How To Swim With Your Natural Hair

by To All My Black Girls on June 26, 2024

@westafricanbaby

Whether you're going to the beach or your local pool, swimming is undoubtedly a staple summertime activity. However, if you have natural hair, swimming with your curls can feel like you're playing a dangerous game. With a simple dip in the pool, you run the risk of ruining your hairstyle or completely drying out your hair.


This is why learning how to keep your natural hair safe when you go swimming is very important. In this article, we'll be revealing some of the best tips on how to swim with your natural hair.

Wear A Swimming Cap

One of the best ways to protect your natural hair while swimming is to wear a swimming cap. With your hair fully covered,  you can avoid messing up your hairstyle and keep your hair from soaking up excess water.  This is especially helpful if you wear box braids, twists or locs that are made with extensions. Those hairstyles can become extremely heavy and uncomfortable when allowed to soak up excess water. They also take forever to dry and can develop an unpleasant scent.

Wearing a swim cap is the best way to avoid this. There are so many different swim caps on the market to choose from so be sure to get one big enough to cover all your. If a swim cap is not properly keeping water out of your hair, then there is really no point in wearing it.

Put Your Hair In A Protective Style

Swimming can easily leave your natural hair tangled and frizzy. To avoid this, put your hair in a protective style that will keep most of your ends out of the way. You can put your hair in a pineapple, loose twists or plaits. Whichever style you choose, just make sure it keeps the ends of your hair mostly tucked in as they are naturally the driest part of the hair and are the most likely to feel side effects of chlorine and salt. 

Use A Leave-In Conditioner

Applying a leave-in conditioner to your hair is another great way to keep your curls from losing moisture after your swim. The leave-in conditioner can be applied before you swim to hydrate your hair and limit the amount of chlorine or salt it absorbs. However, it could also be applied afterwards to help smoothen and soften your strands and replenish them with moisture.


If you apply your leave-in conditioner after swimming, be sure to rinse your hair with clean water first and then work the product into the hair in sections while gently using your fingers to detangle.

Protect Your Curls With An Oil

Applying a little bit of hair oil on your curls before you swim is a great way to keep your hair from losing too much moisture. The oil will create a slight film around your hair, creating a protective barrier that will keep your hair from absorbing too much chlorinated water. 


When doing this, it is important to avoid using too much oil. Instead, rinse your hair with water and then apply a few drops of your preferred oil from roots to ends. It is best to use lightweight oils that won't weigh your hair down easily. Argan oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, and almond oil are great options you can try.

@isimemeedeko

Rinse After Swimming

It is very important to rinse your hair after swimming to remove the buildup of chlorine, salt and other chemicals found in pools and seawater. When left in the hair, these chemicals can dry out your hair, leaving it brittle and highly susceptible to breakage. To avoid this, rinse your hair thoroughly with clean water after swimming.

Follow Up With Conditioner

Using a conditioner after swimming can help replenish your curls with moisture and prevent your hair from feeling brittle. You do not have to shampoo your hair before doing this as that will only further dry out your hair. Simply rinse your hair thoroughly and apply the conditioner from your ends to the root of your hair. If your hair feels extremely dry, you can use a deep conditioner for a more intense treatment. 

@westindieray

Clarify With A Shampoo

If you swim frequently, the constant exposure of your hair to chlorine and salt can have long-term effects on the health of your curls. In addition to all of the aftercare techniques we have already mentioned, it is very important to cleanse your hair with a clarifying shampoo at least once or twice a month. This will help remove the build-up of harsh chemicals and minerals that can wreak havoc on your hair. 


Keep in mind that excessive use of shampoo can further strip the hair so try not to overdo it. If you feel the need to wash your hair after every swim, use a co-wash instead.


Swimming with your natural hair does not have to be a hassle as long as you take the right measures to protect your curls. To keep your hair happy and healthy, be sure to stick with the tips we've outlined in this post.

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