Swimmer & Hair CareQ: I am a swimmer and therefore I have to wash my hair often. I have split ends in my long hair and the hair at the nape of my neck is very dry as well (all the way up). Is there a product you can recommend that is not too expensive? Thanks!
A: Well, the first recommendation I have is to be sure that you are using the gentlest shampoo possible since you wash your hair more often than normal and to be sure you aren't washing the hair more often than necessary. Even after swimming in chlorinated pools, you should be able to simply rinse the hair with (non-pool) water and apply conditioner to help restore the pH balance to the hair.
Remember, that unless your hair is very oily, or you tend to expose your hair to soils and contaminants on a daily basis, you don't have to shampoo every day. You should, however, condition the hair daily, and in your case, after swimming. Virtually any of the hair conditioning products in your local market will work, look for products that specify moisturizing ingredients and/or fruit acids and oils. These are great for restoring the hair's pH balance.
I also recommend that you use a swimming cap if you don't already. If you do, then try using petroleum jelly in a thin layer along the edges of the cap, to help make a more waterproof seal. You may also want to consider applying conditioner to your hair before putting it up under the cap. This will help protect the hair from the chlorinated water should any get beneath your cap.
Using these tips should help resolve the likely sources of the problem. Now, in order to treat the hair as it currently is: Take the conditioner you selected for your regular use and apply it to damp hair, comb it through the hair and cover the hair with a plastic cap and heat it using hot towels or a hair dryer for 20 minutes. The heat will allow the conditioner to penetrate more deeply into the hair and will help restore the hair to a more healthy-looking state.
The best way to treat the split ends is to have your hair trimmed. Be sure to explain to the stylist that you only want the split ends removed, so as to avoid having your hair cut shorter than necessary. Ask the stylist to show you how much hair he/she feels will have to be removed before any cutting is done. You can use anti-frizz serums to help hold the ends together, but I'm afraid that nothing will truly "repair" the split ends, and you risk having them worsen if you don't trim them.
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