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Blondes are considered attractive, but not particularly smart. Ohio State University scientist Jay Zagorsky conducted a study on this and concluded, “The stereotype of the dumb blonde is a myth” (Economics Bulletin).

One fact about blondes is that many have greenish hair after leaving pools or swimming pools. And this is not because the pool water is green.

You’ve probably heard of this phenomenon before. Swimming pools can turn blonde hair green. However, a common misconception is that chlorinated water turns hair green.

Chlorine and turning hair green actually sounds right. After all, chlorine gas is green and “chloros” is Greek for fresh or green.

Something should make you wonder that even when treating blond hair with chlorine bleach, the hair does not turn green but just pale.

So what is correct? Does chlorine make blond hair green or not?

The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Chlorine is not the main problem, but it is part of the problem.

What turns blonde hair green in the pool?

The answer is copper!

Copper is a metal that is found in some swimming pool. When filling the pool, you need to be careful. Especially the water from wells is often contaminated with copper. Another cause of copper in pool water is copper-based algaecides.

And how does the copper in the water turn blonde hair green?

The copper in pool water is oxidized by the chlorine in the water and then binds to proteins in the hair strands. The metal is the reason for the greenish coloration of the hair strands.

You probably know this from copper roofs, copper coins and from the Statue of Liberty outside New York. Over time, the copper turns greenish.

Does only blonde hair turn green?

No, the metal binds to the proteins of all hair colors. However, only blond hair shows the slight green coloration.

Does blond hair turn green even in saltwater pool?

The very short answer: yes.

In salt water pools, the chlorine is not added to the water in powder or tablet form. Instead, salt is added to the water. During the filtration process, the pool water runs through a saltwater system that converts the salt into chlorine.

If you have copper in the water with your salt water pool, it will be oxidized by the chlorine (derived from the salt) and will also turn the hair green. A saltwater swimming pool differs from a normal (chlorine) pool only in the way the chlorine gets into the water.

You have a few options available to you to prevent hair from discoloring in the first place. The solution lies in controlling the copper levels in your pool.

5 Ways to avoid green hair when swimming in the pool.

As part of your weekly pool maintenance routine, you should also test the water. You can use test strips to detect the level of copper in your pool water. A local pool store is the place to go for analysis.

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Pool and Spa Test Strips - Quick
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Option 1: Wear a swimming cap

The easiest way to protect your hair is to wear a swim cap. The cap should fit close to your head so that as little water as possible gets to your hair.

We recommend this bathing cap:

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Speedo Unisex-Adult Swim Cap
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Option 2: Filter the filling water

Water from old wells is often rich in metals. Use fresh water or pre-filter the fill water to reduce the amount of copper in the water.

Option 3: Stop using copper-based algaecides.

Some algaecides contain copper. These copper-based algaecides are effective at killing and keeping algae away, but will cause your hair to discolor.

If you have blonde hair, you should go for heavy metal-free algaecides. On the other hand, with a balanced pool chemistry and stable chlorine levels, you can keep algae at bay and can therefore avoid algaecides.

In our opinion, this is one of the best algaecides:

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Clorox Pool&Spa Green Algae
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Option 4: Treat your hair before bathing

Your hair can be protected in several ways. One of them is leave-in conditioners. Simply apply this conditioner before swimming and rinse your hair after bathing.

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L'Oreal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5
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You can also avoid a green coloration when you arrive home after bathing, treat your hair with hair oil.

We advise:

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Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp
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Some hair care products seal the hair with a shiny layer. This prevents the copper from sticking to the hair strands and turning it green.

Option 5: Wash your hair immediately after bathing

You are not allowed to wear lotions in your hair in public swimming pools and – if it is not mandatory – you certainly do not want to wear a bathing cap.

Rinsing your hair vigorously right after you get out of the water won’t help 100%, but it comes very close to the optimal result.

How to get the green hair clean again

You can get the green hair clean again in two different ways. Either with professional shampoos or tried and true household remedies.

#1 Professional shampoo

If your hair is already green, the best way to help is such shampoo that chelates metal. In simple terms, this removes the green coloration from your hair.

Recommended
UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Shampoo,
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#2 Old-fashioned household remedies.

In all likelihood, you already have one of the mentioned household remedies at home and don’t have to wait for a delivery with greenish hair.

#3 Tomato juice

You may find it hard to believe, but tomato juice can work wonders. The favorite drink of Germans during flights just needs to be applied generously on the hair and scalp and leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes. Then you can wash out the hair with normal shampoo or hair care products.

Recommended
Campbell's Tomato Juice, 11.5 oz.
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#4 Baking Soda

Add 2 teaspoons of baking soda to 250 ml of water, distribute the solution in the hair and leave on. After that, it is called, rinse well with shampoo.

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Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, 12 Pack
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We hope that our tips helped you, and now you can relax bathing without ending up with green hair.

Larry has been a true water rat since childhood. Pure pleasure turned into a passion. That's why he is the first point of contact for friends and acquaintances when it comes to pool-related problems. He is an integral part of the PoolHandbook editorial team.