How to keep my hair dry while swimming?
September 24, 2013 9:40 PM   Subscribe

My mid back length hair is very thick and is color treated. I've been thinking about lap swimming for exercise, but how can I manage my hair? I usually wash it once a week, do not use hair dryers and like to let it air dry. It usually takes several hours for my hair to air dry, which is fine for once a week, but I can't imagine having wet hair 5 days a week. Another concern is the chlorine effecting the dark blonde color and turning it green. A swim cap would be logical, but my research shows they are not waterproof. How do I keep my hair healthy while trying to keep my body healthy?
posted by JujuB to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Silicone swim caps are very good at keeping your hair dry - they're not perfect but the bulk of your hair should stay dry if worn properly.
posted by missmagenta at 11:25 PM on September 24, 2013

Silicone swim caps do work pretty well for people with short to medium length hair. But if you've got long, heavy, or particularly curly or wavy locks, a dry suit hood, along with some petroleum jelly on your face in the area around the seal, and around your neck where the hood would normally meet the rest of the dry suit might work for you. It would certainly add buoyancy to your head. But the drawback might be that such gear can complicate your breathing, if you're not using a snorkel.
posted by paulsc at 11:29 PM on September 24, 2013

I have a silicone speedo swim cap for long hair that is pretty waterproof. If I actually bothered to put it on properly, the hair around the nape of my neck would probably stay dry. In other words, I have some leakage with a silicone cap, but I think it's mostly user error.

This question is making me want to go for a swim - very badly!
posted by ablazingsaddle at 12:13 AM on September 25, 2013

I don't really understand your question - you want to keep your hair dry, but want a solution other than a swim cap?
posted by devnull at 1:11 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

This goes against keeping your hair dry but to keep the chlorine out, wetting your hair before getting in the water and covering it with conditioner before putting on a cap works like a charm. This is what I used to do, but I had to accept using a dryer afterwards.
posted by mkdirusername at 2:54 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

My pool requires that everyone wear swim caps; you may not have much choice in that matter.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:50 AM on September 25, 2013

I don't really understand your question - you want to keep your hair dry, but want a solution other than a swim cap?

I think the question is more like "I want to keep my hair dry and I've heard a swim cap may not be good enough".

Metroid Baby has a good point that you may be required to wear a cap regardless. The "not quite waterproof" thing is more about leakage around the face and back of the head as opposed to the cap itself being porous; but the better the cap, the lesser the effect. So you may want to just invest in a really really good one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:52 AM on September 25, 2013

In my experience, getting a silicone cap over long thick hair is a workout unto itself. The fresh water+conditioner tactic has worked well for me, though.

Perhaps instead of swimming 5 times a week, you only swim once or twice, and find other things to do the other days.
posted by ambrosia at 8:51 AM on September 25, 2013

Unfortunately, in my experience, getting a swim cap onto DRY hair is very, very difficult. I have to wet my hair first to even get the silicone cap on. So I can't even tell how effective it is at keeping pool water off my hair.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:59 AM on September 25, 2013

Did you know that there are specific swim caps made for long hair? And that there are protective caps for long hair that are meant to go underneath a regular cap? There's the regular long hair cap that Speedo makes. There's also this nifty protective cap for long hair that they make (the Fastskin 3 Hair Management System is what they're calling it). The reviews are mixed and I'm afraid I've never tried it myself, but at $30 it's one of the cheaper swim gear options out there if you want to give it a shot.

As for personal opinion, I've never been able to completely avoid getting my hair wet while swimming and my hair (medium length since I just got 4'' cut off) takes forever to dry. I still swim 4 days a week--even when I lived in the Great White North and my wet hair would freeze and break off. So I guess what I'm saying is that you can adapt if you like the swimming enough.
posted by librarylis at 9:42 PM on September 25, 2013

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