Hair Care Advice for Swimmers from a Celebrity Stylist

Maintaining healthy hair is a challenge for many women. Add chlorine and salt water to the mix and, if you are not careful, you have a hot mess! Yet, swimming is one of the most efficient and effective forms of exercise…and, most importantly, it’s loads of fun. However, many women struggle to reconcile time in the water and having fabulous locks.


While it is the mission of My Swim Cap to ensure women do not have to choose between swimming and maintaining healthy hair, there may be times you don’t want to wear a swimming cap. That’s why we asked celebrity hair stylist Troy Zestos his best advise for swimmers who want to protect their tresses.


Zestos is the Owner and Head Stylist for The Chroma Studio in West Hollywood, CA. Zestos, a Prime-Time Emmy nominee, and has also spent the last decade working on the sets of some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster films and most-popular televisions series including Gone Girl, Bridesmaids, The Hangover Parts I, II and III, Furious Seven (from the Fast and Furious franchise), Iron Man II, We Bought a Zoo, Modern Family, America’s Next Top Model and Everybody Loves Raymond, to name a few.


With a clientele whose job requires they look picture perfect at public appearances, photo shoots and on the production set, Zestos has his work cut out for him.  Moreover, Zestos has to deliver this perfection despite the excessive attacks on his clients’ hair such as routine color changes, daily flat iron and curling iron use, the drying effect of year-round California sunlight and a lifestyle where an afternoon at the swimming pool or on the beach can be as common as a day at the office. Despite all of this, Zestos doesn’t break a sweat, relying on his own proprietary hair care product-line “Chroma” and numerous tricks-of-the-trade he has learned, and in a few cases pioneered, in his 20+ year career.


When it comes to swimmers, Zestos warns “Having hair routinely absorb chlorine and salt water is a bad idea. Once over-damaged by the drying effect of chlorine and salt water, repair is out of the question. Once severe damage occurs, the hair has to be cut else the ends become frizzy making maintaining a polished look impossible. Also, over-damaged hair will have a straw-like texture.” Zestos goes on the say “As important as the products you use, is adhering to a pre-swim and post-swim hair care routine.”


Zestos strongly advises his clients to saturate their hair with water before entering the pool or the ocean. “By saturating your hair with water, you exponentially reduce the amount of chlorine and salt water your hair can absorb.” Zestos also recommends applying a light conditioner to your hair before going swimming. “A light conditioner is an extra layer of protection. In choosing a conditioner, try to find one that is sulfate-free and paraben-free like Chroma’s Aqua Conditioner. Also, if you are managing this routine at the beach, in a gym shower or other place where you may not be able to easily put things down, try to find a product with the press-top opening, as these tops make it possible to pour, apply and put away the bottle all with one hand. This feature was very important to me for the Chroma line of products.” Zestos also believes wearing a swimming cap that protects your hair is the perfect third layer of protection. “I know women do not always want to wear a swimming cap, but it is always a good idea. The more barriers between your hair and the elements that can harm it, the less care and repair will be needed.  A swimming cap will also aid in the retention of the conditioner that was applied before your swim.”


Zestos says that after your swim, you should rinse you hair for several minutes. “A quick rinse is not sufficient. Hair is porous and damaging elements absorbed during a swim will not remain solely on the surface. Taking a few minutes just to rinse is critical to protecting your hair.” Zestos further advises that a thorough rinsing is essential to eliminating the contaminants that will cause your hair to smell. “You don’t want to use a fragrant shampoo to cover up the smell caused by chlorinated water and the ocean, you want to thoroughly rinse these harmful components out of your hair.” After a good rinse, Zestos recommends washing with a moisturizing shampoo like Chroma’s Aqua Shampoo. “Restoring moisture to the hair right away is critical for all swimmers. Swimmers with color-treated hair have to be even more diligent, as color-treated hair is generally more porous and, therefore, will absorb more damaging elements during swimming.” And, of course, this routine should be completed with a moisturizing conditioner. “I would suggest using a leave-in conditioner as well, especially if you experience dryness after styling. For my clients, I also use Volume Heat Protection to ensure that using a flat iron or curling iron does not further damage their hair when styling. Then I finish off with Chroma’s light-weight Shine Spray to provide a sheen that completes an upscale look.”


Which hair care regime is most important: the pre-swim or the post-swim? Zestos says it’s best to do both. “I think the pre-swim routine is as important as the post-swim routine. Swimmers should be diligent about doing both each and every time they go for a swim. With a commitment to both routines, you can enjoy your swim without having to worry about your hair.”


So, with a little work, being a swimmer and having strong, healthy hair do not have to be mutually exclusive.



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