Summer is a time for basking in the sun and exciting adventures. Dealing with issues like green hair from frequent pool days can put a damper on fun plans. While green-tinged hair isn’t permanent, it is annoying to deal with and probably isn’t the summer look you had in mind.

Well, the mystery of green hair after too much pool time is officially solved. There are a few easy fixes to keep your hair looking pristine all summer long. Here’s everything you need to know about why your hair turns green in chlorine and the best clarifying shampoos to prevent it.

Shop this article: Moroccanoil Clarifying ShampooOuai Detox ShampooMalibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo

Why your hair turns green in the pool

After a summer in the pool or days of swimming practice, it’s not uncommon for lighter hair to develop a green tinge. While many believe chlorine to be the culprit, it’s a combination of chlorine and copper that’s to blame. Copper and other hard metals are found in water, including well water or tap water that we shower in every day. 

However, it’s not an issue for our hair until chlorine is introduced to the water, causing the copper and hard metals to oxidize. The oxidized metal then sticks to the protein in our hair and turns it green. Also, blondes are the primary victim of this unfortunate chemical reaction. While the copper film adheres to all hair, it probably won’t be visible on dark hair.

How to stop your hair from turning green in chlorine

  • Use a leave-in conditioner: Before going to the pool, apply a leave-in conditioner all over your hair. Copper will have a harder time attaching to your hair since the conditioner is coating the hair shaft. The conditioner will also make your hair easier to wash out after swimming.
  • Wear a swim cap: While it might not be the most fashionable accessory, wearing a swim cap will prevent your blonde hair from turning green. As a bonus, it will also keep chlorine from drying out your hair.
  • Get your hair wet: Wetting your hair before going into the pool may prevent the chlorine and copper from sticking as tightly to your hair.
  • Don’t use copper-based algaecides: If your hair turns green from swimming in your pool at home, don’t use a copper-based product to kill your algae. 
  • Wash your hair immediately: As soon as you get out of the pool, wash your hair immediately with shampoo to prevent copper build-up.

What is clarifying shampoo?

While all shampoos clean your hair, a clarifying shampoo provides a deeper clean. It removes all types of build-up, including chemicals and mineral deposits from the pool, dirt, sweat and leftover hair spray. Even deep conditioners and silicones in shampoo can cause build-up. So, even if you’re not worried about green hair, it’s still a great idea to use a clarifying shampoo sometimes to reset your hair. 

Tips for using a clarifying shampoo

  • Don’t use clarifying shampoo every day: Because clarifying shampoos cleanse deeper, most of them are too drying to use every day. Instead, use them once a week, or only in the summer if you’re concerned about green hair. 
  • Be cautious with colored hair: Those who color or bleach their hair may experience fading if they use clarifying shampoo too often since it’s supposed to strip away all the deposits in your hair. Don’t use any clarifying shampoo within a week or two after coloring your hair. 
  • Shampoo twice: The first time you shampoo, focus on the roots to get rid of dirt, product buildup and mineral deposits. This is especially important for those with oily hair. Then, apply a clarifying shampoo all over your hair.
  • Follow with a moisturizing mask: Clarifying shampoo is known to be drying. If you think your hair could use extra hydration, use a moisturizing hair mask to prevent hair from becoming brittle and damaged.

Best clarifying shampoo

Best Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo

Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo

Since it’s a color-safe shampoo, you can use it on all types of hair, including bleached hair. It’s formulated with nurturing oils, jojoba extracts and keratin to remove buildup without stripping hair.

Sold by Sephora and Amazon

Best Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo

Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo

Specifically formulated for swimmers’ hair, this shampoo removes copper buildup to prevent green hair. It’s also infused with antioxidants to protect against dryness and damage caused by harsh pool chemicals.

Sold by Amazon

Best Ouai Detox Shampoo

Ouai Detox Shampoo

This clarifying shampoo utilizes apple cider vinegar to detox the hair and remove product build-up, while keratin helps strengthen and add shine. As a plus, the bottle is 100% recyclable, and the product is cruelty-free.

Sold by Sephora, Ulta Beauty and Amazon

Best Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

If you want to keep your hair from turning green this summer, this clarifying shampoo uses cleansing fruit acids to target hard water buildup and chlorine specifically. It’s also gentle enough for curly and colored hair, which can often feel dry after cleansing treatments. 

Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon

Best Living Proof Perfect Hair Day PhD Triple Detox Shampoo

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Triple Detox Shampoo

This detox shampoo removes buildup from the three biggest aggressors: product buildup, pollution and hard water. Plus, it’s formulated without sulfates, parabens, phthalates and mineral oil.

Sold by Sephora 

Best Mitchell Shampoo Three Chlorine Removing Cleanser

Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three Chlorine Removing Cleanser

Use this shampoo before going in the pool to prevent hair from turning green or if you need to remove chlorine and mineral buildup. It is ideal for all hair types and has a pink grapefruit and orange blossom scent.

Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon

Best Pattern Clarifying Shampoo

Pattern Clarifying Shampoo

Those with curly hair need to avoid using harsh clarifying shampoos that strip away their necessary healthy oils. However, this curl-enhancing shampoo helps wavy, curly and coily hair keep the cuticle open to receive moisture. 

Sold by Sephora

Best Bumble and Bumble Sunday Clarifying Shampoo

Bumble and Bumble Sunday Clarifying Shampoo

This clarifying shampoo is formulated with oily scalps in mind that don’t have color-treated hair. It can lift away built-up pollutants, excess oil and product residue.

Sold by Sephora and Ulta Beauty

Best Verb Reset Clarifying Shampoo

Verb Reset Clarifying Shampoo

With seawater, honey and aloe vera, this reset shampoo cleanses the scalp, soothes and reduces irritation and locks in moisture. Plus, it’s cruelty-free, gluten-free and formulated without sulfates and parabens.

Sold by Amazon


Best Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo

Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo

Those searching for a drugstore clarifying shampoo should pick up this product. It’s formulated with apple cider vinegar to clarify and oats to soothe the scalp. It’s also designed to add shine and volume to dull hair.

Sold by Amazon

Best Neutrogena Scalp Clarify and Shine Shampoo

Neutrogena Scalp Clarify and Shine Shampoo

This shampoo uses pink grapefruit, which acts as a gentle and natural exfoliant to clarify the scalp and add shine to hair. It’s pH-balanced and suitable for colored hair.

Sold by Amazon

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