View Full Version : Limiting Chlorine Damage

September 15th, 2010, 06:14 PM
I was a swimmer long, long ago until a bad back injury sidelined me for a few years. Physically, I'm beginning to get to the point where I can start exercising again, so in the hopes of losing some of the weight I put on from being sedentary, I'm going to start swimming when I get back from a trip to Dallas next week.
Problem is, when I swam before I lost at least 60% of my thickness due to chlorine damage, and my hair was fragile, fluffy, completely bleached, and so delicate that if I ran my fingers through it even a little too roughly, whole sections would fall off in my hand. NOT doing that again.

Hallelujah Swimmers! After much research, I have found a solution to keep hair DRY in the pool without subjecting it to constant rubbing damage from latex or silicone!
I purchased a lycra cap and a bubble crepe cap with a chin strap online. I used an old silicone cap of mine to make a swim band (Essentially you cut off the top of a standard cap to make a silicone sweatband. Contact me for more info).
The trick is to turn the lycra cap SIDEWAYS!! This way it goes along your front hairline high on your forehead and extends to your sideburns and around the back without interfering with the seal you need to have for the bubble crepe cap to work. Since the lycra is just protecting fragile baby and halo hairs from being yanked, twisted, etc. during your workout, it doesn't need to cover your whole head, just your hair. Worn sideways, it will cover all of your hair and come about halfway down your ears.
Next, pull the swim band on, overlapping the lycra cap, making sure that it completely covers your earlobes so that no water gets in through any cracks or skin folds. It helps to really make sure the lycra cap underneath is smooth before doing this, because if you don't you'll end up with some pretty red marks on your forehead (learned this the hard way).
Once your lycra and swim band are secure, pull on the (correctly sized) bubble crepe cap. Make sure that the entire band of the cap is in contact with either smooth skin or the silicone swim band, so that it can seal tightly.

Voila! This puppy is almost hermetically sealed! I tried wiggling, tugging, adjusting goggles, upside-down and sideways, and not a drop of evil chlorine snuck by my cap defenses. Total cost was about $20.

Here are a few ideas I plan to try to up the game a little more and see if I can make a great thing even better:

Pre-soaking in fresh water or if I feel up to it, club soda
Oiling first to discourage any chlorine retention and to take advantage of the heat/moisture for a deep conditioning treatment
ACV rinses post-swim to neutralize any damage as soon as possible

Something else to think about is that I have very slippery, straightish hair. I have no idea if curly hair will frizz up because of the lycra. If you're concerned about this, you could probably use a natural fiber head wrap instead of the lycra cap.

I will keep you posted about my progress on this front. If anyone has additional suggestions or advice, post away!

One more thing I forgot to mention: I. Look. Freaking. Awesome. For your viewing enjoyment, here is a photo of me in my new getup, embellished for comedic effect. :cheese:


September 15th, 2010, 06:45 PM
OK, I may have to try this (not that I've spent much time swimming in chlorinated pools lately... maybe I should change that). It sounds like a nice solution. The swim band is probably just what I need to seal everything up, because I've not had luck with keeping the bubble crepe cap from leaking.

New Choppy Cut
September 15th, 2010, 08:05 PM
When I used hair protection gel (and it needed 3-4 shampoos to wash out) I still got more split ends. Probably because the ends of my plaits ( braids) were still vulnerable due to movement in the water. The regime I have had for the past three months does not seem to have increased my split ends. This is wearing a long-hair swimming cap, spraying anti-chlorine conditioner on vulnerable areas prior to putting on the cap ( ie the areas where the cap may let in water), giving it a chance to dry off while I am getting changed afterwards (as I avoid heat hence dryers, yet you don't want to freeze on the walk home ), then as soon as I get home washing it in anti-chlorine shampoo and my chosen conditioner.

September 16th, 2010, 12:41 AM
Wet your hair and oil before swimming...if your hair has sucked up all the water it can, it will not suck up any more moisture...also, Ktani advised me that rinsing with club soda after washing your hair after chlorine/salt exposure will break up the salt and chlorine (I'm not too sure about this?)...