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