Why Blond Hair Turns Green in Pool Water and How to Fix It

by Matt Giovanisci | Last Updated: July 28, 2013

Blondes have more fun, according to Rod Stewart. However,when they exit a swimming pool, blondes have more trouble too: green hair!

I’m sure you’ve heard it before – swimming pools can turn blond hair green. Most people are under the false impression that chlorine is to blame. The truth is, chlorine is not the main enemy, but it’s a sidekick.

So, the question is….

What Turns Blond Hair Green In A Swimming Pool?

The answer is: copper!

Copper is a metal that is found in some swimming pools, particularly ones that are filled using well water. Copper can also enter the pool water from certain copper-based algaecides If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. .

So how does copper in pool water turn your hair green?

The copper in the water is oxidized by chlorine, which then binds to the proteins in the hair strands. The metal will produce a green tint in the hair. Simple chemistry.

Will Blond Hair Turn Green in a Saltwater Pool?

Short answer: yes.

Saltwater pools are chlorine-based pools. However, instead of adding chlorine manually with tablets or powder, salt is added to the water, which runs through an electrically charged generator If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. , turning the salt into chlorine.

If you have copper in the water, and the chlorine created by the salt oxidizes it, it may turn your hair green just like a regular chlorine swimming pool.

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3 Ways To Prevent Green Hair From a Pool

If you’re the pool owner, you can start by getting your pool checked for metals, especially copper. You can use test strips If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. at home or take a sample of your water to your local pool store to have it professionally checked.

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1. Stop Using Copper-Based Algaecides

Some algaecides contain copper, and are very effective in killing algae, but they can also cause staining and, of course, green hair.

Look for polyquat algaecides to use in your pool as a weekly algae preventative, such as Algaecide 60 If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. . Or don’t use algaecide at all and just keep your chlorine level in check.

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2. Remove The Metals In The Water

If you have metals in your water, be sure to use a hose filter If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. while filling your pool.

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3. Hair Conditioner and Other Treatments

You can protect your hair by using a leave-in conditioner If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. before swimming. Also, wash and rinse your hair as soon as you get out of the pool.

You can also use a gloss coat If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. that seals the hair cuticle. This will prevent the copper from attaching to the hair strands and turning it green.

At home, you can use a hot oil treatment If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. that you can pick up at a local drugstore or beauty supply shop.

These simple techniques will protect your hair from the metal in the water. If those don’t work, or you don’t have the means to do them, you can always wear a swim cap If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. .

How To Fix Green Hair From a Swimming Pool

We’ve outlined two different remedies you can use to get rid of the green hair you got from swimming in a pool.

Professional Shampoo

If you’re hair is already green from the swimming pool, you can use a shampoo that chelates the metal.

Chelate: A chemical compound in the form of a heterocyclic ring, containing a metal ion attached by coordinate bonds to at least two nonmetal ions.

In other words, removes the green tint from your hair. Here are a few recommendations:

Home Remedies

Using a liberal amount of tomato juice If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. in your hair and on your scalp for 5-10 minutes works wonders. You can then wash it with shampoo and use regular conditioner.

Happy Swimming!

Matt Giovanisci, the founder of Swim University®, started in the pool and spa industry at age 13 and moved to bigger companies along the way, helping thousands of pool and hot tub owners every year. He wanted to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale, so he launched Swim University® in 2007. Since then, he's worked to make pool and hot tub care easy for over 10 million homeowners. And each year, he continues to help more people with water chemistry, cleaning, and troubleshooting.

Frustrated by adding chemicals and trying to keep your pool clear all the time?

We cut out all the confusion of pool maintenance in this easy-to-read illustrated ebook and video course. It'll help you save $100 right away on pool care!

Click here to learn more
The Pool Care Handbook