Most people know that chlorine can turn blond hair green. But what causes this reaction in the first place, and more importantly, how can you prevent it? In this article, we will explore the science behind why blond hair turns green in the pool, as well as some methods for avoiding it.
Hair becomes green when it is exposed to chlorine often. Chlorine is a chemical that’s used in pool water to kill bacteria, but it also has the unfortunate side effect of turning your hair green.
The chlorine itself does not actually change hair color; rather, it acts on organic matter (e.g., sweat and dirt) which contain certain compounds (like porphyrins) which are precursors for melanin synthesis. When these compounds interact with chlorine, they form substances called chloramines which turn blond hair green.
The main chemical that causes this problem is copper sulfate, which gradually turns hair green due to its use in pools for oxidation. The higher the chlorine levels are in a pool, the worse it will be for your hair. Copper sulfate does not pose any real threat to human health, but prolonged contact with water containing high levels of chlorine, including water from pools and hot tubs, is toxic.
Natural pool chemicals like copper can also cause this reaction. This is why before people started adding chlorine, swimming pools were still somehow kept clean. Copper has this effect because it also forms chloramines when exposed to chlorine in the water. Similarly, if you are using a saltwater pool that adds manganese to reduce algae growth or other similar chemicals, these should be carefully monitored as well since they will have the same effect on your hair color.
Although this is not usually a problem, it is also possible for brown hair to turn green in chlorinated swimming pools. This is because the melanin pigment in brown hair (eumelanin) can be converted into pheomelanin which causes it to lose its color and thus turn green after exposure to chlorine. Luckily, there are shampoos specially formulated for brown or colored-treated hair that help prevent this effect, so if you do have brown hair, try using these before swimming whenever possible.
How does all of this apply to spa pool water?
Since natural mineral content is already present in these pools, the same thing applies as with traditional swimming pools.
From a scientific perspective, though, it’s easy to see why blond-haired people are more prone to having their dyed locks turn green after being exposed to the pool water, but brunettes can also become green-haired after swimming in certain types of pools due to the presence of heavy metals like copper or manganese, most women will not experience this problem as long as they keep using chlorine-based pool products.
Here are five tips to help get the green out of your hair and restore it to its natural color.
Tip 1: Prevention – A swimming cap
If you don’t want to switch back to traditional bleached-blond hair but you don’t want it turning green either, avoid exposing your newly dyed hair to chemical elements which cause chloramine formation like copper and manganese. Thus, when you take a dip in the pool or ocean, always try to keep your newly bleached-blond hair wrapped up tightly under a swim cap (or the equivalent) to prevent chloramines from forming on your hair.
Tip 2: Use Shampoo
You should also use shampoos that break down chloramines after they are formed on the hair (and these products are actually recommended even for blond hair). Some people recommend using conditioner before swimming too since chlorine strips off natural oils in the hair which helps protect it against damage; however, doing this will uncover more of your dyed blond roots which might make them turn green faster.
Some shampoos contain ingredients that remove the chemicals in pool water. They work by coating the hair shaft to prevent chlorine from penetrating. This will help strip out existing chlorine stains and keep new ones from setting in. However, it isn’t always effective on its own.
Tip 3: Use Vinegar
Keeping a one-to-one ratio of water and vinegar in a spray bottle is an easy way to remove chlorine from hair. Spray your hair thoroughly, making sure it’s completely saturated. You should see immediate results as the chlorine reacts with the vinegar. It works best on hair before it has a chance to dry or set.
Tip Three: Use Lemon Juice
Another natural solution is to mix the juice from half a lemon into your shampoo and use it as you normally would. It works by neutralizing chlorine’s chemical reaction with hair pigments, allowing them to revert back to their true color. It also works well with vinegar but makes it smell like your hair is straight out of a salad.
Tip Four: Use Baking Soda or Bicarbonate of Soda
Baking soda works similarly to lemon juice. It breaks down chlorine’s chemical makeup so it can be washed away. This also works best when applied to wet hair. However, some people don’t like the feel of baking soda on their scalp. It has a grainy texture that feels strange to some people.
Tip Five: Use Sunlight
If you’re willing to wait long enough, sunlight does an excellent job of removing chlorine stains. As you probably know, UV light changes chemical bonds back and forth. This is what causes the green color in the first place. Over time, exposure to sunlight breaks down chlorine molecules until they’re gone. The amount of time it takes depends on how much chlorine you’re dealing with and the strength of the sun where you live.
Side note : Chlorine health warning
Chlorine in a pool enters their body through the skin. At high levels, this can cause irritation of the skin and eyes. Long-term exposure to chlorine at lower levels reduces resistance to respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. The respiratory system is also affected by chlorine. Some people with asthma may experience increased symptoms when exposed to chlorine, especially in indoor pools where there are no breezes to carry away the chemicals.
The green hair problem is common for people who have just dyed their hair blonde. It’s not always the result of chlorine in pools or oceans, but chloramines form on your hair when you mix bleach with copper and manganese (elements found in both).
If you don’t want your hair to turn green, there are ways around it. With the right products and a little patience, most people can get their natural color back in no time at all. It’s important to remember that chlorine not only changes hair pigments but also strips away oils that help protect against damage.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent this from happening.
For starters, avoid swimming with freshly bleached-blond hair wrapped up under a swim cap (or other protective covering) since some chemical reactions need contact time to take place. You should also use shampoos containing ingredients like baking soda or vinegar after showering; these products will break down the chloramine molecules before they set into your newly dyed
Always use shampoos or conditioners with ingredients meant for blonde hair when swimming- these will keep chloramines from forming on the strands while also helping them stay healthy after exposure to chemicals in pool water.
If you’re concerned about how long this process takes, try using sunlight! As long as the sun is out where you live it does an excellent job of breaking down chloramine molecules so they won’t stain your locks any longer.