Are you done having brittle, dried out, and damaged hair after swimming? Here are the best shampoos for swimmers to get the chlorine out of their hair. Let’s go!
Crushing laps in the pool is a killer way to get an awesome workout.
Whether competitive or recreational, getting in the water and banging out some laps is a full-body workout that slays calories, is low impact, and can be meditative.
But then you got that whole pesky chlorine in the hair thing that leaves your hairdo dried out, in tatters, and smelly.
Chlorine is a sanitizer that can damage hair with repeated and extended exposure. The smell isn’t for everybody, either.
But damaged and chlorine-infused hair can be easily solved with a swimmer’s shampoo.
Swimmers shampoos are specifically designed to help repair your hair, rinse out pool chemicals, and rinse ou the smell.
In this guide, we will look at the best swimmers’ shampoos, shampoo-conditioner combos, and answer a bunch of your most popular questions about swimming, chlorine, and shampoo.
Let’s dive right in!
The Best Chlorine Removal Shampoos for Swimmers
Alright, let’s get after it and list out our best picks for top swimmer shampoos!
1. UltraSwim Shampoo & Conditioner for Swimmers.
⭐ Best overall pick
This shampoo has been around for as long as I can literally remember—one of my first memories of age-group swimming was watching the older swimmers on my team using this shampoo.
It’s at the top of my list because it’s been my old reliable for years and years. The shampoo removes the chlorine that is knuckled up to your hair, while the conditioner helps replenish the natural oils in your hair so that your hair feels soft and human again. It’s also fairly cheap and the bottles come in small enough sizes that they can be easily stashed in your swim bag.
UltraSwim sells both shampoo and a chlorine-removal conditioner for around $7 a bottle, with both bottles containing 7-ounces of chlorine-busting goodness.
2. Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three.
This is more of a “designer” brand of shampoo, but equally as effective as the UltraSwim. The shampoo was actually recommended to me by a stylist friend who recommends clients who use a lot of product in their hair (hairspray, etc) to use this particular shampoo to flush chemicals from hair strands. It works just as effectively with chlorine, bromine, or whatever else your local pool is treated with.
For best results, (and this goes for all the shampoos in this list), leave the product in your hair for a couple of minutes to let it do its thang. I know that we are typically in a rush after swim practice to get on with our day and get some food in ourselves, but swimmer shampoos are most effective when we allow them a chance to work.
This shampoo is available in a variety of sizes, including a 33-ounce size which makes it ideal for showering off the chlorine at home, and the last time I checked cost about $25 (check Amazon for current pricing and shipping options).
3. Malibu C Swimmer’s Shampoo
Top marks for smell, but down-voted for the conditioner not being so awesome.
The shampoo works as advertised, removing chlorine from the hair and restoring the lusciousness of what remains of the hair on my head. The shampoo is essentially a Vitamin C blend, making it gentle on your hair and excellent for replenishing hair after swimming in hard water or chemically-treated pools.
I found that I had to use more of this stuff to make it truly effective, for whatever it is worth. A little pricier than the Paul Mitchell Shampoo, and doesn’t quite have the pedigree of UltraSwim, but still highly regarded by long-time users.
4. Solpri Swimmer’s Shampoo and Chlorine
The main ingredient in Solpri Swimmer’s Shampoo is Vitamin C. Not because you might have a cold coming on, or because it’s made of oranges, but because vitamin C is an effective chelating agent for breaking down chlorine from your hair (and skin). The shampoo and conditioner are a part of a 3-stage chlorine removal and revitalization program that includes a vitamin C-based swim lotion (aka moisturizer).
I like that it’s mostly natural ingredients in this set of products, and who doesn’t need some more vitamin C in their lives?
Solpri sells the shampoo separately or packaged with a restorative conditioner for around $25 (click here for today’s pricing and more reviews on Amazon).
5. TRISWIM Chlorine Removal Shampoo
This product is part of a chlorine-removal series that includes shampoo, chlorine, and a swimmer’s body wash that all tickle and rinse chlorine, bromine, saltwater, or whatever else your local swim pool is treated with.
I love the plastic cap on this bottle as it makes it easier to close and prevents leaks in your swim bag or toiletry bag while you are shuffling to the pool and back.
