Hair Turned Green Because of Chlorine? Learn How to Reverse It!

Even though summer is winding down, this does not mean you have to get out of the pool just yet. Why not stay in until your fingers turn into raisins? That is, unless you have blonde or light brown hair and want to keep it from turning green. That’s right, the myths are true. Pool water can actually leave you with green hair.

woman in a pool

Most blame chlorine for the green hair, but this is incorrect. Hard metals in the water, specifically copper, is what is responsible for the green color in your hair. The copper in the pool water is oxidized by the chlorine, which then binds to the proteins in your hair. The metal produces a green tint.

Most commercial and personal pools contain copper because it is an active ingredient in algaecides. Algaecides are used in traditional pool maintenance to prevent algae from building up in the water. Have you ever seen a pool that has turned green? It is not a pretty sight. It makes sense that pool owners would want to protect their investment by using the best product for the job.

The good news? Light-haired individuals are not required to sit in the lounge chairs by the pool in order to protect their precious hair. There are easy and often inexpensive ways to prevent and reverse green hair.

How Can You Prevent This?

It is always easier to prevent your hair from changing colors than to help bring it back after it has turned. There are a number of simple ways to prevent green hair.

Stop Using Copper-Based Algaecides

Copper-Based Algaecides

Want to prevent copper from damaging your hair? Don’t add the copper to your pool. Copper is a main ingredient in most algaecides because it is very effective at killing and preventing algae growth. It turns out, there are a few products on the market that work fine and do not contain copper.

You can also stop using an algaecide altogether. This requires more work on your end, as you will have to regularly monitor your pool to ensure you keep the chlorine levels in check, but it is doable. And hey, you’ll save money without having to buy another pool chemical.

Remove Metals In The Water

metals in pool water

While uncommon, some places around the country do have copper in their water supply. In order to prevent it from entering your pool, you can invest in a hose filter.

For most of us, we do not swim in a pool that we own. If that's you, move on and read the next tips, which cover what you can do personally to protect your hair.

Wear A Swim Cap

Swim Cap

Wearing a swim cap can help protect your hair from exposure to the harmful copper in the water. A silicone cap works best as they are lightweight, breathable, and comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Speedo Unisex-Adult Swim Cap Silicone White
  • Superior, soft texture
  • Excellent stretch, pliability, and durability
  • Does not pull hair when removing or putting on cap

This will only work if all of your hair is tucked under the cap. If you are having trouble, there are a number of tutorials online to help you.

Soak Your Hair Before Swimming

Soaking Hair Before Swimming

Your hair is like a sponge, absorbing as much water as it can. If you completely wet your hair before getting into the pool, you can minimize the amount of chlorinated water your hair absorbs. Fortunately, most public pools have showers in their locker rooms or in an outside area near the pool.

Coat Your Hair With Oil

Coating Hair with Oil

Applying hair oil to your hair before swimming can help prevent the absorption of water. If you don’t have hair oil then olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, or jojoba oil may also work. Make sure you apply a liberal amount from your roots to your tips. We suggest still wearing a swim cap to keep the oil from washing out while you swim.

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Rinse Your Hair Afterward

Soaking Hair Before Swimming

Even if you don’t have time to take a real shower after swimming, you should at least rinse out your hair. Doing this immediately after swimming can help remove the chemical-rich water sitting on your hair.

How Can You Reverse Green Hair From Chlorine?

Even though we gave you a number of ways to prevent getting green hair from a pool, sometimes there is not much you can do about it. So where does that leave you? Below are our top seven tips on how to reverse green hair.

Use A Swim Shampoo

Swim Shampoo

It turns out; there is actually a product specifically designed to help return your hair to its normal color. Called swim shampoo or chlorine removal shampoo, they are specifically formulated to remove chlorine from your hair. Simply wash your hair well with the shampoo as soon as you notice it has changed color.

You should work the shampoo lather onto your hair for a full minute. Make sure the shampoo you are using contains EDTA or chelating ingredients, as they are able to break down and remove metals. Once the green has disappeared, stop using the shampoo. As you may have guessed, these products are not intended for long-term use, and can actually damage your hair if used regularly.

AquaGuard Pre-Swim Hair Defense 5.3 oz (2 Bottles)
  • Better than Shampoo - it stops chlorine damage before it starts!
  • Prevents green hair; Protects natural color.
  • Smooths and protects from dryness and brittleness.

Use A Removal Spray

Removal Spray

Instead of purchasing a new shampoo, you can try using a chlorine removal spray. Sold at most athletic stores, it works by neutralizing the chlorine in your hair to prevent damage and irritation. This product is designed to be used in the shower before you shampoo. Hold it at arm’s length and spray onto your hair. Then shampoo it away.

SwimSpray Chlorine Removal Spray - 4 oz
  • Chlorine Removal Spray
  • 100% Natural with Vitamin C
  • Fragrance-Free

Make A Baking Soda Paste

Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda has so many more uses than making your cookies rise or helping your fridge smell better. A simple paste can be made by combining ¼ to ½ cup of baking soda with enough water to create a somewhat runny paste. Apply the product to damp hair and massage it into your hair, all the way from your scalp to the tips. Let it sit for a minute and then rinse it out. For those with light hair, you may have to repeat this process a few times. You should then shampoo and condition as normal.

Another way to do this is to add the baking soda right into your shampoo. Then simply shampoo like normal. We find it easier to use the paste, but hey, that’s just us. You should do what makes you comfortable.

It is import to note that this is a very drying procedure for your hair. You should condition with a moisturizing conditioner afterward.

Rinse With Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

You are probably familiar with all the health benefits apple cider vinegar has to offer, but did you know it can also be used to help your hair?

Pour about a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar onto your hair while showering. Work it into your scalp and all the way down to the end of your hair. Once done, rinse it out with warm water. You do not need to shampoo after the vinegar rinse. In order to remove the smell, a conditioner can be used.

Like most of the treatments, this can damage your hair if used too often. It is best only to use it periodically.

Use A Tomato Product

Insert Image
Tomato Product

A tomato product like paste, ketchup, or juice can be used to help remove the green tint from your hair. Simply apply a thin layer of the tomato product of choice to your damp hair and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse the product out of your hair, and shampoo and condition as normal. A helpful tip would be to distribute the product with a wide-tooth comb.

The red color of these products help to neutralize the green color of your hair.

Create A Citrus Rinse

Insert Image
Citrus Rinse

Juice one lemon and mix that with a splash of club soda to form a rinse. This should then be poured over damp hair and combed through with a wide-toothed comb; this is done to evenly distribute the product. Let this sit on your hair for three to five minutes before rinsing it off in the shower.

After the rinse, you should shampoo and condition as normal.

Have you ever gotten lemon juice in a paper cut on your finger? If so, you will appreciate this extra tip. Never use this method if you have a dry, cracked, irritated, or flaky scalp. The stinging sensation will make you want to stick with the green hair.

Create A Vinegar, Tomato And Lemon Combo

Vinegar, Tomato and Lemon

Why use one treatment when you can mix three together? Combine ½ cup of white vinegar, tomato juice, and lemon. Pour this over your hair and evenly distribute it with a wide-toothed comb. After ten minutes, rinse it out of your hair in a shower.

This acidic rinse works to naturally remove the copper oxides from your hair.


As you can see, preventing green hair is pretty easy as long as you plan accordingly. If your hair has already taken on a green tint, there are at least seven methods you can try to remove it. You don’t have to live with green hair unless, of course, you want to.

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Last update on 2021-03-06 at 17:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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