How to Remove Chlorine From Color-Treated Hair

Updated April 17, 2017

Swimming can be a great way to relieve stress; unfortunately, it can also wreak havoc on the hair. Chlorine in pool water can damage hair fibres and is especially damaging to hair that has been previously colour treated. Chlorine can cause excessive hair dryness, breakage and can even turn hair green if copper or iron minerals also exist in the water. Luckily, chlorine can easily be removed from the hair in one shampooing with a specially formulated chelating shampoo. Chelating shampoos are great for lifting chlorine deposits from the hair.

Rinse your hair thoroughly with clean, warm water immediately after contact with chlorinated water. Allowing chlorine to linger or dry into the hair can result in additional damage to the hair shaft.

Apply a quarter-sized amount of a chelating shampoo, like Joico K-Pak Chelating Shampoo, to the hair. Chelating shampoos are specially formulated to lift product build-up, mineral deposits from hard water and chemicals like chlorine from the hair.

Create a rich lather. Gently squeeze the suds down the hair shaft in a milking fashion. Avoid rubbing the hair and piling it on your head. This washing method can lead to breakage and tangles.

Rinse your hair thoroughly. Repeat Step 2 and Step 3 to ensure all lingering traces of chlorine have been removed. Gently squeeze and then towel blot your hair to remove excess water.

Apply a quarter-sized amount of moisturising conditioner to your hair and allow it to remain there for 15 minutes for maximum conditioning. Focus your conditioning efforts near the ends of the hair. The ends are the oldest parts of the hair and have been exposed to the most damage over time. Rinse the conditioner from your hair thoroughly.

Apply a leave-in conditioner to the hair. Gently detangle it with a wide-toothed comb. Allow the hair to air dry to avoid additional damage from heat-styling tools. Style your hair as desired.


Wear a swimming cap to protect the hair from chlorinated water. Thoroughly wet your hair with regular tap water before jumping into the pool. Your hair will become saturated with clean water and will not take in as much chlorine as your dry hair would. Immediately rinse the chlorine from your hair when you exit the pool. Do not allow it to linger or dry into the hair.

Things You'll Need

  • Chelating shampoo
  • Towel
  • Moisturising conditioner
  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Wide-toothed comb
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About the Author

Audrey Sivasothy, a Houston-based freelance writer, specializes in writing health, beauty, science, and policy pieces. She has published content for Turner and other clients for 4 years. She is currently writing a comprehensive hair care book on black/textured hair. Sivasothy holds a Bachelor of Science in health science/policy studies from Rice University.