Protecting Curly Hair While Swimming

natural girls beach

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Unless you’re swimming in a fresh water spring with follicle-strengthening minerals, all curly girls should take some measures to to prevent the dryness and brittleness caused by summer’s most popular activity. Personally, I like to swim every chance I get, so my hair is regularly exposed to chlorine and salt water. Yet, the last thing I want to think about (or deal with) while splishing and splashing is my hair (and let’s face it, most swimming caps just aren’t that fashionable). Here are three quick and effective ways to keep your curls healthy while floating in your favorite body of water.

Braids
We often braid children’s hair before they get in the water to avoid the dreadful detangling process afterward, so why not braid our own?  Braids not only keep hair tangle-free, but the majority of your hair is protected from becoming brittle as it dries post-swim. Lately I’ve been preferring two french braids since my bangs are growing out, but you can do a single braid, corn rows – whatever suits your fancy. Another bonus: braids are a hairstyle, so your hair will look good at the pool whether it’s wet or dry!

Oil
This one is so simple, yet so effective. Oil is a natural barrier against water, so to keep salt and chlorine from penetrating deeply into your hair shaft, massage in an extra bit of your favorite sealing oil from root to tip before diving in. My favorites are extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, but some of the heavier ones like castor oil may do an even better job. For double protection, oil your hair, then braid it up!

Conditioner + Water
I swore by this mixture when I had blonde highlights. The highlights had already dried out my hair, and I spent a couple of weekends that summer at the beach, so I had to protect my hair from both the drying effects of the ocean AND the brassy effects of the sun on blonde hair. I mixed my detangling conditioner with a bit of water so it was thin enough to spray through a nozzle, but still thick enough to coat my hair, and put the mixture in a travel-sized spray bottle. Every time I got out of the ocean, I sprayed a generous amount through my hair.  When my hair dried, I had gorgeous ringlets from the salt water but they were soft and shiny, and the thin coating of conditioner kept the sun rays at bay.

Part of the beauty of wearing our hair naturally curly is the ability to get it wet at a moment’s notice. Taking a few preventative steps will keep it looking and feeling healthy all summer long.

How do you protect your curls during swimming season?

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