Best Hair Care for Swimmers: 19 Grooming Products, Hair Masks, Conditioners, Moisturizers, and More

Whatever your preferred means of exercise, it almost certainly impacts your grooming regimen. If you enjoy long walks, you probably have an anti-chafing product at the ready. If you’re a frequent runner, you’ve probably got a plan for things like jock itch and calluses. But perhaps no physical activity calls for specialized grooming more than swimming: All of that exposure to pool water, be it chlorinated or saltwater, takes a real toll on your hair and skin. 

If you spend a lot of time in the pool—for exercise or leisure or both—you should plan on stocking up on the best grooming products for swimmers. A swim cap will do wonders for protecting your mane from serious damage, but it can’t prevent everything. To really boost your hair’s strength and nourishment and keep your skin from drying out and cracking, we’ve rounded up a whole assortment of top-notch masks, conditioners, moisturizers, and more to keep in your dopp kit.

Oh, and remember to always thoroughly rinse off your hair and body before and after a swim. Doing so beforehand helps to keep any sweat, grime, and haircare or skincare product residue out of the water; rinsing afterwards helps flush away the chlorine from all parts of your body. If you can manage a full shower immediately after the swim, even better.

Read more: The Best Swim Trunks for Men

1. Apply a Hair Mask Regularly

We don’t expect you to do a hair mask every single day (if that’s how frequently you’re swimming), especially since there is a threshold of diminishing returns for these types of ultra nourishing products. But any exposure to chlorinated water (or even just hard water) merits doing a hair mask that week. If you’re a consistent swimmer, then twice-a-week hair treatments will likely suffice between routine conditioner applications.

Ideally you can apply this mask before swimming, since the mask will coat your strands and help act as an extra shield over your cuticles. If you can only manage a mask in the evening or after a swim, don’t fret. Doing it at all will significantly improve your hair’s strength, smoothness, and resilience.

The Best Hair Mask for Swimmers

2. Use Conditioner Every Day

Conditioner is the best friend of anyone with hair. And as someone whose hair is exposed to chlorine or salt water, your hair demands routine nourishment. So condition it daily, in lukewarm water, and let it set for a couple minutes before rinsing. As for shampoo: like everyone else, you can forgo daily use and opt for every second or third day, or even a conditioning co-wash on the odd days. And, if your hair is long enough to be styled, you should also consider using a leave-in conditioner or conditioning styling cream. 

The Best Conditioner for Swimmers

Layer 2

amika bond repair conditioner

The Best Leave-In Conditioner for Swimmers

Layer 3

R+Co leave-in conditioner

The Best Conditioning Curl Cream for Swimmers

Layer 4

3. Blond or Gray? Embrace Purple Shampoo

If your hair is naturally blond or gray—dyed platinum or silver—then you need to keep it toned with a purple shampoo (roughly once a week) in order to neutralize yellowing and brassiness. Don’t overdo it, though, or your hair can turn a rosy reddish color.

The Best Purple Shampoo for Swimmers

Layer 5

4. Prioritize Hydrating Cleansers

Stick to cleansing products for your face and body that promise to nourish skin as they cleanse—anything else will further dry out your dermis. Oh, and turn the temps down: Hot water strips your skin of its naturally nourishing oils.

The Best Body Cleanser for Swimmers

Layer 6

The Best Facial Cleanser for Swimmers

Layer 7

Mario Badescu cleansing milk

5. Crank Up Your Moisturizer Game

You need to be proactive about moisturizing yourself head to toe every morning and night, regardless of whether or not you swam that day. Start with a layer of hydrating serum underneath your daily moisturizer, and then use an even denser hydrator at night to preserve and promote skin’s suppleness and resilience.

The Best Moisturizer for Swimmers

Layer 8

Saint New York moisturizer

The Best Night Cream for Swimmers

Layer 9

The Best Serum for Swimmers

Layer 10

Dr. Loretta replenishing serum

The Best Body Moisturizer for Swimmers

Layer 11

6. Target Your Dry Areas

Get a dense healing balm for problem areas, and reapply it throughout the day—especially at bed time—to trap moisture inside the skin and prevent cracking and ashiness. The most susceptible regions will be your fingers, cuticles, knuckles, elbows, heels, and lips. 

The Best Healing Balm for Swimmers

Layer 12

Doctor Rogers healing balm

7. Stock Up on Hair-Nourishing Stylers

To nourish and preserve your hair cuticles, you need to keep them closed off to trap moisture inside every strand. To do so, start by minimizing your use of hair dryers and other hot tools. Then employ oils and creams that promise to protect hair quality and “smooth” the cuticle for a frizz-free finish.

The Best Styling Cream for Swimmers

Layer 13

The Best Hair Oil for Swimmers

Layer 14

8. Don’t ignore your scalp

Keeping your scalp healthy should be a key tenet of any haircare regimen—but it’s especially important when you’re swimming regularly. These hydrating serums and masks will help to nourish your scalp and hair follicles, promote stronger hair growth, and mitigate flaking.

The Best Scalp Mask for Swimmers

Layer 15

The Best Scalp Cream for Swimmers

Layer 16

9. Make Sure Your SPF Won’t Wash Right Off

If you swim outdoors, then you need a water-resistant sunscreen. Ideally, you should get one for your face and one for your body. The most important thing, though, is that your SPF of choice is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes—and that you remember to reapply every two hours or as soon as you’re out of the water. 

The Best Face Sunscreen for Swimmers

Layer 17

Coola 80-minute water-resistant face sunscreen SPF 49

The Best Body Sunscreen for Swimmers

Layer 18

EltaMD 80-minute water-resistant body sunscreen SPF 50

10. Consider Going Hairless

Some serious swimmers prefer to have dolphin-smooth bodies in order to glide through the water. If that’s the case for you, then try a depilatory cream to go hairless without risking the infection or irritation associated with waxing and shaving—and to enjoy the smoothness for multiple weeks without having to reapply.

The Best Hair Removal Cream for Swimmers

Layer 19

Nad’s body hair removal cream

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