Let’s face it, it’s impossible to get that wet hair flicking pose right with a chlorine-soaked afro. Between the shrinkage and the damage the chemicals could be doing to your hair, trying and failing isn’t even worth it.

This doesn’t mean that women with natural hair have to avoid a swim. Here are some tips to keep your hair healthy without depriving yourself of a refreshing dip in the pool.

Related: 10 Essentials every natural hair girl should own

We found a swimming cap that will fit

Gone are the days of struggling to fit all your hair into a swimming cap, pulling, stretching and ripping your swimming cap and possibly injuring your hair (or yourself). Swimming caps now come made to accommodate big hair! Whether you have dreadlocks, an afro or braids, there are finally swimming caps out there to protect your hair without risking your sanity. You probably won’t look your best, but knowing your hair is well protected will make your swim a lot more relaxing.

Swimma Caps is a proudly South African company that makes swimming caps to accommodate big hair; they’re comfortable and come in cool designs too.

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After-swim routine for natural hair

Your hair may look shrunken but healthy after a shower, but swimming is different. The chlorine and other chemicals in swimming pool water are very bad for your hair and the longer you leave them in your hair, the more damage they can do.

It is important to thoroughly rinse your hair as soon as possible after swimming to get the pool water and chemicals off your hair.

A good shampoo and proper wash routine (including conditioning and moisturising) can help to restore your hair’s health and strength.

Related: Natural hair care tips from Serena Williams

Repairing your hair after swimming

Washing your hair after a swim stops the chemicals from damaging your hair further and can contribute to repairing your hair, but if you’re worried about sun and chemical damage, you need to look at specific products.

  • A clarifying shampoo – Clarifying shampoo not only washes dirt and debris out of your hair, but also balances your hair’s PH, neutralising the chemicals and their negative effects on your hair.
  • Protein enriching conditioner – Like your muscles, your hair needs protein to grow strong and healthy. Protein enriching conditioner replenishes the nutrients that are stripped from your hair while swimming and thorough washing. These nutrients are essential for your hair to rebuild its strength.
  • Deep moisturiser – After a swim, your hair needs more than just a regular moisturiser. You need a moisturiser that will nourish your hair and complete the work already done by your shampoo and conditioner; locking in moisture, protecting your hair and nourishing it regularly.

natural hair care, ethnic hair care