Why did the pool turn my hair green?

Swimming is great exercise, but we’ve all experienced the effects of spending time in chlorinated water. While chlorine keeps pool water sanitary, its chemical properties produce a number of annoying and sometimes bizarre side effects. One of these side effects is especially unexpected: chlorinated pool water has the curious ability to give blond hair a blue-green tint. This goes against everything we were taught about chlorine, which – as anyone who’s gotten bleach on their sleeve can tell you – is supposed to turn things white, not green.

So why does chlorinated water turn hair green? The answer isn’t in the chlorine itself. The real culprit is the microscopic bits of metals found in pool water. One of these metals – copper – takes on a greenish or bluish tint when oxidized. Copper is found in algaecides, pool equipment, and even naturally in some water. While copper oxidation does occur naturally given a long enough time, the chlorine in pool water acts as a catalyst, speeding up the process. This means that even before you jump in your pool, traces of oxidized copper are already floating inside, waiting to stain either the sides of your pool or, if you’re not lucky, your hair.

Because your hair follicles naturally produce oil that seals itself against foreign chemicals, the oxidized copper you usually come in contact with just bounces harmlessly off. Unfortunately, chlorine breaks down this natural defense. It is such an effective disinfectant because it eradicates dirt, oil, and bacteria but, because of this, it also strips away the beneficial oils in your hair and skin. That is why both can get cracked and dry with prolonged exposure to pool water. Without protection, the pores in your hair actually become receptive to foreign chemicals, allowing thousands of the blue-green oxidized copper molecules to bind to them. The green molecules are especially visible on people with blond hair, but people with dyed hair are also adversely affected.

Protecting your hair from copper stains is deceptively simple. Our One Step Shampoo is designed not only to neutralize chlorine in your hair, but also to remove the metals found in pool water. Just wash your hair with it after swimming and the green tint is gone. One Step Shampoo gently leaves your hair chlorine-free, metal-free, and conditioned—all in one step!