Swimming and Afro Hair Part III

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Back to the pool again this Easter and I have updated my swim regime a bit since my last post, Swimming and Afro Hair Part II. Swimming is  a great way to get exercise  it burns of the calories, works all the muscles in your body and boosts metabolism. This type of exercise is also less stressful on your bones and muscles due to the weightless effect that you get when immersed in water. 

My biggest problem when I decided to start taking care of my hair was chlorine. Chlorine is a disinfectant added to pools to break down dirt and oil so that we are not swimming in filth. As such chlorine will also remove the natural oils from your hair and scalp which are there to protect the hair making it dry and brittle. Chlorine affects the hair's outer protein layer, the cuticle, most by removing the sebum (natural hair oil) that nourishes and coats the hairs fiber. This can cause breakage and damage and the hair fiber and cuticle can crack and split. You should be particular careful if you have colour treated or chemically relaxed hair.

Protecting Afro Hair from Chlorine

Before you get in the water:
  • If you get the chance the night before , cat your hair in coconut oil. Coconut Oil is absorbed into the strand and stops the hair swelling with water once it is wet.
  • Wet the hair with fresh water again trying to prevent the chlorinated water getting into your hair.
  • Before swimming I coat my hair in Shea Butter, this is a new discovery for me. Shea Butter provides a protective barrier from chlorine and isn't as easily washed out as a conditioner which is what I was using before. 
  • Jamaican Black Castor Oil is also a very thick oil that can coat the hair before going into the water and if you are short of shea butter this can also be used.
  • I keep a 30ml pot of Hug My Hair's Vintage in my Swim Bag  to use on my hair. Contains both Shea Butter and JBCO.
  • A protective style like cornrows or twists stops water getting to your hair quite so easily.
  • If you have one wear a swim cap. It might not prevent the chlorinated water getting to your hair altogether but the exposure will be much less.
After Swimming:
  • Rinse the hair throughly when you leave the pool.
  • Use a shampoo with citric acid or phytic acid in the ingredients. I am not so keen on Swimmers Shampoos as they are incredibly drying but there are some natural swimmers shampoos (eg Aubrey Organics Swimmers Shampoo or California Baby's swim shampoo) that I might try in the future.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Rinses are also good for removing chlorine deposits.
  • Condition with a Protein Reconstructor and/or a moisturising conditioner.
Are you planning on getting back into swimming this summer. It would be a shame not to just because of your hair.

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity 
Leilu


Sources:
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/style/swim-workout
http://womenshair.about.com/od/healthyhairmaintenance/a/How-Will-Chlorine-Effect-My-Hair.htm
http://voices.yahoo.com/how-protect-black-hair-chlorine-damage-6358254.html?cat=69

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