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Swimming is a great sport that’s good for your overall health, but frequent exposure to chlorine-laced or salt water can affect your hair badly, and sometimes your favorite shampoos aren’t enough to fix it. 

You’re in luck! This article will help you choose the best shampoo for swimmers that suits all of your hair needs. 

Swimming And Your Hair – The Damages It Can Cause

While swimming is a great competitive sport that benefits a person’s cardiovascular health, promotes muscle growth, and strengthens endurance. However, long-term exposure to seawater or chlorinated pools can take a toll on one’s hair, causing it to become dry, brittle, break easier, and even change its color.

Effects Of Chlorine

If you’re a frequent pool swimmer, you must know that chlorine is added to pools to kill water-residing bacteria, though it can seriously affect healthy hair and even worse for those with afros. Chlorine strips the sebum or natural oils the body produces to moisturize and protect your hair, allowing them to be prone to brittle and damage. It can also irritate the skin and scalp.

Chlorine also causes your hair to change color – this unflattering condition is known as “Swimmers’ Hair,” which is due to the chlorine bonding with copper, manganese, iron, and other hard metals found in pool water, which can tint the hair a light shade of dull green—especially if you have lighter-colored hair. Those with dark hair tend to get a light brown tint.

Effects Of Saltwater

The ocean, as we know, has a high salt content and is osmotic, meaning it can draw out water or moisture, so swimming in seawater can make the hair dull, tangled, and fade out colored hair. It can also cause split ends and easier breakage. You might also notice the dry and rough texture after coming out of the water; this is because of the saltwater residue coating the hair that stays even after shampooing.

While sea salt sprays can be used to create effortlessly curly and wave hair, overusing them can actually do more harm than good. Excessive spritzing can also cause hair to become dry and brittle.

Aside from chlorine and saltwater wreaking havoc on your hair, excessive sun exposure can worsen the effects further. 

Picking The Best Shampoo For Swimmers

Your everyday shampoo, conditioner, and hair care products are likely not enough to repair or protect your hair from the harsh chemicals and substances in your swim water.

1. TRIHARD Swimmers Shampoo Extra Boost

TRIHARD Swimmers Shampoo Extra Boost is a handy product that aims to solve skin and hair problems in just one thorough wash. 

This shampoo has its unique proprietary cleansing technology, PLECOTECH™, which includes red algae and Dead Sea minerals like magnesium chloride and Maris Sal to help effectively remove all residue of pool chemicals, chlorine scents, and saltwater from swimmers’ hair and scalp.

But it doesn’t just stop with intensive cleaning; it also thoroughly moisturizes and hydrates hair strands and scalp after a dip through naturally derived oils like argan, jojoba, shea, and keratin, and other ingredients like red algae and Dead Sea minerals like magnesium chloride. 

The red algae, along with peppermint extract, sea buckthorn oil, and aloe vera, also prevents itchy scalps caused by pool chemicals and water-residing bacteria. Its peppermint extract provides a relaxing and cooling effect that gives the scalp the refreshing boost it needs during recovery while allowing your body temperature to regularize and prevent sweat post-swim. 

To top it off, this TRIHARD swim shampoo and conditioners are paraben free, vegan, and cruelty-free, with all their bottles and packaging made with 80% recycled plastic.


  • Excellent treatment for itchy scalp
  • Super hydrating
  • Relaxing cool after-feel
  • 100% vegan
  • Cruelty and paraben-free
  • Great scent
  • Uses recycled plastic for its packaging


  • Relatively pricier compared to other options available.

Customer Reviews

One initially doubtful customer left this review on the TRIHARD website:

“Dubious of claims, but I tried it as I needed to get my hair into better shape after returning to swimming. It smells amazing, & you (sic) don’t need a lot. The conditioner has left my hair soft but manageable. Friends have commented on how good it looks. Very impressed with product & very happy I gave it a go!”Julie E.

2. Ultra Swim Chlorine Removal Shampoo

Ultra Swim’s Chlorine Removal Shampoo has always been a constant for the round-and-about swimmer. It replenishes the natural oils in your hair and restores scalp moisture, both of which are lost after a rigorous swimming session. 

Unlike ordinary shampoos, which are not formulated to actively release chlorine molecules from hair strands, Ultra Swim has a unique formula that contains ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), which effectively binds to chlorine particles so that they can be washed away easily when rinsed. It also stops hair discoloration and eliminates lingering odors.

The formula contains vitamin E and aloe to nourish chlorine/saltwater-soaked hair and restore moisture, leaving it softer, stronger, and tangle-free. It’s also safe for kids and all hair types, whether they’re chemically treated, colored, permed or relaxed.


