Swimming with Hair Extensions: A Guide to Protecting Your Extensions

by NABEEL AHMED / 4. AUG 2023

Reading Time: 5 Minutes


    With summer in full swing its worth knowing the do’s and don’ts of swimming with hair extensions, including how to protect them and how to restore them after a holiday filled with chlorine and salt water. Whether your bathing in the ocean or dipping in and out of the pool, there are some extension types that should be avoided, luckily we’ve listed the best type of hair extensions for swimming so you can still look your best at the beach!

    Can You Swim in Hair Extensions?

    Yes! But not in all types. Clip-ins, hair pieces and ponytails should be avoided when swimming as they tend to be made from a slightly lower quality of human hair, this means the harsh chemicals such as chlorine and sulphates in the water are even more damaging to them. They are also much less secure than permanent options like I-Tips or Tapes so they are likely to move or fall out of the hair during swimming, this not only looks terrible but can cause the clip attachments to knot with your own hair causing damage and discomfort. Permanent hair extensions are much more suitable for swimming and any exercise for that matter as they are more robust and secure, check out our top hairstyles for the gym for some inspiration!

    Best Types of Hair Extensions for Swimming

    Ideally, if you can avoid your hair extensions from getting wet in the pool or the sea this is ultimately the best way to protect them. However if you’re planning to get stuck into some  underwater activities or water sports and don’t want to be held back by your extensions, the following types are most suitable: Nano ring hair extensions, Tape In extensions, I-Tip hair extensions. As these types are smaller and more discreet, they are far easier to put up along with your own hair without feeling uncomfortable or being noticeable.

    Pre-Swim Hair Protection Tips

    To protect your own hair and your hair extensions from the dehydrating effects of chlorine and salt water there are a few things you should do before diving in.  

    • Make sure your hair is put up securely. Not only will this prevent your hair being in your way but it will stop the extensions from becoming knotty which can be even trickier to detangle after swimming. The best style to use is braids as it keeps the hair neatly together and looks super stylish too!
    • Apply a leave in conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair. This will create an invisible barrier on your hair to shield against the chlorine, chemicals and sea water. It will not completely stop the hair from being affected but it will definitely help.
    • Brush your hair before swimming. Diving into any kind of water with already knotty hair is a recipe for disaster as the water causes the hair seize up even more, worsening the tangles. The same applies for washing your extensions, you should always thoroughly detangle them before shampooing.

    Caring for Your Hair Extensions After Swimming

    Its crucial to do some damage control after swimming with your hair extensions to prevent them from drying out or becoming matted.

    • Wash your hair as soon as possible after swimming with a sulphate free clarifying shampoo. The Olaplex No4 Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo is the perfect product because not only is it sulphate free but it specialises in removing impurities and pollutants from the hair without drying it out like some other cleansing shampoos would.
    • Rinse your hair immediately after swimming. If its not possible to wash your hair for a while after swimming you should at least rinse the hair with fresh water such as a pool or beach shower to remove the bulk of the chemicals or salt water.
    • Apply a deep conditioning hair mask after you wash, preferably a mask specifically designed for intense hydration. As chlorine and salt water strip the hair of natural oils and moisture its super important to retore these much needed nutrients after washing to keep your hair extensions hydrated, healthy and strong.

    Conclusion: Enjoy the Pool or Beach with Confidence

    Hair extensions needn’t hold you back on your holidays, you can still enjoy a plethora of water-based activities whilst looking and feeling your best! Hydration is the key to keeping your extensions healthy and damage free throughout the warmer months, investing in the correct products as mentioned in our blog will go a long way in protecting your hair. Now you know how to correctly care for your extensions whilst swimming, why not take a look through our I-Tip hair extension range, our most used extension type for gym goers and swimmers due to its discreetness, flexibility and endurance.


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