Home Beautygab Can You Swim After Dyeing Your Hair?

Can You Swim After Dyeing Your Hair?

by Gabbi

Never underestimate the power of a good dye job. Something about freshly dyed hair gives a person a whole new atmosphere, and we can’t forget about the instant confidence boost every time they look in the mirror! It’s borderline magic, which is why we try to preserve our color for as long as we can.

Newly dyed locks are at risk of some serious fading, and this is especially relevant if you’re gonna be getting your hair wet. Whether you dyed your locks brown, blonde, or aquamarine – the fear of jeopardizing your color by doing something as simple as showering or swimming is very real. 

So can you swim after dyeing your hair? The answer is yes, absolutely. But there are some precautions you’ll need to take to ensure you keep your new ‘do safe. This will vary based on the type of water you’re entering, and what treatments you used on your hair to dye it in the first place. 

It may sound like a lot of work, but that’s why we’re here! Read on to learn all about our best tips for keeping your color vibrant if you’re taking a dip in the water.

Taking A Shower

If you’re no stranger to getting your hair dyed, then you’ll know that your locks are typically washed during the dyeing process. That means that you don’t have to worry about washing them yourself for another day or two, unless you have oily and fine hair.

When you do hop in the shower during those days, you can choose to put on a shower cap to protect your tresses, but rest assured that simply getting your hair wet actually won’t compromise the vibrancy of your color.

Once your hair is ready to be cleaned, you may need to give your hair washing routine its own makeover. 

If you went with a color that’s the opposite of your natural hair (blonde to black, black to bright pink), we recommend only washing your hair every 2-3 days or so. Dyes with a lot of pigment are more susceptible to fading, so unfortunately, you’ll lose some vibrancy with every wash. 

If you chose something subtle for your locks, like highlights or a balayage, you can wash your hair as frequently as you like.

Something else to keep in mind is whether you used a semi-permanent or permanent dye. Semi-permanent dyes are more likely to fade with every wash, even if you’re being extra careful with your hair, while permanent dyes have more lasting power.

But the most important thing about washing your hair after you’ve dyed it is your choice in shampoo and conditioner. Splurge on something color-safe and alcohol/paraben free. High quality hair products will work with you on your journey in keeping your color as fresh as possible, so don’t be lax in finding your perfect fit.

Relaxing In The Pool Or Hot Tub

A day of rest can quickly turn into a nightmare for those of us with a freshly dyed mane. Luckily, there are safeguards you can put into place so you can spend your day of relaxation, well, relaxing!

Unlike showering, you’re going to want to wait a couple of days before exposing your locks to chlorine. We recommend being patient for a minimum of 3 days before hopping in the pool, but if you can play the waiting game for a maximum of 5 days, that’s even better.

Chlorine is great at a lot of things. Keeping pools clean, yes, but it’s also incredible at oxidizing your hair color. If you’ve ever gone blonde in your life, we’re sure you’ve heard the warnings about your hair going green after a swim. Those warnings are very real, and shouldn’t be taken with a grain of salt! 

And if you went with another color, you’re not necessarily off the hook. While chlorine may not have as drastic of an effect on your head, it will leave you with faded, dull looking locks. 

If you’ve done your waiting, and are ready to jump off the diving board, don’t! For now, at least. Before you hop in, make sure you wet your hair with some clean water. This will keep your hair from absorbing as much chlorine during your swim, slowing down oxidization. 

You can also create a barrier between your locks and the pool water by massaging some oil through your strands! Coconut oil is best, but olive oil works fine too. And if you don’t have any oil handy, you’re not out of luck- conditioner can do the trick as well.

Be extra mindful of your hair if you’re going near a hot-tub. Hot water opens the hair cuticle, and will break down your hair dye much faster than cooler water can. If you do decide to soak, we don’t recommend submerging your hair. Instead, tie it up and away from the water.

Taking A Swim In The Ocean

If you’re at the beach with newly dyed strands, you may want to take our advice to stay on land!

Salt water has fantastic healing properties for your skin, but definitely isn’t as kind on your hair. Even the healthiest locks can attest – after a day on the beach, your tresses can feel pretty dry. 

When you use hair color, your strands aren’t able to retain moisture the way the could pre-dye. Since ocean water has naturally drying properties, that means your hair is at risk of breakage if you jump in the water too soon after a dye session. 

That means you need to be patient, and wait 3-5 days before taking a trip to the beach. This will ensure that the pigment in your hair has had time to set in, making it less likely for your color to fade once you hit the water.

Before you take a dive, make sure your hair is properly conditioned. Use a deep conditioner the night before your trip to the shore to give your strands an extra boost of moisture. 

In your beach bag, pack some hair essentials. Grab a spray sunscreen, leave-in conditioner, and some clean water (bottled is fine!). 

On the day of your trip, take a minute to wet your hair with some clean water,  and spray it down with a healthy amount of leave-in conditioner. Make sure to spray some SPF onto your scalp, and you’re good to go. 

Now, using sunscreen on your head may not have been part of your beach routine before, but it should be now. Healthy hair starts at the root, which means you need to take care to protect the top of your head. 

The easiest way to do this is to use a spray sunscreen so that your hair won’t be weighed down with greasy product. We recommend this color-protecting sunscreen from Soleil Shield, as it’s easy to apply and even helps protect your dye in the water.

Throughout the day, reapply sunscreen and leave-in conditioner as needed. Once you’re out of the water, rinse your hair down with some clean water as soon as possible to remove all traces of the ocean. This will keep the salt from continuing to suck the moisture out of your locks.

You’ll be happy to know that you’ll be going to bed with hair as vibrant as it was this morning, but we still recommend using a restoring hair mask (like this one from Moroccanoil) overnight. This will keep your hair hydrated and elastic, making it harder for your color to fade. 

Lounging At The Lake

If you’re looking to get some TLC with some fresh water, you’re in luck! Since lakes and rivers are free of any harsh chemicals or components, that means they’re a lot less likely to strip your hair of your new color.

But this doesn’t mean you should be careless with your locks. Even though you don’t have to worry about chlorine and salt, you should still wait for your hair color to fully set before prolonged water exposure. Again, the waiting period is 3-5 days. After that, you are free to spend as much time at the lake as you wish. 

While it’s not necessary, you can apply a hair oil or conditioner before you swim to preserve the natural hydration of your tresses. This time around, the water isn’t your enemy. You should, however, be worried about the sun.

Sun bleaching is very real, and can fade and lighten your color just as harshly as water can. To avoid this, make sure you’re using hair sunscreen, and donning a hat whether you’re in the water or on the shore. 

Tips to keep in mind:

  • If your hair is feeling dirty, but it’s not a wash day yet, mimic the motion of shampooing through your strands to spread the oil away from the roots. Sometimes this is enough to give your hair the freshness it needs, without washing your color down the drain.
  • Go for cooler water in the shower.
  • Do a product clean up! Look through your favorite hair care products and toss anything that isn’t color safe, sulfate/paraben free, and salt free. While these may not be as harsh on virgin hair, they will strip your color out faster than you think.
  • Invest in a color-intensifying conditioner. These aren’t meant for everyday use, but they can give your color some vibrance, and you don’t need even need to whip out the dye again!
  • Avoid heat exposure. This means spending too long under the sun, using heat tools without protectant, and using hot water to bathe.

Utilizing these tips and being extra careful when you get into water will improve the longevity of your dye job. This will make sure that none of your hard work goes to waste, and that you can rock your new color for as long as possible!

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