Why Blonde Hair Turns Green in Pool Water and How to Fix it

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, but it’s a sidekick.

So, the question is….

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. Simple chemistry.

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

If you’re the 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 your local pool store to have it professionally check — I recommend the latter.

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.

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 while filling your pool.

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 glossing or sealing treatment 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. These simple techniques will protect your hair from the metal in the water. If those don’t work, or you don’t have the means to do them, you can always wear a swimming hat.

How To Fix Green Hair From a Swimming Pool

Professional Shampoo
If you’re hair is already green from the swimming pool, you can use a shampoo that chelates the metal…

Chelate: A chemical compound in the form of a heterocyclic ring, containing a metal ion attached by coordinate bonds to at least two nonmetal ions.

In other words, removes the green tint from your hair.

Homemade Remedies. If you love Bloody Marys or V8 than this home remedy for removing the green from your hair shouldn’t be a problem for you. Using a liberal amount of tomato juice in your hair and on your scalp for 5- 10 minutes works wonders. You can then wash it with shampoo and use regular conditioner.

Happy Swimming!