Why Do Blondes Get Green Hair in Swimming Pools?

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Blondes have more fun, according to Rod Stewart. However, when they exit a swimming pool, blondes have more trouble too: green hair! I’m sure you’ve heard it before – swimming pools can turn blonde hair green. Most people are under the false impression that chlorine is to blame. The truth is, chlorine is not the main enemy here.


What Turns Blonde Hair Green in A Swimming Pool?


The answer is: copper!

Copper is a metal that is found in some swimming pools, particularly ones that are filled using well water. Copper can also enter the pool water from certain copper-based algaecides.

So how does copper in pool water turn your hair green?

The copper in the water is oxidized by chlorine, which then binds to the proteins in the hair strands. The metal will produce a green tint in the hair.


Will Blonde Hair Turn Green in a Saltwater Pool?


Short answer: yes.

Saltwater pools are chlorine-based pools. However, instead of adding chlorine manually with tablets or powder, salt is added to the water, which runs through an electrically charged generator, turning the salt into chlorine.

If you have copper in the water, and the chlorine created by the salt oxidizes it, it may turn your hair green just like a regular chlorine swimming pool.


3 Ways To Prevent Green Hair From a Pool


As a pool owner, you can start by getting your pool checked for metals, especially copper. You can use test strips at home or take a sample of your water to us to have it professionally checked.


1. Stop Using Copper-Based Algaecides


Some algaecides contain copper, and are very effective in killing algae, but they can also cause staining and, of course, green hair.

Look for non-copper algaecides to use in your pool as an annual algae preventative. Or don’t use algaecide at all and just keep your chlorine level in check.


2. Remove The Metals In The Water


If you have metals in your water, be sure to remove them by using a chemical that removes metals in the water or a pre-filter that you can attach to your garden hose.


3. Hair Conditioner and Other Treatments


You can also protect your hair by using a leave-in conditioner before swimming. Also, wash and rinse your hair as soon as you get out of the pool.

You can visit your regular hair salon and ask for a “seal coat” or a “gloss coat” that seals many cuticles on the hair. This will prevent the copper from attaching to the hair strands and turning it green.

At home, you can use a “hot oil” treatment that you can pick up at a local beauty shop.

These simple techniques will protect your hair from the metal in the water however they will affect the water chemistry of the pool with the products you are diluting into the water so the last and probably the simplest solution is to wear a swimming cap!


We hope this article helps if you have ever suffered from green hair and clears up the myths around the reason why it happens. As always, if you have any questions, our team are always happy to help.

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