Pink Deep Treatment.

We let the strands sit outside in the sun for a total of one hour: 30 minutes in the water, 30 minutes laying in the sun. Then we rinsed the coconut oil out and gave these results.

(without oil, untouched, and with oil)

The center strand stayed inside, nice and dry, so we used it for our comparison. Our team was shocked – the pool water basically destroyed the integrity of the Vibrant Pink color. It even looked borderline pastel! When we pulled them straight, the diminished color was pretty obvious.

(Without oil, untouched, and with oil)

The strand soaked in coconut oil was super soft, and kept most of its color, while the one that was directly in the water was dry and dull.

After dealing with the strand results, we took a look at the water. Lets just say, it spoke for itself:

(pool water from the un-oiled strand vs. pool water from oiled strand)

The moral is this:

Definitely protect your hair when you’re in the sun for an extended period of time. Just because your swim towels are fading, doesn’t mean your hair needs to too!

Filed Under: hair care

3 comments on “Why You Need to Coat Your Hair in Oil Before You Swim”

  • Chris says:

    Coconut oil makes my hair extremely dry and brittle. What oil would you recommend instead?

  • Alee says:

    Hey Chris,

    Any colorless natural oil works! We polled the room and Avocado and Almond oil were the top recommendations from the team. 🙂 Olive oil might be tempting, but it because it has a color of its own, it might affect the shade of your hair.

  • emma says:

    If you wet your hair with cool fresh water and then squeeze it out before applying the coconut oil, then put on a swim cap, your hair should be extra protected. You only need a teaspoon or less of coconut oil–when applied to wet hair, it’s not going to make your hair dry or brittle, especially because you should wash it out afterwards with a gentle clarifying shampoo.

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