Myth or Truth: Chlorine Can Turn Hair Green

can chlorine cause green hair

It’s one of the most common refrains we hear every summer – beware of the chlorine in the pool, it’ll turn your hair green! But will it, really? Yes, no, and maybe. As your Atlanta pool maintenance team, we get this question a lot. The answer is, it really depends on a few different factors, so let’s dive in!  

Is Chlorine to Blame?

Whenever the discussion around green hair in the pool arises, chlorine is always the first thing to get called out. However, chlorine is only half of the green-hair equation, here. The real tint-changer behind it all is copper. And copper not only exists in pool water but tap water too (though rarely in high enough concentrations to affect your hair). Copper is the actual agent that’s creating the reaction that causes your hair to turn green. But the thing is, it rarely happens outside of the pool for one very important reason. And that reason is, you guessed it – chlorine. Chlorine and copper bond together to form a film that sticks to the proteins in your hair, coating each strand and making it that much easier for it to turn green.  

Blondes are Susceptible 

Unfortunately for all those golden-locked beauties out there, blondes are the ones most susceptible to this chemical reaction. Because the hair is already light, the green tint is far more easily apparent. Alas, it’s true! The same thing that makes blondes a great candidate for hair color success also makes them the first to fall to the follies of the copper-chlorine greens. However, that doesn’t mean they are the only ones susceptible. Really, the chemical reaction can occur on anyone that takes a swim in chlorinated water. For those with colored hair, you might see a change in the tint or tone of your hair even if it’s dyed dark because the process of coloring your hair opens the cuticle on each strand, making it more susceptible to a range of damage.  

Precautions  

There are a few things you can do to slow down or prevent the reaction from getting your hair green, but if you’re a frequent swimmer, the best precaution we can recommend is a well-fitted swim cap. If you’re not feeling that swim cap life, give these few ideas a shot:  

  • Leave-in conditioner (it makes it more difficult for the film to stick to those strands) 
  • Pre-wet your hair 
  • Shower and wash your hair as soon as you’re done swimming  

 Those are your three best defenses against the copper-chlorine film. If you end up with green hair regardless, there are a number of things you can try to return your hair to its rightful golden hue, but we’ll save that for another blog.  

Learn more about Allen Pool, Atlanta’s leader in pool renovation and care.