Why Does Chlorine Turn my Hair Green?

Surprise: It’s Not Exactly the Chlorine

Summer’s about to be in full swing across the Northern Hemisphere. We don’t know about you, but we’re ready for it!  Swimming remains a favorite pastime for young and old -- and every age in between! Unfortunately, that means swimmer’s hair is on its way, rearing its ugly head of greenish discoloration, breakage, and dryness. For those with blonde and lighter-colored hair, the greenish hue is much more prevalent.

For years, people have blamed chlorine for the greenish hue that appears after swimming. While they’re not completely wrong, chlorine isn’t the only offender and isn’t exactly what’s giving you green hair.

Chlorine has remained at the top when it comes to sanitizers for pools, hot tubs, and even drinking water. It is particularly effective in killing various types of germs within the water.   Chlorine and other sanitizing chemicals, however, are oxidizers, substances that oxidize another substance. 

The real culprit behind your green hair is the reaction between the chlorine (or other sanitizing chemicals) and copper - a common algaecide for pools. Have you ever noticed the bluish-green patina on copper roofs, cupolas, turrets, or the Statue of Liberty? All started as the bright, shiny reddish-brown color but fell victim to oxidation over the years. When the sanitizing agents (oxidizers) react with the copper, your hair provides an ideal stage for this color-changing show. 

Dodging the Bullet: Preventing Discoloration

Don’t throw away the swimsuit just yet. You can prevent this reaction from discoloring your hair, and it’s not as difficult as you might think.

  • Swim Cap:
    • Protect your hair from chlorine and other chemicals, minerals and bad guys hiding in your water.
    • After all, chlorine, copper and other agents can’t harm your hair if they can’t get to it!
  • Leave-In Conditioner (Leave-In Conditioning Mist)
    • Prevents your hair from absorbing some of the sanitizing agents and other materials.
    • Bonus: Our Leave-In Conditioning Mist gently detangles and protects against UV and thermal damage, as well!
  • Swim Spritz A convenient little packet strictly for chlorine removal
    • Freshly activated vitamin C - just pour and mix!
    • Pour into the Leave-In for a chlorine-removing detangler!

Combining a swim cap and our Leave-In also provides your hair with a conditioning treatment for the time you are swimming - now that’s a win-win!

Treatment: We Have Your Back!

One treatment floating around the Internet mentions immediately rinsing your hair after the pool. While this may rid some of the excess pool chemicals, did you know that most well and municipal water (softened or not) contains a high amount of chlorine, other chemicals, metals, and minerals? You’re rinsing your hair with what you’re trying to remove.

Here’s what you really need:

  • Swimmers Wellness Collection
    • Swimmers Wellness Remedy
      • This aqua-colored sachet has your secret weapon: freshly activated vitamin C with other key ingredients to help break through the chemicals, metals, and minerals sitting on your hair. Use it right after swimming to break through the buildup.
    • Swimmers Wellness Shampoo
      • Our exclusive sulfate-free, multifunctional surfactant technology
    • Swimmers Wellness Conditioner
      • Plant-based proteins strengthen from the inside out
  • Crystal Gel Treatment/Malibu Makeover (In-salon only)
    • This powerful treatment reveals your hair’s true beauty by removing even deeply embedded minerals and metals (and, yes, even medication buildup!).
Malibu C has remained the leader in mineral removal from hair since 1985 - that’s right, we’ve been around long enough to see mullets and fanny packs come into vogue, go out of style, and come back into vogue!