How to protect bleached blonde hair from saltwater and chlorine

Protect Bleached Blonde Hair From Saltwater and Chlorine

A blonde’s guide to surviving swimming season

April 22 2024

From regular trims to using a purple shampoo to fight brassiness, those with lightened blonde hair know it takes a decent amount of effort to keep their hair healthy.

And yet, even if you're fighting the good fight with all the right products and strategies, something as simple as swimming can mess everything up, drying out your already thirsty lightened locks and sometimes even turning them (god forbid) green.

Why can we blondes not enjoy said simple things in life, you ask? Well, it's like this: “When you are blonde, you are using some sort of bleach to lighten the hair, and therefore your hair is at more risk of becoming damaged [or discoloured],” explains hairstylist Cenk Akal
. Ah bleach; our best friend and the water's worst enemy.

Can't decide between your love for frequent dips and your affinity for being blonde? Here's how to keep your hair as healthy and happy as possible during swimming season...


Apply a leave-in product

Yep, this simple step can in fact help prolong the life of your colour. “Apply a strong leave-in moisturiser to act as a barrier between your hair and the water,” Akal advises. Essentially, the treatment forms a protective coating that prevents your hair from soaking up the water (note: the salt and chemicals found in saltwater and chlorine can be harsh on hair and strip it of its natural oils. Regular water from your shower, however, is a lot more gentle). We recommend the Oribe Supershine Moisturising Cream ($82 at Adore Beauty) which both shields and hydrates the hair while also significantly raising your gloss game.


Wash it out

After the water? Time to wash. “Following swimming, make sure you wash your hair immediately to avoid letting the chlorine or salt sit in your hair,” says Akal, noting that the longer they stick around, the more moisture they zap up. “If swimming is a part of your daily routine, then incorporating a clarifying shampoo into your hair regimen once a week will ensure you don't end up with a build-up of chlorine or salt.” We like the Sebastian Reset Shampoo ($36.95 at Oz Hair & Beauty), as the formula cleanses deeply but leaves hair feeling lightweight and doesn’t strip strands of any more moisture.


Introduce a nourishing hair mask into your routine

A hair mask, used once a week, is vital for replenishing lost moisture and repairing damage. For those with lightened hair, look for formulas that offer strengthening properties to support the structure of weakened bleached strands. Akal recommends the following: “To keep your hair strong and hydrated, use a moisturising mask once a week or apply the Olaplex Hair Perfector No.3 Home Treatment ($54 at Adore Beauty)” Olaplex is a blonde's best friend on any given day, but when it comes to repairing bonds lost through damage (AKA your beloved pool/ocean dips) it's absolutely unbeatable.


Take it to the tone

Not to keep banging on about it, but washing your strands after swimming is a major factor. And while incorporating a clarifying shampoo into your weekly washing routine is a huge help, picking up a blonde shampoo for the washes in between will ensure your tone stays put. So, why not pick up one that not only bolsters the blonde but also works to add nourishing hydration back to your strands? It’s a no-brainer really! Our fave brassiness-buster? GROW Brighter Blonder Shampoo ($14.99 at Priceline)

Main image credit: @hoskelsa

Can't decide whether blonde is the right move? Allow the celebs who've rocked both blonde and brunette to help you decide...