Behold, the hack: “If you want to protect your hair from chlorine in the pool, add a little conditioner to your hair,” Newman says. “It’s a great barrier from the chlorine on your hair.”
Why does this work? You see, while chlorine splits open the hair shaft and sucks out all the moisture, conditioners, by nature, help seal down the cuticle and add back hair-healthy nutrients. “Conditioner’s role is to increase the moisture content of the hair and improve its elasticity, smooth the cuticle, and soften the hair fiber,” writes hair consultant and trichologist Sarah Roberts about types of conditioners. It’s like the antithesis of chlorine-ravaged hair—it keeps your strands soft, shiny, and healthy.
In terms of which conditioner to use, you have options: Use a leave-in for easy application (as many come in spray nozzles); a rinse-out conditioner for tons of slip (especially helpful if your hair tends to become matted post-swim); or a deep conditioner if you really want to ramp up the nutrients. “Think of deep conditioners as a five-star meal for your hair,” says Roberts. This fragrance-free, dermatologist-approved option from SEEN Hair Care fits the bill.
At the pool, simply rake your product of choice through your strands before dunking. Newman applies his conditioner to wet locks, but you can saturate dry strands as well—in fact, it may be helpful to provide a protective coating before coming into contact with any chlorine. Or if it’s easier to comb the conditioner through wet hair, you can always step under the shower spray for a hot minute and apply your conditioner there (just don’t rinse it out!).