How Soon Can I Swim After Coloring My Hair?


A refreshing dip in the pool can sound irresistible on a hot day. But if you just got your hair colored, is it safe to dive in? Or will your beautiful new hue be ruined? Here’s what you need to know about swimming after dyeing your hair.

Overview of Hair Dyeing

Let’s first recap what happens when you color your hair:

  • Permanent dye opens the cuticle and deposits color inside the hair shaft.

  • Developers and ammonia help the dye penetrate and adhere inside the strands.

  • Heat and processing time allow the color to fully set and develop.

  • Cuticles close once the dye oxidizes, locking in the color.

How Long Should You Wait Before Swimming?

After coloring, it’s best to wait 1-2 weeks before swimming. Here are some guidelines based on dye type:

  • Permanent color – Wait minimum 1 week before swimming

  • Demi-permanent color – Wait minimum 5-7 days before swimming

  • Semi-permanent color – Wait minimum 3 days before swimming

  • Highlight/bleach – Wait minimum 1 week before swimming

Giving your hair enough time allows the cuticle to fully close and seal in the color before water exposure.

What Could Happen If You Swim Too Soon?

Not waiting long enough to swim after dyeing can cause:

  • Chlorine drying out and damaging hair

  • Sun exposure fading color quickly

  • Dye bleeding out into the water

  • Uneven color results like splotchiness

  • Color turning dull, washed out, or muddy

  • Greenish tint from chlorine and metals

  • Weakened or compromised dye job

Tips for Swimming After Coloring Hair

To protect your freshly colored hair, be sure to:

  • Wet hair with fresh water before swimming

  • Apply a protective layer like leave-in or hair oil

  • Wear a tight swim cap over your hair

  • Rinse out chlorine immediately after swimming

  • Wash with a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo

  • Use a deep conditioner to restore moisture

  • Limit sun exposure by keeping hair covered

  • Get a trim to maintain healthy ends after processing

Seeing a Stylist Before Swimming

Your best bet is to consult your stylist first if planning to swim right after a salon dye job. A professional can:

  • Check the hair’s condition before clearing you to swim

  • Suggest the gentlest wash methods to prep hair before swimming

  • Provide personalized advice on protecting your specific color

  • Recommend the ideal post-swim care regimen for your hair

  • Delay coloring services if you have a vacation or swim events planned soon

The Bottom Line

While it varies by individual, following general swimming guidelines of 1-2 weeks after coloring protects the dye job. Preparation is key – wet hair, use barriers, rinse thoroughly after. And when in doubt, talk to your stylist first! With the proper precautions, you can safely enjoy the water without sacrificing your beautiful new tint.

Keep Your Hair Color From Fading While Swimmimg


How do I protect my newly dyed hair from chlorine?

Go for a presoak.

“Head over to one of those rinse-off stations, and wet your hair with clean water before you get in the pool,” says Goddard. “This trick lets your hair absorb less chlorine, or salt water if you’re dipping in the ocean.

Can I dye my hair if I was in the pool?

Wait at least 24 hours before coloring: Chlorine can dry out your hair and make it more prone to damage from chemicals like bleach or dye. It’s best to wait a day or two after swimming before applying any type of color.

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