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Hair Experts Reveal 3 Tips to Fix Green Hair After Swimming

Blonde hair is more fragile than anyone can think. This type of hair can be more prone to breakage and can be easily damaged by different styling methods such as heat-styling.

It can also easily break when it gets wet which is why this hair should avoid heat-styling tools.

Another reason why it is susceptible to damage is that its hair color can easily turn green when exposed to certain chemicals such as chlorine and copper.

In this blog, we will tackle reasons why blonde hair gets green pigment after swimming and how to avoid it.

Why does blonde hair turn green?

A common issue happening with blonde hair or light-colored hair is when they get out of the pool. Usually, its strands turn green after it comes into contact with chlorine and copper ions found in the swimming pool, which prevents algae growth.

Copper is the main enemy of blonde hair as it creates a film that binds into the hair’s protein or keratin.

If you also added colored hair that was exposed to the sun and heat styling, it would be more susceptible to copper and chlorine in the water. 

Even if you have highlighted dark hair and it has been exposed to the sun, there will be fading of color.

A study also indicated that increased copper content can always affect hair but previous hair damage such as bleaching, dyeing, sun exposure, and waving, can also transform hair into green hair.

How to prevent green hair?

Green discolored hair is not stunning to look at. It’s crunchy, dry, brittle, and has an off-putting green tint that should not stick with hair.

To prevent this disaster from happening, some tips will keep hair healthy and maintain that solid blonde or light-colored hair.

PowerYourCurls dermatologist Dr. Hamdan Abdullah Hamed advised using a color-safe shampoo and conditioner that are designed for blonde hair. Most of these shampoos are sulfate and paraben-free to maintain the color and health of the hair.

Some products you can get are Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, Earth Supplied Silicone Free Rinse Out Conditioner, and Gro Secrets Creme Conditioner.

Dr. Hamed also advised oil and leave-in treatment that will lock in moisture and prevent copper and chlorine water from being absorbed by color-treated hair. 

“These treatments allow nutrients to soak in that is better than regular shampoos and conditioners. Ensure that you rinse off the product completely and leave it on for five to 10 minutes,” explained Dr. Hamed.

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Dr. Hamed recommended Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Elixir Essentials Hair And Scalp Oil: Collagen, Tea Tree Oil, & Eucalyptus and Earth Supplied Leave – In Conditioner to do the trick.

When using oil, Dr. Hamed advised doing a hot oil treatment to effectively protect hair from metals in the water.

Another option is visiting the salon to create a protective barrier from the chlorine and copper mixture in the pool. Ask for a glossing or sealing treatment that can ensure protection and prevent green tint.

Other protective measures are wearing a swimming hat and installing a filter in the shower. 

PowerYourCurls hairstylist Gwenda Harmon advised that these simple measures can prevent chlorine water and copper ions from coming into the hair.

A protective shower filter will also protect hair from all impurities, including copper ions being mixed into the tap water.

PowerYourCurls trichologist Dr. Faisal Hammadi also advised pre-soaking hair with clear water, which is clean and doesn’t have copper ions or any dirt. 

“This will allow the hair to absorb moisture from the clean water. It will also protect highly porous hair from chlorine and copper. Hair will already be wet and filled with clean water, which will less likely for it to absorb the metals in the water,” explained Dr. Hammadi.

After swimming, Dr. Hammadi also advised using a clarifying shampoo as a post-wash routine. This will make sure that all the chlorine and copper residue is off your blonde hair.

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How do you fix green hair?

It can be inevitable to revive blonde hair to its natural color, once the green pigment starts appearing in the strands. This is a common issue for people who swim a lot and find problems with maintaining their hair care routine.

To dislodge the green tint, Dr. Hammadi advised starting with a deep cleansing treatment. An example is a specialized shampoo that can wash away chlorine and oxidation damage from copper ions sticking in hair strands. Try using  Maui Moisture Color Protection + Sea Minerals Conditioner to remove any residue. 

For a home remedy, Dr. Hammadi recommended using a baking soda solution, which is a more affordable option. To do this, mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup of baking soda with water in a bowl until you create a paste. Once this is done, evenly distribute the mixture into the hair that has a green tint. 

Then, massage the mixture into the affected strands for about two to three minutes. Afterwards, take a shower and wash your hair. Use a conditioner like Aloe and Mint Collections: Cool It! Stimulating Moisturizing Conditioner to lock in moisture as baking soda can make hair dry. 

Repeat this baking soda remedy as needed as the green tint may be intense and difficult to remove.

Another way to remove the green tint is clarifying shampoo, which has strong surfactants designed to remove copper from blonde hair. Dr. Hammadi recommends Twisted Sista Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo to neutralize green hair.

Should I see a hairstylist to fix my green hair?

Female hairdresser using hairbrush and hair dryer

When home remedies and deep clean treatments don’t work, you can always ask a hairstylist or simply go to a salon to fix the hair color.

Harmon advised asking for a repair of the colors by adding warm tones which will cancel out the green tint that stained your beautiful locks.

To prevent chlorine or other unwanted chemicals in your hair while swimming, Harmon said salons can also help by availing glossing or sealing services which will lock in cuticles on the hair. Another way is asking for an oil treatment, which can also be done at home.

What hair types are at risk of swimming?

You may want to think twice before diving into the pool if you have a certain hair type that is vulnerable to the chemicals and chlorine. 

As mentioned above, color-treated hair or any chemically treated hair is likely to be susceptible to damage and color alteration.

Another vulnerable hair type is dry and thin hair. It is likely to get damaged because it is thinning and overly dry, which will be more of a disaster after soaking in chlorine and copper ions. This goes the same for damaged hair too.

To protect fine hair, pre-wash hair with gentle shampoos such as Shea Miracle Sulfate Free Detangling Shampoo and Curls Creamy Curl Cleanser Sulfate Free Shampoo. 

Applying hair oil and leave-in conditioner also helps create a barrier to seal moisture and prevent chlorine and copper ions from affecting the hair.

Harmon advised wearing a ponytail if you have long and fine hair which will also minimize the risk of damage from chlorine and copper.

Permed and relaxed hair may also experience more issues when it gets weakened because it gets wet and absorbs harmful chemicals in the pool.

To prevent damage while swimming, your permed or relaxed hair should be pre-soaked and washed with leave-in conditioner. This will create a seal that can protect hair from chlorine and copper damage, said Dr. Hammadi. Dove Amplified Textures Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner is the best job for protecting all types of coils, kinks, and other types of hair.

Dr Hamdan Hamed Abdullah

Dr Hamdan Hamed Abdullah

Dr. Hamdan Abdullah Hamed MBChB, co-founder of, is a UAE-based board-certified dermatologist. Committed to natural hair care, he's been quoted in MSN, Yahoo, The Mirror UK, Daily Mail UK, Chronicle Live, Gulf News, among others. He specializes in natural hair care, supporting individuals with a range of hair textures to achieve their hair goals