Swimming Hair Care Tips

Yes, I am a swimmer. I learned how to swim just a year ago at North Lake Community College.  I went faithfully twice a week and on my own at least 2 other times during a week.  Before this, I could only doggy paddle so for those of you who are afraid, you can do it!

Being a black swimmer is just about as rare as being a black tri-athlete. However, hair care is the most critical aspect to me in swimming.  So here are my hair care tips if your are a swimmer.

Tip #1- Swimming Cap

Here are the basics about swimming caps.  Latex caps are the most popular as they have a very tight fit. They are super cheap as you can buy one for about 2 dollars. These keep out the most water but also can harsh on your hair.  Silicone caps normally have awesome designs, are thicker and a bit more expensive. They are softer on your hair but don’t keep out as much water out as Latex. Lycra caps are lightweight and don’t pull on your hair. They are not designed to keep water out, by the way, just to keep the hair out of our face.  I ALWAYS use Lycra cap first then a latex cap over it.  If you do not swim a lot, I recommend a silicone cap to start off with.

Tip #2- Pre-Condition

Before you start swimming, make sure you add some conditioner to your hair. Even though I have on my swim cap(s), the edges of my hair tends to always get wet. To keep my hair from the harmful effects of chlorine, I always add on some cheap conditioner before I hit the pool.

Tip #3- Swimmers Shampoo

I didn’t think this would make a difference but it does. Swimmers shampoo and conditioners are critical if you are swimming regularly. I don’t mind my car smelling like chlorine but I refuse to have my hair smelling like it. These shampoos and conditioners remove chlorine, chemicals and minerals from your hair.  I am a fan of Malibu. Its a shampoo, conditioner and body wash all in one. It only cost $6 too! 

These are just a few tips on how to care for your hair while swimming. I am sure as I begin to swim more I will update this and add in more things but  for now this is a foundation for swimmers.

Tip #4 Conditioner

Chlorine will dry your hair out and cause it to become brittle and break if you are not careful. Be sure to add a good leave-in conditioner after you wash with your swimmers shampoo. Your hair will thank you!

Tip #5 Moisture

After you’ve shampooed and conditioned your hair don’t forget to moisturize it! A light moisturizing spray (like Sporty Afros G+) or a little oil will go a long way.


  • yaya says:

    Thank GOD I found this website. I was searching for tips on protecting my natural hair as swimmer and I couldn’t find any until now. I swim about 4-5 days week. My question is should I wash my hair EVERY day that i’m in the pool? Or the last day during the week that I am in the pool?

  • Whitney says:

    Thanks! I wash my hair every time I get out of the pool. The key is to make sure you replenish the moisture every time. Use a GOOD leave in conditioner and make sure to use a water-based moisturizer and an oil to seal in the moisture once your hair is dry. I would deep condition as much as possible too.

  • Jessica says:

    Thanks for the great advice! Does doubling up on the caps keep the water OUT? I’m try to find a dry hair solution. It’s difficult swimming before work and having to wash, dry and style hair

  • Lady Edwards says:

    I am new to triathlons, started swimming last year. I have tried numerous caps, and my hair is always wet. The cap is really keeping the hair out of my face, the hair is soaked. I have a 4c? Hair type, and I have a really hard time styling my hair and going to work. If I leave it in an Afro with moisture it still gets too brittle. Please give any tips that you have!! Thanks

    • Alexandria says:

      You might have to perfect a wash and go. After washing your hair, you will need to deep condition it. Also find a slippery leave in conditioner that helps close the cuticles. You might want to mix you own leave in with a gel and cream based. Add oil to the ends of the hair and your scalp. Hope this helps a little bit. (I have 4c hair as well.)

  • Rachida Koch says:

    So glad I found this website. I’m trying to get fit &healthy and I find that swimming is such a great work out for me. Wasn’t sure how often is safe to swim though, because of my hair. These tips were very helpful and I can now approach the pool with so much less worry

  • Mio says:

    Are we required to apply hair oil after applying the conditioner.

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