  • Gentle yet efficient formula
  • Contains effective and well-researched ingredients
  • Safe for kids
  • Works for all hair types
  • Great scent
  • Color-safe


  • The viscosity of the product is quite thin, which may require larger amounts to fully coat those with long hair.
  • EDTA is not naturally occurring, which may not sit well with those who prefer a more natural option.

Customer Reviews

One Ultra Swim customer left this review:

“This is by far my favorite swim shampoo…It completely removes the chlorine feel (sic), the pool smell, and the dry hair that comes from swimming. The shampoo also smells great and provides some amount of moisturizing. I have really long hair, I’ve used it plenty of times without any conditioner, and it still turns out great.” Erin.

3. Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo

Your choice of hair dye color(s) can be a sign of self-expression, and if you’re worrying about post-swimming hair care, you won’t have to worry about it with Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo: This shampoo protects colored hair without the harsh chemicals, keeping your hair clean and fresh while preserving your hair color. 

People with dyed hair are the most susceptible to hair damage since chlorinated and ocean water can flush out natural hair oils, making hair cuticles leaky. Swimmers Wellness has a gentle formula that effectively removes pool elements, including chlorine and copper, without using sodium thiosulfate or other harsh ingredients to retain hair colors well. 

Key wellness ingredients like allantoin, provitamin B5, and flax protein help retain the hair’s natural oils for maximum moisture and shine and restores hair texture affected by chlorine and saltwater. 

The product is also free from sulfate, parabens, and gluten to maximize the shampoo’s effects.


  • 100% vegan
  • Eco-friendly
  • Plant-based
  • Cruelty-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Gentle and effective


  • A bit expensive, considering its size
  • Packaging needs improvement, as the product tends to leak. 

Customer Reviews

One customer left this review:

“I like that it removes the chemicals used in pools without drying my hair and can be used daily. It also is pleasant smelling, which is a great bonus.”Kathleen

4. L’Oreal Extra Gentle Swim & Sport Shampoo

🥇Best for kids

L’Oreal’s Extra Gentle 2-in-1 Swim & Sport Shampoo effectively protects your kids’ hair from the ravages of chlorinated pool water, ocean water, and sunlight exposure, all without the tears and harsh ingredients. 

Children’s hair is more sensitive than adults, so the effects of pool/salt water could be harsher on them if not treated properly. The Extra Gentle 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner formula removes chlorine, salt, minerals, and dirt after a lengthy dip, protects the hair from drying up and getting tangled, and prevents hair discoloration.

To ensure maximum quality and safety, the shampoo contains ingredients derived from highly-refined grain sources and retains no traces of gluten proteins. 

Also, don’t let the “kids” label fool you. You can 100% enjoy this shampoo, even as a teen or an adult.


  • Gentle, no-tear formula
  • Uses scientifically-backed ingredients
  • Mild, fruity scent
  • pH balanced formula.
  • Paraben-free 
  • Gluten-free
  • Preservative-free.


  • Contains sulfate

Customer Reviews

One customer left this review:

“When your kids swim in a Chlorine pool, this shampoo is a must. The kids’ hair would get straw-like from the pool. This shampoo works great! If you have a pool, this is a must.”Kate.

Pre/Post-Swimming Hair Care Tips 

Here are some helpful tips that can protect your hair from the effects of a pool/seawater dip:

  • Rinse your hair before and after swimming – Wash your hair with clean water before going in the water. That way, your hair strands absorb that water and minimize the amount of chlorine absorbed. After swimming, rinse your hair again thoroughly with clean water to wash off the chlorine/mineral/saline residue.
  • Apply natural oils –  Natural oils like coconut oil, olive oil, keratin, and jojoba act as a protective layer to prevent the hair from absorbing chlorine and other pool chemicals.
  • Apply a pre-swim conditioner – Applying a conditioner can greatly help the hair before going for a dip. The conditioner coats the hair, creating a protective barrier between your hair and the chlorine. Secondly, washing your hair in cold water will help close the hair cuticles.
  • Wear a swimming cap – Swim caps prevent chlorine from reaching your hair. For the best protection. Make sure to wear it correctly so that all your hair is covered.
  • Avoid blow dryers* – Using blow dryers after swimming can dry your hair further. If your hair needs additional drying, use a microfibre towel to dry any dripping or excess water.

*Blow dryers can also pose a risk of electrocution, especially in wet areas. Keep them far away from pools, tubs, and sinks as far as possible. 


A dip in the pool or by the beach can refresh you on a hot summer’s day (or at night), but the water, refreshing it may be, can actually damage your hair and leave you with a rough, unflattering mess. 

Choosing your ideal swim shampoo should align with your hair type and needs. Researching the ingredients used and reviewing customer experiences can help you determine the best choice. 

Don’t forget to follow pre/post-swimming care tips to keep your hair fresh and tangle-free 

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