Can You Go Swimming After Dyeing Your Hair?

Can You Go Swimming After Dyeing Your Hair?

Score an invite to a pool party but just got your hair dyed at the salon a few days ago and you may be asking can you go swimming after dyeing your hair? You may be tempted to take a quick dip in the pool, but you’ll be at risk of ruining your new hair. You can swim in a pool with dyed hair, but only after waiting a certain amount of time. If you start to swim prematurely, chlorine and pool water can ruin your new ‘do. It is not recommended to swim in a pool with hair dye right after getting your hair done.

How Long After Dying Hair Can You Swim in a Pool

There are quite a few rules of hair maintenance after getting your hair dyed. When it comes to swimming, you need to wait an allotted amount of time before exposing your hair to pool water and chlorine. The amount of time is dependent on the type of hair dye used.

Permanent Hair Dye

Whether you got highlights, balayage, or your whole head colored, permanent dye cannot be exposed to pool water for at least a week. This means you need to wait a full 7 days before swimming in the pool with dyed hair. Since hair dye has chemicals, such as hair developer which gives your hair a permanent color, it cannot be exposed to other chemicals like chlorine. This could cause an unwanted reaction between the chemicals and ruin your color. It is best to check with your stylist for their recommendation about pool and chemical exposure as well.

Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

If you are using semi-permanent hair dye, the waiting time is not as long before you can join your friends in the swimming pool. It is recommended you wait 72 hours, or 3 full days before exposing your hair to pool water and chlorine. Since semi-permanent hair dye does not use the same amount of chemicals as permanent hair dye, the waiting period is slightly less. However, remember to check with your stylist once again before jumping into the deep-end cannon-ball style.

Will My Hair Dye Run in the Swimming Pool?

There is nothing worse than paying the big bucks for a summer hairstyle, only to go to that pool party you’ve been looking forward to and seeing all the salon’s hard work running off your head and into the water. If you do not follow the precautions to protect your dyed hair, your hair will run in the pool or change color from the chlorine. Here are some reasons your hair may run in the pool:

1. You Did Not Wait the Allotted Amount of Time

If you hit the hot tub or pool before waiting the allotted amount of time for your dye job to set in, your hair could run in the chlorinated water. Again, the allotted time is 7 days for permanent hair dye and 3 days for semi-permanent hair dye. Following this waiting rule correctly will lessen the risk of your hair dye running.

2. You Did Not Wash Your Hair in the Shower After Dying

When you first wash your hair after a hair dye, a lot of color runs out. Often this is done at the salon so the stylist can monitor the extent of the dye running and present to you the final look. If dying at home, your home shower may be covered in different colored hair dye. In summary, hair dye runs when washed for the first time.

If you go into the pool with your dye job without washing it at the salon or in the shower once or twice, your hair dye will run simply because it hasn’t gotten the chance to run yet. As always, make sure you’re following the stylist’s recommendation for any kind of water exposure after dying your hair.

Swimming With Red and Purple Hair Dye

Can you swim after dying your hair purple or red? Typically, dark colors like purple and red tend to run more in the water. Like other colors of hair dye, you may risk damage or running to the color when exposed to chlorinated water.

However, if you wait the allotted time before swimming and wash your hair correctly to prevent excess running, you can protect it as best as possible in the pool. It is a good idea to speak to your stylist about your chosen hair color and risks with chlorine before deciding to swim.

Is Chlorine Bad for Dyed Hair?

Have you ever seen a blonde, natural or dyed, end the summer with green-tinted hair from the pool? Or someone with lighter highlights with green streaks? That is from chlorine, and chlorine will do this to natural or dyed hair if a light enough shade.

Since chlorine is a chemical and hair dye contains chemicals, the interaction between the two can create a reaction that gradually alters the hair color, usually a greenish tint depending on the shade of hair. This rarely happens over a one-time swim, but can happen over time if you are a consistent swimmer or spend a lot of time in the pool.

Chlorine also dries your hair out, especially color-treated hair. Over time, it can become brittle and dry, creating split ends. In general, chlorine is not good for your hair. However, if exposed to chlorine sparingly, it should not damage your locks too harshly.

Luckily there are ways to protect your hair from chlorine damage, especially in those hot summer months.

How to Protect Dyed Hair from Chlorine

Can You Go Swimming After Dyeing Your Hair

There are a few ways you can limit the damage to your dyed hair from chlorine since no one wants to spend their pool days with damaged hair.

1. Oil Your Hair Before Swimming

Chlorine strips your hair of its moisture, making it dry and brittle, especially if it’s already color-treated. Since oil and water do not interact, a great way to lock in moisture before swimming is to apply a moisturizing oil like Morrocan oil or argan oil to your hair. This way, your hair will have less interaction with the chlorinated water.

2. Wet Your Hair 

One of the best tips I’ve ever gotten is to wet my hair before swimming. Run it quickly under a shower, hose, or sink until it is wet. Since hair is like a sponge, it will absorb the normal untreated water. This means once you get in the pool, your sponge-like strands won’t be able to soak up as much chlorinated pool water, in turn protecting your hair from excess chlorine.

3. Tie it Up or Cover it

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If you’re just lounging by the pool with friends and don’t have a reason to go underwater or get your hair wet, tie it up in a high bun or ponytail. This way, your hair does not get wet and you can still cool off in the pool from the neck up. If you’re a competitive swimmer or just really protective of your hair, you can opt for a waterproof swim cap that works to keep your hair dry in the pool.


There are many rules surrounding swimming with hair dye, but it is definitely still possible to enjoy dyed hair at the pool. As long as you wait the allotted time before swimmings, protect your hair as best as possible, and confirm the rules and risks with your stylist, the pool should still be a fun place to show off your hair. If you are still nervous about the possible damage to your dyed hair, maybe hold off on the salon visit until winter!

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