4 Tips for Swimming with Natural Hair

Hey Loves!

Summer is fast approaching and as the days grow hotter, we are all going to be seeking out ways to beat the summer heat. Spending the days and nights at the pool or beach during the summer months is a must! But like most kinky-coily-curly gals we often times choose not to participate in having too much fun in the water, simply because of the fear of getting our hair wet.

I’ve lived in a country surrounded by the Caribbean Sea all my life, so swimming at the beach has always been a part of my life. When I first went natural I didn’t take any extra steps when going swimming but as my hair grew in length, swimming freely felt like a chore more than having fun. Whether swimming in a pool filled with chlorinated water or the salty sea, your hair is susceptible to becoming damaged.

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Pre-Poo using Coconut Oil (unrefined & organic)

Before taking a dip in the water, apply coconut oil (my preferred oil of choice) to your tresses. Not only will the coconut oil act as a protective barrier for your hair against salt or chlorine. But it will also help to strengthen the shaft of your hair and also retain moisture by sealing moisture into the hair shaft.

Saturate Your Hair

Okay, this one may sound weird and perhaps a bit tedious too but after trying it myself I can truthfully swear by this tip. I know you’re probably asking yourself, ‘why in the world would anyone wet their hair BEFORE getting in the water?’ In short, saturated hair will simply soak up less sea salt or chlorine than dry hair will.

Still now following? Think of a sponge. If you place the sponge in water, it absorbs the water until fully saturated. If you take that now saturated sponge and place it in the ocean or a pool, the sponge will not be able to absorb much more water because it is already filled with water. Now think of our hair like a sponge, if we saturate our hair with water before hopping in the pool, our hair will absorb the fresh water, and there will be little room for the salt water or chlorine to penetrate your hair.

Coat the Hair with Conditioner

By adding a generous amount of conditioner to your hair before going swimming you minimize the amount of chlorine that can penetrate the hair. Like using an oil, the conditioner will seal the hairs cuticle which in turn creates a barrier between your strands and the chlorine or salt water.

I personally opt for moisturizing conditioners that gives lots of slip because I find that after swimming my hair doesn’t feel as parched which allows for easier detangling.

Protective Styling

I was once told that we shouldn’t be swimming with out kinks, curls and coils flowing around us freely because it’s a recipe for disaster. A tangled mess of a disaster! But since applying the conditioning method above, I’ve realized for my hair type there really is no need for protective styling (unless I go cliff jumping, but thats an entire different story).

You can either wear your hair in a swim cap or in a protective hair style like flat twists and braids. If I had to choose, I’d definitely go with the latter. Not only are swim caps unflattering, but they are hard to fit on a head full of coils. Plus they pull at your hairline which can cause your edges to weaken, and lord knows how much we love our edges! In my opinion, if you don’t wish to leave your hair out while swimming, pick a protective hair style that works for you (I like doing two big braids) to keep your hair from becoming tangled or even worst…matted!

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Post Swim Rules

What you do after swimming is just as important as the steps you take before taking a dip. If you plan on being in and out of the water all day, try to rinse hair with water each time you get out. If you’re as hard core as I am, apply a little more conditioner for extra protection before diving back in.

Once home, rinse hair thoroughly with water, followed by using a clarifying shampoo, then lastly apply a deep conditioner to help replace any moisture that may have been lost while swimming in the salty sea water or the chlorinated pool.

I really hope you take these tips with you on your next visit to the pool or beach. If you do, be sure to let me know if any of these tips helped (or not). In the comment section below also let me know what you do to prep your hair before taking a dip!? Talk Soon. Nuff Love, Natasha ♥

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If you are curious about my hair in these shots, this was a 3 day old wash and go that was picked out at the root and midway down my hair shaft to create volume and to loosen up my curl definition. Once I achieved the desired amount of volume and texture, I finger coiled the tips of the hairs that frame my face.

Alikay Naturals Products used for wash & go: Lemongrass Leave In, Shea Yogurt Moisturizer, Creme Brûlée Curling Delight & Glazed Argan Oil Silkener

To Create Coil at the tips of hair: Aloe Berry Styling Gel

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15 Comments

  1. May 19, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    I took no care whenever I was going in water before now but reading this made me realize how beneficial it can be. Thanks luv!

    • May 26, 2017 / 12:39 pm

      Welcome babe! Yes it is still very very important to protect our tresses before and after swimming. xoxo

  2. May 19, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    Do you put the oil AND conditioner in you hair or either one is fine?

    • May 26, 2017 / 12:39 pm

      Either or is fine love, But I must admit I’ve combined the two before swimming and it worked just as well.

  3. camille (afrochickcc)
    May 19, 2017 / 2:47 pm

    ok ok ok yesssss so first let me say I always do the conditioner method and it has never failed me but…. you just broke my screen my phone me go blind me go deaf whhhyyyyyy? Must you slay mey entire existence girl I don’t think I have seen anything more beautiful. You and Manny just need fi have one bag a pretty pickini and done lawd of his mercy.

    • May 26, 2017 / 12:41 pm

      I think the conditioner method is my favorite method too! and hahaha I always love your comments! BTW, Manny loved reading the last sentence of your comment more than anything else. covers face lol

  4. Aisha
    May 19, 2017 / 4:05 pm

    Love thanks for sharing! Now for the details in this beautiful dress!!!

    • May 26, 2017 / 12:38 pm

      Hey Aisha, You are very very welcome. The dress is by @Tresor_Luxx based in Florida.

  5. Dani
    May 19, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    As someone who usually does 3 to 4 dives in saltwater a day, I stand by coconut oil and even JBCO mixed with coconut oil. Also, the sun affects your hair as well, particularly with salt water in it, so protective styling and regular trims are a must. With protective styling e.g. braids, you still have to rinse with fresh water and condition, and not keep them in longer than 3-4 weeks 🙂 hope that’s helpful.

    • May 26, 2017 / 12:36 pm

      Hey Dan, WOW!!! Are you a deep sea diver? Thats AWESOME if you are because I’m dying to go deep sea diving! Yes I totally agree about the sun and how much it can affect our hair. Thank you so much for sharing love.

  6. Rochelle
    May 20, 2017 / 12:14 am

    I was saying to myself what if I want to swim (Going Mobay for the weekend) how can I protect my hair? And 4 hours later I see your post on instagram. Thanks for being awesome. This was of great help.

    • May 26, 2017 / 12:34 pm

      hahaha! What a coincidence! So happy it helped and I hope your weekend of fun in Mobay was awesome!!!

  7. June 4, 2017 / 11:44 am

    Wow! Thanks you so much for the tips!!

    • June 5, 2017 / 7:31 am

      You are very welcome! I hope they help on your next pool or beach trip ❤️

  8. June 5, 2017 / 2:01 am

    Thanks for sharing this.Call it swimming sexily!