Natural girls, get ready to take a dip in the water this summer, but don’t forget to protect those strands. From chlorine damage to tangled tresses, your hair must be protected at all costs when going for a swim. Follow our easy before and after tips to maintain moisturized and healthy hair.

Thoroughly Wet Your Hair with Water Before You Dive In

This will help minimize the amount of chlorine and salt (from beach water) that your hair absorbs, which is known to cause breakage and dryness. Your hair will absorb the fresh water first, leaving little room for the chlorine or beach water to penetrate your hair. 

Use a Protectant

Adding a coat of oil or protectant will aid in minimizing chlorine water penetration while moisturizing your strands. Coconut oil is a preferred favorite, but we also love the Philip Kingsley Swimcap cream, which contains UV protection and shields hair from the damaging effects of the sun. 

Wear a Protective Hairstyle to Prevent Tangling

From flat twists to buns to braids to bantu knots, the list goes on for protective hairstyles. As long as your hair isn't out in the elements, your hair is most likely being protected. Pick a style and rock it to the beach or pool to prevent tangling and minimize chlorine water absorption.  

Nix the Swim Cap

Contrary to popular belief, the typical swim cap doesn't really keep your hair from getting wet. However, that's not the reason we're saying you should think about doing without. Swim caps can be a bit snug on your scalp, causing pulling and tugging of your hair and edges. This could lead to breakage. If you must use a swim cap, be sure that your edges aren't being pulled too tightly. Also, add a few more drops of an essential oil or cream to your edges before putting on your cap. 

Use a Normalizing or Clarifying Shampoo After You Dip

Immediately after a swim, wash your hair with a clarifying or normalizing shampoo. These will actually remove the chlorine and build-up you obtain during your swim. Be very careful when selecting, as many clarifying shampoos can dry out your hair because of the chemicals used in many products. Need a few suggestions? Try Carol's Daughter Clarifying Shampoo or the UltraSwim Shampoo Chlorine Removal Replenishing Shampoo.

Use a Deep Conditioning Masque After You Shampoo

Restore your hair's nutrients with a deep conditioning masque like Shea Moisture's Deep Treatment Masque. This will also help restore moisture. 

Comb Through Hair with a Wide Tooth Comb

Avoid using a brush right after your hair maintenance routine post-swimming. Using a wide tooth comb will give your hair a break and detangle without added stress and possible breakage.