Green Hair

Swimmers with light, blonde, or gray hair may sometimes notice their hair gaining a green tinge after swimming. This is a result of copper, which is commonly found in fresh or saltwater pool water and can also be introduced by copper-based algaecides and mineral sanitizers.

Various solutions to fix green hair include preventing it first, using a special hair product, and adjusting pool chemicals.


What Causes Green Hair After Swimming?

Copper is often found in both traditional chlorine pools and saltwater pools. When chlorine oxidizes the copper, the metal binds to the proteins in hair and turns it a greenish colour. The process can also result in greenish-coloured pool stains on all types of pool surfaces.

Since hair is very porous, all hair can turn green from oxidation. However, hair in a lighter hue is more vulnerable.


woman in pool

How Does Copper Enter Pool Water?

Copper commonly ends up in pool water in at least one of three ways:

Water Source

If your water has a high copper content and you use it to fill your pool, you’ll have copper in your pool water. Although it can be found in municipal water sources, it’s more commonly found in well water.


Because of its algicidal properties, copper is a popular ingredient in commercial algaecide products. If you’re treating the algae problem in your pool with a copper-based algaecide, there’s a higher chance that your hair will turn green from the copper in this treatment.

Mineral Sanitizers

Like algaecides, copper is frequently found in pool mineral sanitizers. This helps prevent bacteria and algae from causing problems in your pool water.

High Bather Loads

Hosting a large pool party can introduce a much higher number of contaminants than your pool typically experiences. When more contaminants need to be removed, the free chlorine gets used up much quicker. Shock your pool following a major pool party and regularly monitor your chlorine levels.

How To Prevent Chlorine From Turning Hair Green

To prevent green hair from swimming, you need to keep copper out of your pool and protect your hair correctly.

Keep Copper Out of Pool

Preventing green hair from swimming is best done by keeping copper out of your pool water.

Test your water source using test strips or a water testing kit to see if your water source contains copper. You can also take a sample of your pool water to your local pool store for testing. If copper is present in your source water, use a hose filter when filling or refilling your pool to stop the majority of minerals from entering your pool water.

You should also add a metal sequestrant to your pool maintenance routine. This chemical binds with metal particles to prevent them from oxidizing and makes it possible for your pool filter to remove them. If using a mineral sanitizer, check with the manufacturers’ directions of the sanitizer and the sequestrant to ensure they can work effectively together.

If you’re trying to rid your pool of an algae infestation and need an algaecide, select one that is copper-free.

Protect Your Hair

Have a shower before swimming. Clean shower water in your hair reduces the opportunity for hair strands to absorb pool water containing copper.

Use a swim cap to block access to your porous hair when swimming. Apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair before entering your pool and wash your hair immediately after you swim.

Several professional swimmers’ shampoos are available specifically to protect your hair from turning green. There are also glossing or sealing treatments available at hair salons that seal hair cuticles, preventing copper from attaching and turning it green. Hot oil treatments on hair are another option.


pool shower

How To Fix Green Hair From Pool Water Using Home Remedies

If your hair turned green from pool water, several homemade solutions could help.

Wash Your Hair

If possible, wash your hair immediately after swimming – before it has the opportunity to dry and has metal-created damage.
Ask your hairstylist or barber for specific product recommendations that can prevent blonde hair from turning green. When determining how to get green out of hair from pools, various professional swimmers’ shampoos can help.

A Low Salt Level

Mix one cup of baking soda with warm water to form a paste, then massage it into the discoloured areas of your hair. Rinse it out thoroughly, then complete your regular application of shampoo and conditioner. Repeat the process a few times if necessary.

Deep Conditioner

Use a deep conditioner product or coconut oil for at least 15-minutes once a week. Completely rinse the product out of your hair with cold water after treating.

Tomato Ketchup

Massage ketchup into your hair before wrapping your head in an aluminum wrap or tinfoil. Wait 30 minutes, then rinse, wash, and condition your hair.

Lemon Juice

After swimming, soak your hair with a half cup of lemon juice and let it sit for about five minutes. Be careful to avoid getting it in your eyes. Rinse, wash, and condition it as you normally would. Be sure to apply a deep conditioner in the near future to counter the lemon juice’s ability to dry out your hair.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Before swimming, apply plain apple cider vinegar to your hair using a spray bottle. Be careful to avoid getting it in your eyes. The acidic vinegar can prevent copper from saturating your hair strands and causing discolouration.


Crush up eight Aspirin, then combine with water to dissolve fully. Apply to hair, then let soak for 15 minutes. Rinse hair thoroughly, then follow your regular shampoo and conditioning treatments.

Coke or Club Soda

Soak your hair with Coke or Club Soda and massage thoroughly into green areas. Follow the treatment with a thorough rinse using clean water and then your typical wash and condition routine.