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Summers bring to mind sunny days, lounge chairs, junky novels -- and unfortunately, if you are a blonde, green hair. As Kermit says, “It ain’t easy being green,” especially when you pride yourself on your golden-, platinum- or honey-colored locks. If a day at the pool leaves your hair looking mossy rather than glossy, certain shampoos can put things right.
Why Hair Turns Green
A swim in the pool can leave your hair with a green tinge because of copper oxide in the water. Although chlorine is often blamed, the copper comes from the water supply or from copper-based piping leading to the pool. When chlorine and the copper combine, it forms copper oxide, which has a blue-green tinge -- which parks itself right on your hair. Shampoos with a chelating -- aka metal removing -- agent can help remove this copper oxide and turn your hair back to blond.
Who Is At Risk
Although light blondes are most at risk, anyone can experience greenish hair after a dip in the pool. If you have blond highlights, silver gray hair, light red hair, chemically lightened hair or an emo look with brunette and blond streaks, you might also see a slight greenish tint after swimming. Copper oxide also affects brunettes and black-haired beauties, but its effect isn't noticeable in dark hair. Thus, hair of any color can benefit from a chelating shampoo post-swim.
Commercial clarifying shampoos can help remove the green from your hair. Look for ones with ingredients such as such as ethylenediamene tetracetic acid (EDTA), erythorbic acid or acetylsalicylic acid. Antioxidants and vitamins A and B in shampoos can also help. Depending on how green your hair has gone, it may take a few washings. If you do not want to invest in a clarifying shampoo, at-home clarifying treatments can sometimes wash away green. Adding a tablespoon or two of white vinegar to your regular shampoo or rinsing your hair in the juice of a lemon mixed with a cup of water can also help remove a pale green tinge.
Using swimmer's shampoos with chelating chemicals too often can strip your hair, make it dry and fade the color. Instead of relying on shampoos to fix your green, take preventive measures to reduce your exposure to the minerals responsible. You can treat your pool water with chemical compounds that neutralize the effects of copper oxide to prevent your hair from turning green. Also, your hair is porous and can only absorb so much water -- if you pre-wet your hair, you reduce the amount of pool water absorbed, reducing the possibility of developing green locks. Specially made pre-swim shampoos can also protect your hair from drying out and turning green.