Rescue Your Tresses: Expert Tips on How to Fix Green Chlorine Hair

Does your hair turn green after you've been in the pool? Here's the reasons why you have green chlorine hair and how to fix it.

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Jun. 2 2023, Published 2:34 p.m. ET

On the hot days of summer, there’s nothing better than lounging in the pool to cool off. But if you’re hanging at the pool often and you have blonde hair, you may notice you are starting to get green hair from the chlorine.

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Why does chlorine turn hair green?

The chlorine used to sanitize the pool is one reason your hair turns green. However, there are other factors at play.

Copper also contributes to the dull green hue your hair gets after being in the pool. It's similar to the green patina a copper penny gets when exposed to water.

Woman getting out of a pool.
Source: Getty Images
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The copper in your pool can come from the water you use to fill the pool or algaecides used to kill the algae. The copper bonds with the chlorine forming a film that sticks to the proteins in your hair strands and turns it green.

Can you get green chlorine hair from a saltwater pool?

Yes, you can get green chlorine hair from a saltwater pool like a traditional chlorine pool. Saltwater pools still require chlorine to stay clean, just not as much chlorine as a regular pool. Using high copper content water in your saltwater pool will also turn your hair green.

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How can you prevent green chlorine hair?

If your hair is prone to turning green from time in the pool, you may want to wear a swim cap the next time you go for a swim. According to Swim University, other steps you can take to prevent your blonde hair from turning green include:

  • Wash your hair immediately after you get out of the pool

  • Use a swimmer’s shampoo formulated to get the green out

  • Apply leave-in conditioner to your hair before getting in the pool to coat your hair shaft,

  • Rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar or use a hot oil treatment to seal the hair cuticle.

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Two women in a pool.
Source: Getty Images

How do you fix green chlorine hair?

If your hair has already turned green, before you run out to buy a hair coloring kit (which could actually make matters worse), try one of these natural remedies for fixing your green chlorine hair.

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  • Tomato juice: The acetic acid in the tomato juice can help neutralize the copper and take the green out of your hair. After you coat your hair with tomato juice (V8 juice also works), let it sit in your hair for five to 10 minutes, then wash it with shampoo.

  • Ketchup: Ketchup has a similar effect as tomato juice, but may work faster because it’s more concentrated. After you coat your hair in ketchup, wrap it with a shower cap or tin foil and let it sit for about 30 minutes before washing it.

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  • Lemon juice: The citric acid in lemon juice help to get rid of the copper oxidation that turns your hair green. After you douse your hair with the juice, let it sit for five to 10 minutes before you wash it out.

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  • Baking soda: Make a paste out of 1/4 to 1/2 cup of baking soda and a little water, then apply it to your hair, making sure to get every strand. Then rinse it out. You may need to do a couple of applications to clear all of the green from your hair.

  • Aspirin: You’ll need actual aspirin for this. It won’t work with acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen sodium (Aleve). Crush 6 to 8 tablets in a bowl, add warm water, and rinse your hair with the mixture. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before you wash it out.

  • Lemon Kool-Aid: Hey, Kool-Aid! Mix the powder with water and apply to the green hair stands. Let it sit for about five minutes before you wash it out.

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