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Can You Swim and Sun Bathe with Hair Extensions?

swimming with extensions

When the summer sun starts cookin’, chances are you look longingly at the pool, ocean or really body of cold water to deliver some relief. But before you dive in, one of the most common questions we are asked is:

“Can I swim with my hair extensions?”

The short answer is yes, you can. but like all things moderation and preparation is key. If you’re going to be taking a dive on the daily, you will eventually cause damage to your hair extensions that can range from dry, split ends and frizz to weakened bonds that can lead to some embarrassing “fall out” moments that even celebrities have experienced. In moderation and with caution? Enjoy that swim! But live by these guidelines below.

One thing: Always, always remove your clip-ins or crown halos before swimming if you are going to be fully immersed in water. 

What are the risks of swimming with hair extensions?

Firstly, if only the ends of your hair will be in the water if you’re lounging in the pool or even hanging out in a hot tub that’s perfectly fine! Just make sure to wash and condition afterward to keep the ends healthy. The problem is when your hair will be SUBMERGED in the water.

Swimming in the pool: Pool water is loaded with damaging chlorine and other damaging chemicals that will strip any oil and moisture from your extensions that can’t be replenished from your scalp like your own hair benefits from. Moreover, the chemicals can change the pigmentation of your extensions, particularly blonde and ash tones that can pick up a greenish color or at the very least a muddied off tone color.

wig falling off in a pool

Swimming in the ocean: Ocean water can also be a problem as heavy salt concentration, particles and minerals can also dry your hair out and cause mineral buildup, weighing down your hair. Because salt is so incredibly drying, over time it can weaken glue or tape bonds on tape-in hair extensions leading to an unfortunate “swimming weft” moment.

Water slides: In addition to the chlorine and chemicals in water slides at water parks, the friction of the water rapidly moving upward along with the surface of the slide can also pull and tug on your bonds, beads, tape or glue. The result? Weakened bonds or your wefts or strands fall out on the way down.

wig falling off on waterslide

Tips and Tricks for Swimming with Hair Extensions

  • Prepare your hair with fresh clean water and a protective leave-in conditioner. The leave-in conditioner acts as a temporary shield, slicking down the cuticles of your hair extensions and natural hair and forming a barrier to help keep chlorine, chemicals or salt from penetrating.
    • Braid them up or tuck them into a swim cap. The key to protecting your extensions is to keep them as tight and together as possible. After applying a leave-in conditioner, you can braid your hair into a ponytail or pigtails. Swim caps are really the most ideal way to protect your hair extension as you sweep them up into a tight protective cap, keeping the water (mostly) fully away from them.
    • After your swim, oil is your friend! The biggest threat to hair extensions is often environmental. Between sun, wind and air, they can quickly be robbed of moisture after your dip in the pool even with a leave-in conditioner in. If you need to, natural oils like Argan Oil not only smell amazing, but impart beneficial protective oils to every strand of hair.
    • Moderation is key, so only swim for 2 hours max. Time will fly when you’re having fun in the pool or surf. But remember to moderate your time to no more than two hours to mitigate any potential damage to your extensions. Even protected with a leave-in conditioner and a swim cap, both heat, salt/chlorine, etc. can still get in and do its foul magic. So enjoy, but be mindful of time!
    • Wash and rinse your hair as soon as you can. Make sure to get any possible chlorine or salt that may be on your hair OFF by giving your hair a good rinse and wash. As always, be sure to be gentle when washing your hair extensions so you can tug on your bonds. Never “ball and lather”, which can be overly aggressive.  

    Don't be a Mermaid

    The good news is that swimming won't damage the bonds of your hair extensions, but it's important to try to not have your hair extensions wet for too many hours at a time. We suggest having no more than two hours of your hair extensions in the water to prevent slight shedding.

    If you're just sitting near the water or are in a hot tub and the ends of your hair is getting wet, then you don't need to worry as much about your extensions. That is different than having your hair directly in the water for long periods of time. Just being conscientious of the length of time your hair is in the water will keep your hair healthy and shiny, as opposed to the slight shedding and dullness that may take place.

    Wear a Swim Cap, Girl

    If you are going to be diving or swimming in the ocean, a swim cap is a good idea and will keep your hair protected from both the water and sun. Also, while you are in high heat of 100 degrees and above, be careful not to pull at your extensions. They won't come out by themselves, but there is a possibility of them coming out if you tug at them while you are in high heat. Give yourself time to cool off in the coolness of your home before brushing your hair out after sitting in the sun for long periods of time.

    Conditioner with Care

    During the summertime, you may be just a girl who wants to have fun in the sun. However, remembering to take care of your hair extensions by following these simple tips will not only keep your hair extensions intact, it will save you the time and energy of replacing them. Remember to conditioning your hair and replenish its much-deserved moisture after hours in the sun or water. Your hair will be thanking you after you use our Hydrating Conditioner and the next time you head out on a date or outing with your friends, your hair won't reflect ocean water or heat damage. Instead you will be glowing and your locks will be too.

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    Priyanka Swamy, Founder of Perfect Locks LLC

    Priyanka Swamy

    Author and Founder of Perfect Locks LLC

    Priyanka Swamy, the visionary founder of Perfect Locks LLC, is a passionate advocate for empowering women and promoting cultural diversity. With an unwavering commitment to ethical sourcing and quality craftsmanship, she redefined the hair extension market and created a supportive community that celebrates individuality. Priyanka's dedication to sustainability and social responsibility continues to inspire positive change within the industry. Her journey with Perfect Locks remains an inspiration, unlocking the true potential and confidence of countless individuals worldwide. Connect with Priyanka on Instagram and LinkedIn.

    Learn More About Priyanka
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