Can you go swimming after dyeing your hair red? What about after dyeing it brown or blonde? And what happens if you go swimming after bleaching or dyeing hair? I’ve explained it all in the article below.
It can be tricky to balance your hair care routine with your regular life routines. I mean everybody knows the pain of matching your hair washing days with your gym days.
But what’s worse is when you are a regular swimmer and have to dye your hair.
Related: How To Protect Color Treated Hair While Swimming
Related: Can Purple Shampoo Work For Green Pool Hair
Should you stick with boring natural hair colors just to make it easier to swim? Or should you forsake your hobby and exercise to make your color last longer?
Well, let me explain how you can dye your hair and manage to keep up with your swimming without damaging your tresses.
But for this, I need to first tell you why swimming after dyeing hair is controversial.
Why Swimming Effects Hair Color
The swimming pool is not just plain water, it has a lot of salt, minerals and worst of all chlorine. This chemical is generally harmless and used in swimming pools to help clean the water and keep it microbe-free.
However, chlorine is highly reactive and when it comes in contact with the chemicals used to dye your hair and bleach it, it can create a reaction called oxidation.
Because of these chemical reactions, swimming pool water can fade your hair color or even turn it a different shade. If you have bleached, uncolored hair, then the chlorine will definitely turn your hair green.
Similarly, it can have different effects on different hair colors.
Can You Go Swimming After Dyeing Your Hair Red
To answer this question, no. You cannot go swimming after dyeing your hair red, purple, blonde, brown or any other color. Even if the color of the pigment differs, the chemicals used in the hair dye are all the same – you have aromatic amines, aminophenol, resorcinol, and of course developer which is basically hydrogen peroxide.
All of these need time to penetrate your hair strand. If you go swimming within a day of dyeing your hair, these chemicals might react with the chlorine in the water and fade your hair color and turn it a very different shade from what you’re expecting.
So if you have red colored hair and go swimming it might fade the shade and leave you with patchy, ginger or orangish-looking hair.
However, this is only for semi-permanent and permanent hair color. If you have been using color-depositing dyes like Arctic Fox or Adore, then your hair color will just look slightly less red.
As if you have taken a shower and washed your hair with sulfate-based shampoo. It won’t make your hair damaged or cause frizz or split ends like it would be if you swam after using semi-permanent hair dyes.
What Happens If You Go Swimming An Hour After Dyeing Hair
First of all let’s clear it up that I’m talking about semi-permanent and permanent hair dyes that developers use when I’m talking about hair dye here and not temporary, direct deposit dyes.
If you’re using a temporary dye and go swimming just an hour later, you’ll have a puddle of colored water surrounding you in the pool as these dyes are not long lasting and often bleed easily.
However, if you’re using semi-permanent or permanent dyes then it is a different story. Your hair is still somewhat damaged from the dye. No matter how “gentle” these types of dyes claim to be, they leave some impact on hair.
For semi permanent dyes to work they need to open your hair cuticles and make the color pigments penetrate your hair strand.
Open cuticles are a liability as they let the moisture inside the hair escape, make your hair seem rougher and make it more vulnerable to damage.
When you go swimming in a chlorine and salt-filled pool with these open cuticles, you compound the damage. The salt water enters your hair and dries it out further. The chemicals in the swimming pool affect your hair cuticles and make them rougher and cause split ends.
This will also lead to some of the dye pigments leaking out and consequently you’ll be left with a faded hair color as well as damaged hair.
So swimming right after dyeing your hair is a strict no-no. I advise you to wait at least 24 hours before hitting the pool after using a semi-permanent hair dye.
How Do I Protect My Colored Hair While Swimming
I really suggest delaying swimming as much as possible after coloring your hair. At least give your hair 24 hours before going swimming. But if you cannot miss a swim session at all, then here are some tips you can follow to mitigate the damage on your hair.
Use a hair cap: Even if you don’t have colored hair, this is a necessary precaution. The hair cap will prevent your hair from getting saturated with chlorine-filled water. So it won’t dry your hair or react with the chemicals from the dye to fade or damage the hair and it’s color.
Moisturize your hair before swimming: Another precaution you can take along with wearing a hair cap is to moisturize your hair. I suggest getting a high quality hair cream made specially for swimmers from the market if you’re a regular at the pool.
However, if you don’t have such creams handy, good ol’ coconut oil will do just fine. This oil or cream will coat your hair and prevent the chlorine molecules from coming into contact with your hair strands.
Rinse your hair before swimming: This might seem unnecessary but if you rinse your hair before swimming it will remove most of the excess hair dye and it will also saturate your hair with water and prevent the chlorine filled one from entering your hair cuticle. You can apply pre-swim conditioner or coconut oil after this step.
Shampoo your hair after swimming: The chlorine isn’t just reacting with your hair dye when you’re in the pool. Even after you exit the pool the water will remain on your hair and the molecules of chlorine will continue to react with the hair dye. So shampooing your hair with a mild but chelating shampoo (one that will remove mineral deposit) can help reduce your hair color from fading too much.
Can I Go Swimming After Dying My Hair Purple
No, definitely not. Like I’ve explained above, it isn’t the color of the hair dye but the other chemicals in the dye including hydrogen peroxide and PPD that react with chlorine. So it doesn’t matter if your hair is purple or blue, if you swim soon after dyeing it, it will fade the hair dye and cause hair damage.
Can I Go Swimming After Dying My Hair Brown
A lot of people think that hair damage only occurs when you use a lighter color on darker hair as you either bleach your hair or use a strong developer to get the color to stick.
However, damage can occur with any semi permanent hair dye as all of these need to open your hair cuticle to deposit the color deep in your strand’s cortex.
So even if you’re using a very mild developer and going from blonde to brown hair, even then your hair has suffered some amount of damage.
And this damage will be magnified if you swim right after, as the open hair cuticles absorb a lot of chlorine water and dry out hair, causing split ends among other types of damage.
How Soon Can I Swim After Coloring My Hair Semi Permanent
I would suggest not going swimming for at least 3-7 days if you have used semi permanent hair dye on your hair. If you have bleached your hair, it’s best to wait a few more days as your hair is very raw and overprocessed.
Applying chlorine water on your hair during this type of hair can cause severe damage along with ruining your hair dye. Your color might turn different shades in patches giving a very unsightly, uneven appearance.
If you have used semi permanent or permanent hair dye on your tresses, skip going to the pool for at least 3-7 days depending on how fragile your hair is, if you have bleached your hair and if you can use a pre-swim conditioner or not.
All swimming pools are rife with chlorine that helps clean the water and kill bacterial growth. However, this chlorine can be damaging for hair. And freshly dyed hair is very likely to absorb a lot of chlorine water in the pool as your hair’s cuticles are open after dyeing.
It doesn’t matter if you have dyed your hair red, green or blue, don’t go swimming right after.
If you have colored red hair and have gone swimming, then your hair will, very likely, suffer damage like frizz, split ends, etc. The red will also fade out in certain parts, giving a brassy, orangish look.