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Though some of the country is still battling wintery temps, it’s officially spring, which means it’s pool season. Finally! Pools can dry out and damage natural curls, but there are ways to protect your hair while you enjoy a dip. Natural hair is no excuse not to enjoy every bit of warm weather that you can!

How Does Chlorine Affect Natural Hair?

First, it’s important to understand what happens to your hair when you go swimming. Your hair shaft absorbs the chlorine from pool water. Chlorine strips the hair of its natural oils and can also damage the hair cuticle. The result? Damaged, broken hair.

Because curly and kinky hair is especially fragile, it’s also especially vulnerable to chlorine’s negative effects. Here are some steps that you can take to prevent damage.

How to Protect Your Hair While Swimming

There are four simple steps that every naturalista should practice before getting into a pool:

Wet your hair. It may seem a little strange, but if your hair is already soaking wet when you get into the pool, it will soak up less chlorine. Less chlorine means less damage.

Apply an oil. Oil seals the hair cuticle and traps moisture. It serves as an extra layer of protection against chlorine.

Coat with conditioner. Right before heading to the pool, apply conditioner to your hair. Like the oil, it serves as a barrier between your hair and the pool water, and it seals the hair cuticle.

Wrap your hair. After your strands have their armor on, wrap them all up and put your hair in a bun or another protective style. If you’re really serious about protecting your hair, wear a swimming cap.

Restoring Natural Hair After the Pool

Even with all of these tips, your hair will be exposed to some amount of chlorine when you go swimming. It’s important to cleanse your hair after swimming so that the chlorine doesn’t stick around for long.

After you get back from the pool, rinse your hair with cool water, then cleanse it with a gentle shampoo. Then simply follow your regular conditioning and styling routine. If your hair is feeling dry, use a deep conditioner to restore moisture.

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How to Grow Strong Nails

If your nails have a tendency to peel or break, a few changes in diet and nail care can help them grow strong and healthy. If you frequently immerse your nails in water or bite them, they can weaken and split easily. Implementing a consistent nail-care regimen can help strengthen your fingernails as they grow. Occasional professional manicures supplemented by home upkeep can help you achieve healthy nails.

Step 1

Trim your nails regularly with clean, sharp nail clippers. Dull clippers can cause your nails to tear. Trim your nails straight across, then buff away any rough edges with a micro-smooth emery board. File your nails in one direction rather than running the file back and forth.

Step 2

Take a daily multivitamin high in calcium and vitamin B. If you want to take a special nail-strengthening supplement, look for one containing biotin. If you take nutritional supplements, try adding 2.5 mg of biotin a day to fight weak and splitting nails. If you prefer to get biotin from food, try egg yolks, yeast and wheat bran.

Step 3

Soak your nails weekly in a dish of warm vegetable oil, such as olive or safflower oil. For extra nourishment, add a few drops of vitamin E oil. If you prefer not to soak, give yourself a hand massage with vitamin E lotion. Rub from the palm of your hand to your fingertips to promote circulation to the nails.

Step 4

Wear rubber gloves when cleaning. Hot water, cleansers and abrasives can weaken your nails, keeping them from growing long even if you’re taking supplements and getting regular manicures.

Step 5

Get regular professional manicures to have your nails trimmed and shaped correctly. Your manicurist can apply a strengthening treatment to help reinforce brittle nails. Avoid artificial nails, as the glue can weaken your real ones.

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