Can Coconut Oil Really Protect Your Hair From Chlorine And Salt Water?

Swimming can be a fabulous way to exercise your body. Unfortunately, it's not necessarily as beneficial for your hair. Whether you're in a pool or an ocean, you might be subjecting your strands to water that's filled with harmful chlorine or salt water. Kala Kilshaw, a stylist at Ego Professional, told Good Housekeeping, "While a natural, air-dried tousled wave can look particularly good on most face shapes, too much salt water can do some damage to your hair. Sea water and chlorine both swell the cuticle on the outside layer of the hair, making it look damaged. It also makes hair more tangled and knotty, ... and irritates the scalp."

On top of that, your hair might experience additional unwanted effects if it's dyed. "While salt-water can be drying on the hair, chlorine is especially hard on color-treated hair because chlorine is an oxidizing chemical, just like a household bleach," Katie Newgard of Keracolor explained to Stylecaster. Pointing out how color in fabric can fade when you spill bleach on your clothes, which is what chlorine can do to your hair. Newgard went on to say, "Chlorine found in pools ... is simply washing your expensive color down the drain, along with the health of your hair. It's the number one reason why hair color fades or becomes dull so quickly."

While that may sound dire to anyone who loves to swim, hair experts recommend using coconut oil to protect your hair (via Glamour).

Coconut oil can create a protective barrier on your hair

It's totally understandable if you now imagine your hair cringing every time you contemplate going for a swim. Along with the other ways that you potentially put your hair at risk every time you go for a dip, hairstylist Lauren Grummel told Glamour, "Chlorine and salt water make your hair extremely dry and brittle." In order to prevent that as well as other possible damage, you can put coconut oil to good use, thanks to the fact that it can create a protective layer between your hair and either chlorine or salt water.

All you need to do is get your hair wet in a shower or maybe bring a water bottle with you to the beach that you can pour onto your head for this purpose. Now, simply add coconut oil to your hair. Make sure to work it in so that it fully coats and covers each strand. If you're still worried about your marvelous mane, then you can also pop on a swim cap.

Of course, whenever you come out of the water, be sure to wash your hair and your swim cap, if you're using one, so that you get any chlorine or salt water off your hair as well as the coconut oil. On the other hand, you might want to give the coconut oil a little more time to benefit your hair in a few other ways.

Coconut oil will do more than just protect your hair

While coconut oil is busy protecting your luscious locks from chlorine and salt water, it can also give your hair a boost in various other ways that you'll surely appreciate. For instance, Shari Marchbein, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, told Byrdie, "Coconut oil can help to strengthen hair and nourish the scalp (as well as reduce oil buildup)."

Beyond that, coconut oil can provide your hair with much-needed nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which will leave your strands moisturized. That means it will also provide a boost to hair that's already dry, perhaps after swimming in chlorine or salt water. Indeed, even if your hair has suffered from the effects of doing laps in less-than-ideal H2O, coconut oil can help bring it back to life by targeting and fixing the damage.

At the same time, you need to be aware of the fact that coconut oil may be better suited for those with curly or natural hair, as well as those with particularly dry strands. If you have fine, thin, or oily hair, then you might want to stick to only using coconut oil occasionally or find something else that will be a more appropriate choice for your hair while generally working in the same way.