Help for Chlorine GREEN!

My daughter and her friends have spent the summer in our backyard pool.  Now all three (formerly blonde) girls have green hair . . . and I do mean GREEN.  It looks like they’ve been dipping their hair into green jello.  How can we get it out before school starts?  Pool Mom.

Dear Pool Mom, Let’s get the green out first, but you will need to take steps to avoid this happening again.  They need to shampoo their hair with a chelating shampoo.  One to try is Malibu 2000 Swimmer’s Wellness.  Many chelating shampoos can be drying and we found this moderately-priced brand to be less aggressive to the hair’s condition while being quite effective in bonding to the chlorine molecule and washing it away.  Your girls seem to have an abundant build up of chlorine, so you may need to start with a treatment specifically designed to break down the minerals.  It usually takes about 20 minutes.  Depending on the amount of buildup, they may need 2 to 4 treatments. 
Now, let’s see about avoiding this in the future.  Here are a few simple steps you can take to slow down that nasty chlorine.
  1. Spray the hair with a leave-in conditioner before jumping into the pool.  The theory is that if the hair is ‘full’ already, there would be no room the chlorinated water to get into the hair shaft.  Of course, it will be rinsed out by the third cannonball, but it will slow it down.
  2. Shampoo the hair immediately after each swimming session.  Do this BEFORE the hair dries!  Chlorine is a molecule that slips into the porous hair easily, but then expands when exposed to any heat.  Once it expands, it cannot be simply rinsed from the hair—that’s when the chelating products are necessary. So do a thorough lathering with a chelating shampoo before the sun heats it up—even body heat will activate the chlorine crystals inside the hair.
  3. Your pool water balance (not sanitizer level) should be monitored and adjusted often. The Langlier index is used to calculate how corrosive or scaling the pool water is and to determine optimum levels of minerals in the water.
  4. Extreme fix: Replace all the copper pipes in your pool’s filtration system with PVC.  It’s the combination of chlorine and copper that creates the green cast—verdigris is the patina that we see on aged copper—that’s the green hue.  Keep in mind that just because you don’t see green doesn’t mean there is no chlorine buildup in the hair.  Slippery when wet, stiff when dry, slight chlorine scent when wet and quick to tangle are all symptoms of chlorine buildup.
A few more points:
Do not attempt to color over the chlorinated hair.  This will just push the chlorine further into the hair’s cortex making it impossible to remove.
Nothing will be a 100% barrier to the chlorine and nothing will completely remove the chlorine, so if you are in a pool regularly, you need to treat the hair regularly. 
A nice rainy-day or back-to-school treat for your daughter and her friends may be a trip to the salon for chlorine removal services.  


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