4 June 2024

Can You Swim with Hair Extensions? Everything You Need to Know

The short answer is yes, you can swim with hair extensions! However, it's crucial to take the right precautions to keep your extensions (and your natural hair) looking their best. Whether you're hitting the pool, ocean, or lake, here's what you need to know.

Understanding the Risks

Water, especially chlorinated or salty water, can be harsh on hair extensions. Here’s why:

  • Dryness and Tangling: Prolonged contact with chlorine and salt can strip the scalp of natural oils, leading to dry, brittle hair that is prone to tangling.
  • Bond / Tape Weakening: The chemicals and minerals in water can weaken the attachment points of certain extension types, causing them to slip or fall out.
  • Fading: When exposed for long periods of time, chlorine can cause colour treated synthetic hair and human hair extensions to fade.

Tips to protect your hair extensions while enjoying the water

Woman on the beach with hair extensions

Choose the Right Extensions

  • Human Hair: High-quality (Remy) human hair extensions are the best option for swimming, as they fluff up along with your natural hair. Synthetic and processed human hair causes separation when they’re humid which makes it obvious you’re wearing extensions.
  • Tape-in or Keratin Bonds: These tend to be more water-resistant than other methods.
  • Clip-ins: If possible, remove clip-in extensions before swimming, as they’re easy to apply.

Prep Your Hair

  • Wet Your Hair: Before entering the water, thoroughly wet your hair with fresh water. This helps to minimize the absorption of chlorine or salt.
  • Condition (optional): Apply a leave-in conditioner to your extensions, focusing on the mid-lengths and ends, which creates a protective barrier.
  • Braid it: Braid your hair or put it in a loose bun to prevent tangling.
  • Swim Cap: If you’re a frequent swimmer, consider wearing a swim cap to further shield your extensions.

Post-Swim Care is Essential

  • Rinse Immediately: As soon as you get out of the water, rinse your hair thoroughly with fresh water to remove chlorine or salt. Do your best to avoid salt or chlorine from drying in your hair.
  • Gentle Shampoo and Condition: Wash your hair with a sulfate-free, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner designed for extensions.
  • Detangle: Use a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle your hair, starting from the ends and working your way up.
  • Deep Condition: Treat your hair to a deep conditioning mask once a week to replenish moisture.

Additional Tips

  • Limit Exposure: Try to avoid spending extended periods of time in the water with your extensions.
  • Dry Carefully: Avoid rubbing your hair with a towel. Instead, gently squeeze or patt out excess water and let it air dry if possible.
  • Consult Your Stylist: If you have any concerns about swimming with your extensions, always talk to your hair stylist for personalised advice.

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Louie Bridges
Louie Bridges is a front-end web developer and content writer specialising in SEO with four years of experience. He is the founder of Visible Websites, a digital marketing agency that helps to expand brands' online presence and make websites, well... more visible!
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