Spring break, Summer vacation, and the end of the school year all mean one thing, fun in the sun and the water!
As a curly hair girl myself, swimming with mixed hair was a hit or miss kind of thing. Sometimes I’d come out of the pool looking like a mermaid, other times I’d come out looking like Buckweet.
But of course that was all before I understood the rules to curly hair and how to best optimize my regime. So lets dive into some 3 tips for swimming with curly hair!
1 . Prep Your Hair Before You Dive In
You want to make sure that your hair is thoroughly moisturized and coated in your favorite products before you take your dive into the water.
Your hair products help to form a layer of protection on your strands to combat the higher pH levels of the chlorinated water, ocean water, and lake water.
It is very important that you follow your L.O.C method hours before your water trip. This ensures that your hair has ample time to absorb the moisture and seep into the hair shaft. This is especially true for my Low Porosity curl girls.
To dive further into the importance of prepping our hair, lets talk about our hair’s chemical make up.
Our hair is covered by a slightly acidic film called the Acid Mantle, this is important in protecting your hair from alkaline contaminants that will disrupt the acid mantle and penetrate the hair shaft.
A healthy Acid Mantle is maintained by products with a low pH level, this in turn will restrict the cuticles of the hair shaft closing them tightly around the cortex (the inner heart of your hair shaft), and causing them to lie flat against one another, aka no frizzy tangled mess.
2 . Use Products that Combat the Water’s pH Levels
As I was saying in the above tip, you need to coat your hair with products hours before taking a dip. But not any product will do!
Different types of water have different pH levels. Just as water has different pH levels, your curly hair products have different pH levels!
So to best maximize the protection you hair is getting you want to make sure that you are fighting the pH levels from the water by using products that neutralize the water’s effects on your hair.
Damage to the hair strand occurs when the hair is not returned to its normal pH level of 4.5 – 5.5, this in turn affects the protein structure creating straining effects on the hair’s texture, elasticity, and fragility.
You can simply look up any of your product pH level online by going to the products website. Remember that products from the same brand work best together to bring you hair back to a neutralized pH level.
Product mixing is important in perfecting curly hair regimes, so make sure you’re mixing products around the same pH level range.
Here are some pH water levels to get you started on your next water adventure:
- pool chlorine has a pH level of 7.2 – 7.6
- ocean water has a pH level of 7.5 – 8.4
- lake water has a pH level of 6.5 – 8.5 (but ranges widely).
3 . Rinse, Wash, and Add More Product
So once all your splashing around is finished you need to rinse all that water out before allowing it to dry, then follow up with more product.
You’re probably asking me “How Sway?” Well hold on, because it’s easier that it sounds!
Be prepared to take your curly hair care products with you when you go on a water trip. Summer dryness and unmanageability on curly hair is mainly attributed to chlorinated water damage.
So before letting the damage soak in, prep your pool bag with some essentials.
My Tip : I take a giant purse and fill it with all my mixed hair care needs. This includes :
- 2 – 3 bottles of water to rinse out my hair (if I’m going to a place that may not have showers),
- Clarifying or Deep cleansing shampoo to neutralize the pH of my hair
- Leave in or Styling creams to restore the moisture lost
If you’d like to maintain healthy moisturized curls all summer long, follow these 3 simple steps.
Don’t let chlorinated water and different pH levels stress out your strands. Prepare yourself and your routine before hand, and enjoy moisturized manageable hair.