Pool 101: Why Hair Turns Green & How to Fix It
As the summer sun begins to beam down on us, there’s nothing more enjoyable than hosting a BBQ or soaking up some vitamin D while poolside with family and friends. Amid swimming laps, games of Marco Polo, and relaxing atop floats, comes the need for homeowners and public facility crews to perform routine maintenance to keep water safe for swimming. The chemicals used in this process, however, tend to have one very talked about side effect: turning your hair green. Curious about why this happens? Here’s what you need to know.
What’s the Culprit?
Most people assume that the plant-inspired color of their hair is a product of the chlorine in the pool. The actual culprit, however, comes from products like algaecides and high levels of hard metals like copper, which is commonly found in well water. When these metals are exposed to chlorine, they begin to oxidize, bonding with the proteins in your hair whenever you go for a swim. Once these oxidized metals are absorbed by your hair follicles, it can turn hair green and cause luscious locks to appear ashy and dull. If your hair is already looking lifeless and green and you’d like to restore it to it’s natural, healthy state, here are some must-try home remedies so you can get back to enjoying your sun-filled activities.
Reversing the Green
There are scores of everyday household items that can be used to repair green hair. The first is baking soda. Simply combine ½ cup of baking soda with water and stir until the mixture has a paste-like consistency. Massage the paste into green areas of your hair, let it sit for 5 minutes, then rinse using your normal shampoo and conditioner. You can mimic the process using lemon juice as well, which will remove unsightly green while leaving your hair smelling lemony-fresh. Tomato-based products, such as ketchup or tomato juice, contain key acids that fight to reverse the green-tinted color in your hair. When using a tomato product, massage into your hair, use plastic wrap or tin foil to cover your hair (as if you’re wrapping a scarf around your head), let it marinate for 30 minutes, and then follow your normal hair-washing routine.
If sticking ingredients you use to cook with in your hair is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of clarifying shampoos you can find online or in convenience stores that are formulated specifically for removing that pesky green tint.
Preventing Future Greenness
Whether the summer is quickly approaching or you have an upcoming vacation scheduled, there are several ways to ward off harmful metals and prevent your hair from turning green. The easiest is to use a leave-in conditioner, which will act like a protective shield between your hair and the chemicals in pool water. Hot oil treatments, gloss coats, and the use of natural oils are also quick and inexpensive ways to safeguard your hair from blending in with the landscaping.
Enjoying a sun-filled afternoon at the pool doesn’t mean you have to leave with swimmer’s hair. Being proactive is the best way to protect your hair from emulating a vegetable. However, if the mean green does make an appearance, some easy-to-find household products will help bring your locks back to their shiny, natural state.
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