(Fun fact: TRISWIM also makes our all-time favorite body wash for swimmers.)
An 8.5-ounce bottle runs for just $12, making it a low-cost option for your shampooing chlorine-damaged hair (click here for current pricing on Amazon).
Best Shampoo for Swimmers — FAQs
Here are answers to the most common questions that we often field about chlorine removal shampoos, our hair, swim caps, and more:
How do I choose the best shampoo for after swimming?
Shampoos are not all created the same. When it comes to protecting your hair after a big swim at the pool, there are a few key things to look for in a swimming shampoo:
Chelating agents. These bad boys help separate chlorine from your hair. Examples of chelating agents include EDTA and citric acid. EDTA has been shown in lab settings1 to be extremely powerful at reducing chlorine, and citric acid is an all-natural alternative.
pH balanced formula. We all know how brittle and dry hair can be after extended chlorine exposure. Swimmer shampoos have a specially designed pH-balanced formula designed to restore the natural pH levels of your hair.
Moisturizing. Speaking of dry, brittle, and straw-like hair, a quality swimmer’s shampoo will also have a moisturizing agent to help repair and moisturize hair. Look for ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, or argan oil.
Avoid sulfates. “Regular” shampoos often have sulfates, which can strip hair of natural oils. Look for a sulfate-free shampoo as it won’t strip your already dry hair after swimming.
What’s the deal with chlorine?
Most swimming pools are treated with chlorine. There are three main reasons pools are treated: Chlorine keeps algae from growing, zaps unwanted bacteria and disease-causing pathogens, and also nukes foreign and unwanted contaminants.
Without chlorine (or other pool-cleaning chemicals like bromine) it wouldn’t be possible to swim laps without the pool turning into a petri-dish of germs and assorted nastiness.
What does chlorine do to my hair?
Chlorine makes your hair brittle, dried out, tangled, and in some extreme cases, extended chlorine exposure will cause your hair to thin and fall out.
When we swim around in chlorinated water, the hair absorbs the chlorine, stripping it of sebum, a natural oil that is basically nature’s conditioner. Repeated exposure and sebum depletion leads our hair to crack, with split ends and general unhappiness to follow.
Swim shampoos help to negate the short-term and long-term effects of chlorine exposure.
Does swimming in chlorine make my hair turn green?
Chlorine doesn’t directly cause your hair to turn green from repeated pool exposure, but it does help. The green color (which happens to everyone but is most visible with lighter-colored hair) is from oxidized heavy metals (mostly copper) that get into the cracks of the hair cuticle.
When the hair cuticle gets damaged from lots and lots of swimming in chlorine, those heavy metals find more places to get in and hang out, discoloring the hair. Swimmer shampoos are typically designed to help with this particular problem of restoring hair color.
Does wearing a swim cap help keep chlorine out of my hair?
For swimmers who have short hair, wearing a silicone or latex swim cap can seem like it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when it doesn’t keep your head and hair totally dry.
But swim caps do more than just keep hair out of your face, your hair out of the pool (filters, gutters, and floating around in clumps—gross), and make ya look good (usually).
They also keep your hair from getting drenched in chlorinated water for the duration of your swim!
Should I put shampoo or conditioner in my hair before I swim?
Chlorine in itself hasn’t been shown to be that dangerous when it comes to pool treatment—it’s the derivatives of it that occur when foreign substances enter the pool and interact with it (namely, chloramines).
So yes, applying shampoo (or conditioner or oil) before you swim will leave your hair slightly more protected, but you will also be spilling a stinky-butt oil slick into the pool that makes it harder for everyone else to breathe. So yeah. Please don’t be that swimmer.
You can get some of the same effects by simply showering before entering the water. Not only are you rinsing off sweat, deodorants, etc, but your hair takes on less pool water and chlorine when it’s already wet.
What’s the best shampoo for getting chlorine out of my hair after swimming?
The UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Swimmer’s Shampoo is the best shampoo on the market, and on the pool deck, for removing chlorine from your hair after getting out of the water.
Use it liberally after your swim is completed, and you can go about your day with healthy, chlorine-free hair. Or at least until your next swim ?.
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