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Can You Go Swimming After Dyeing Your Hair?

The chlorine in pools can interact with the coloring and other chemicals from your hair dye. If you go swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool too soon after dyeing your hair, you can lose your investment in your new hair color. 

How Hair Dye Chemicals Interact With Chlorine

You just dyed your hair a new color, but you want to also hop into the pool at your place, your friend’s house, or a local hotel or country club.

However, if you dyed your hair with permanent or semi-permanent coloring, you should wait seven or more days to hop into the pool. Hair dye and chlorine interact with one another in that the chlorine draws out the artificial colors.

As a result, chlorine and the color of hair dye can cause your hair to turn a completely different color depending on the natural and dye chemicals already in your hair. Steer clear from using ammonia dye. Instead, opt for ammonia-free dye so there is less damage to your hair.

Read Next: Does Pool Chlorine Damage Your Hair?

How Ammonia Interacts With Hair Dye

Using a hair dye brand with ammonia can cause a further risk of degrading your color and damaging your hair. Ammonia and chlorine mix to cause a hydrogen chloride vapor that causes H+ ions to go into the water.

Nitrogen gas release also comes as a result of the ammonia in hair dye mixed with chlorine in pools interacting with one another. 

The best way to avoid this possible damage to your hair is to get ammonia-free hair dye. Then, you can still enjoy the experience of changing your hair color without the extra damage to your hair from altering it before or after a pool dip. 

Artificial Colors Interacting With Hair Dye

Hair dye uses artificial coloring. The harsh chemicals in chlorine can draw out the artificial coloring and other chemicals inside the dye. If you have a copper-colored hair dye such as burgundy, ginger, or strawberry, it will interact with the chlorine, causing your hair to turn bluish-green.

And you want to prevent yourself from turning into Cookie Monster. Chlorine acts as a disinfectant and antibacterial agent, which can’t only degrade your hair color but also damage your hair. Sebum is known as the natural oil in your hair.

Chlorine interacts with sebum and causes your hair to become brittle and damaged if you swim in a pool frequently. If you swim more than once a week or so, use a shower cap and keep your hair dry every so often to reduce the damage that the chlorine is doing to your hair. 

The Chemicals in Permanent Hair Dye

When you dye your hair, you must apply it in two steps. First is an alkalizing agent, and then comes the oxidizing agent, mainly hydrogen peroxide. Combined, they help the new color to set into your hair. 

Aromatic Amine

The aromatic amine is the primary dye precursor first applied to your hair as the alkalizing agent. Many hair dyes have ammonia as an alkalizing agent.

However, since it has harsh interactions with other chemicals such as chlorine, more hair dye companies have opted for the alternate alkalizing agent, monoethanolamine


Monoethanolamine smells like ammonia and is clear or yellow. It has anti-corrosive properties to protect your hair during the dyeing process. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide acts as the oxidizing agent to break down the melanin in your hair. As the natural melanin in your hair breaks down because of the hydrogen peroxide, it will become colorless in nature.

As a result, the colors in the dye will shine through as your permanent hair color until you change it or if it fades from growing in new natural hair. 

How to Wash Your Dyed Hair After Swimming

Woman in a pool shower rinsing off for a piece on can you go swimming after dyeing your hair

Milos Nakovic/Shutterstock

Chlorine can still interact with the natural and dye chemicals in your hair to degrade your color. Before jumping in the pool, rinse your hair with clean water, so there is less chance of chlorine entering your scalp and interacting with your hair cells.   

Apply Hair Sunscreen

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Use sunscreen, especially one made for your hair and scalp, to protect your hair from UV damage and act as a molecular barrier to prevent chlorine from entering your scalp. Brands such as the AquaGuard pre-swim hair defense sunscreen can reassure you that chlorine doesn’t damage your hair. 

Rinse Your Hair Again

When you step out of the pool, rinse your hair with water immediately, whether in a public shower or with a bottle of water you have packed in your bag, which is the first line of defense against the chemicals setting in your hair. 

Take a Shower as Soon as You Get Home

Make it your priority to get a shower as you arrive home or at a public showering facility. If you choose a public showering facility, have your color-safe shampoo and conditioner on you to remove the chlorine from your hair. Shampoo and condition your hair at least two times to reassure you remove the chemicals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman on a blue pool float wondering can you go swimming after dyeing your hair

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Now that you know a little more about when to enjoy the pool when you have dyed your hair recently, you may still have more questions. Refer to this list of frequently asked questions to learn more about proper hair care when you want to go for a swim in a chlorinated pool. 

Can I go to the pool earlier than seven days?

If you have permanent or semi-permanent hair color, you should wait at least one week until you hop in the pool. If you have semi-permanent hair dye for Halloween, Mardi Gras, or another reason for dressing up, you can wait three days before jumping into the pool instead of seven days.

Can I dye my hair after going swimming in a pool?

You shouldn’t dye your hair immediately after swimming in a chlorinated pool. Instead, wash your hair at least a few times throughout a couple of weeks to ensure that you have removed all the pool chemicals from your hair, so it is clean enough to dye.

Can I wash my hair after dyeing it?

The best rule of thumb is to wait at least three days from when you dye your hair to wash it with color-safe shampoo and conditioner. If you wash your hair before that period is up, you could risk lessening the color strength in your hair.

Will hair dye leak into the pool water when I go swimming?

Not waiting long enough for your hair dye to set in will cause it to bleed out into the pool water. If you frequent a public pool, this won’t bode well with other community members trying to enjoy a day at the pool. Instead, opt for a sunbathing day at the community pool during the waiting period.

So, Can You Go Swimming After Dyeing Your Hair?

Dyeing your hair and enjoying a swim in the pool can be done within the proper times so you avoid ruining the effort put into your hair. If you plan to dye your hair, wait seven or more days before taking a swim if it is a permanent hair color.

You can jump in four days early if you use a semi-permanent hair dye. Plan in advance and enjoy swimming once you have finished that waiting period. Happy swimming!