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Get Rid of the Green: Blonde Hair and Swimming Pools

After a summer full of swimming, you may have the same problem as my two stepdaughters: bright, vivid green hair from swimming in a pool.  Don’t worry, you aren’t doomed to Incredible Hulk hair forever.

Did you know that despite chlorine being blamed for turning hair green, it’s actually not chlorine’s fault at all?  Oxidized metals in the water bind to the protein in your hair, depositing its color.  Green tint is actually caused by copper (source: About.com Chemistry).   Imbalanced pH levels in the swimming pool also contribute to turning hair green, as metallic material in the water is dissolved.  The imbalanced water rids itself of the excess, leaving suspended copper to attach to your hair and develop the sickly green color (source: PoolManual.com).

The best way to tackle green hair is to prevent it in the first place.  Rinsing your hair with clean tap water before getting into the pool prevents your hair from soaking up as much pool water, since it’s already saturated. Combing a conditioner through your hair before swimming can also prevent copper from binding to your hair.  Last but not least, rinse your hair with tap or distilled water after getting out of the pool.  This not only prevents the green discoloration, it also removes the chemicals that damage and dry your hair.

But if it’s already green, what can be done?  My youngest stepdaughter, after months of swimming in a pool at her other home and no one helping her to take any steps at all to protect her hair, ended up with deep green, dry, brittle hair.  She was embarrassed by it, so I researched how to get rid of the green.

There are many home remedies out there for removing the green from hair, and commercial products, like swimmers’ shampoo, are also available.  I decided to try what seemed like the simplest remedy: baking soda.

When my stepdaughter took her bath, we mixed baking soda with shampoo until it created a paste.  I used just enough shampoo to wet and hold together the baking soda, as it is the baking soda doing most of the work here.  I worked it into her hair until the baking soda/shampoo paste formed a relatively thick mask on her hair, focusing on the darkest green spots.  I set a timer and let the mixture remain on her hair for 10 minutes, then washed it out and used a deep conditioner to repair some of the damage.  Almost all of the green was removed with one treatment.  We followed up the next day with another treatment, and her hair was back to 100% blonde!

Want to try something else?  I haven’t tried any other remedies, but here are other ideas:

How to Remove Green from Hair

Home Remedies to Remove Green Tint from Blonde Hair

How to Remove Green Discoloration from Hair

Preventing and Fixing Green Hair after Swimming

*Green hair image courtesy of AmalieSmidth on Flickr.com*

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Brushing Hair 100 Strokes

Last night I sat sideways on the couch while my boyfriend Gary sat behind me and brushed my hair for me, and all I can say is, I can see why cats close their eyes and purr when they are being petted. It was so relaxing and peaceful I almost fell off the couch.

It reminded me of the old advice to brush your hair 100 times every night for healthy hair, and I decided to do some quick research to see if that is actually good advice.

The argument goes that brushing your hair 100 times would distribute the hair’s natural oils to the ends and strengthen the roots. The counterargument is that such brushing would encourage split ends and beat up the hair.

According to Softpedia.com’s article, Pros and Cons for Brushing the Hair 100 Times a Day, “The “100 strokes” method might have worked centuries ago, when people, and women in particular, would wash the hair only once a month. Lucky for us, this is no longer the case now. All the beauty products currently available are meant to take care of our hair all year round, with awesome results.”

The Hairstyler.com offers these tips for brushing your hair:

* Don’t brush your hair when it is wet. This is because wet hair tends to be weaker and stretches more easily than dry hair and the stress of brushing can actually do more damage than good. Only brush your hair when it is completely dry as you will get the full effect of using a brush on your hair without damaging your hair.

* Try not to brush your hair if it’s curly. Unfortunately the only effect you’re going to get is frizzy curls. You can, however, brush your curls out just before you are about to wash your hair as this will help to take out any excess products.

* A good paddle brush with soft bristles and a wooden frame is the perfect hair styling tool as the plastic and metal brushes we use today can sometimes tear the hair away from the cuticle.

My hair tangles very easily, so I brush my hair before I get into the shower and before I go to bed. Or, sometimes I enlist my boyfriend to brush it for me! (I highly recommend the latter.)

Hair Loss

With all the hair strands I am constantly pulling off my clothes and sweeping up from the bathroom floor, I am astounded that I am not completely bald yet. Ever wonder what normal hair loss is? I wondered, so I checked out Healthscout.com. Shedding 50 to 100 hairs per day is actually normal. At any given time, about 90% of the hair on your scalp is growing, a phase that lasts between 2 and 6 years. The remaining 10% of your hair is in a resting phase that lasts between 2 and 3 months before that hair sheds.

A sudden increase in shedding can be caused by stress, medication, surgery, fever, inadequate protein, and even birth control pills. Read the full article to find out how these factors influence hair loss, and what to do if you think your hair loss is excessive.

Growing Long Hair

One too many bad experiences at the hands of a stylist’s scissors led me somewhat unwittingly to begin growing my hair long again. Many moons ago, my hair reached my waist, and I rather dramatically chopped it all off, up to my chin, because I was tired of being known as the “one with long hair”. I wondered how people would describe me without all the hair!

Hair like this (photo left) is absolutely gorgeous, but at the same time, I cringe at the idea of all the combing, knots, hair in the drain, hair always in the face, buying conditioner in bulk, etc.

If you are trying to grow ridiculously long hair, or if you just want some tips for keeping the hair you have healthy, check out the Ultimate Guide to Growing Long Hair at longlocks.com. Some hair damage seems unavoidable to me; for instance, even with the knowledge that ponytails can strain my hair, there really isn’t much choice when I’m working out, working in the yard, or doing anything that long hair hinders and gets in the way. I have always used tip #12 from this article, combing your hair before shampooing. It helps a LOT with detangling wet hair.

As much as long hair can be a pain, there’s also a luxuriousness to it that I’m not willing to give up yet. I deep condition my hair twice a week with Avon’s Planet Spa African Shea Butter Restorative Hair Mask or with Pantene Pro-V Restoratives Time Renewal Replenishing Mask, and I do my best to do as little damage as possible, but I color my hair and blow dry it a few times a week. Are a few hair sins pardonable if I am not going for waist-long hair?

Avon African Shea Butter Restorative Hair Mask

A week or so ago, I bought Avon’s Planet Spa African Shea Butter Restorative Hair Mask, and it has been waiting patiently in my shower for its debut on my blog! I’ve used it about 4 times and have been pleased with it.

The bottle claims that it “repairs and restores dry, dehydrated and/or overprocessed hair; leaves hair soft, shiny and managable. Contains UV and thermal protection to help prevent against future damage”. Pretty ambitious!

Between coloring my hair, sweating during workouts, tight ponytails, barrettes, the blowdryer, and other daily evils I inflict on my hair, I thought my hair could use some TLC. I left this conditioner in my hair about 5 minutes before rinsing it out, and I had an easier time getting knots combed out, which can be difficult with fine hair. My hair was also softer, and this conditioner smells sweet, like caramel, which I like.

PRO’S: Delicious smell; leaves hair soft and easy to comb; great price (Regular price is $4.99, but it’s currently on sale on Avon.com for $2.99)

CON’s: None, really. For really heavy and deep conditioning, you will likely need another product, but for your average head of hair, this conditioner does a nice job.