How to Protect Hair From Chlorine Tap Water

Don’t let chlorinated tap water dry out and damage your hair – learn how to protect against it with these tips.

By: Maggie Irish

Many people are aware that chlorine can damage their hair after swimming, but did you know there may be chlorine in your tap water at home, and that can also damage your hair while you bathe? While chlorine is a common disinfectant used in public water systems across the United States, you still don’t want too much of it in your hair. In this article, we’ll discuss what chlorine does to your hair and how to protect it from chlorine tap water.

Why is chlorine bad for your hair?

Chlorine is bad for your hair due to its strong oxidizing properties and its ability to strip away natural oils and proteins from the hair shaft. This can leave your strands brittle and dull, and your scalp itchy and red. Regular exposure to chlorine can also make your hair porous, meaning it will break more easily and have a harder time growing.

Here are some other effects prolonged chlorine exposure has on hair: 

  • Dryness and frizz 
  • Hair appears lifeless 
  • Weakened hair leads to split ends 
  • Changes in the color of your hair—whether it’s natural or dyed
  • For bleached hair, chlorine may turn blonde pieces green

Additionally, certain hair types are at a greater risk of damage when washing their hair in chlorinated tap water, including:

  • Fine or thin hair 
  • Color-treated or bleached hair 
  • Chemically-treated hair 
  • Damaged hair 
  • Dry hair

8 Ways to protect hair from chlorine tap water

Even if you aren’t a regular swimmer, your hair may be exposed to chlorine when you shower. Here are a few ways you can protect your hair:

1. Use a shower filter

Using a shower filter is the best way to protect your hair from chlorinated tap water because it reduces the presence of chlorine in the water you shower with. Aquasana’s shower filters reduce 90% of chlorine for softer, more moisturized skin and hair. Every Aquasana shower head filter incorporates environmentally-friendly coconut shell carbon and patented Copper-Zinc (KDF) filtration media, which functions like a sponge to trap chlorine as water flows through it.

2. Reduce hair washing frequency

Another great strategy for reducing your hair’s exposure to the chlorine in your tap water is by simply washing your hair less. By washing your hair less, you can reduce your exposure to chlorine tap water and avoid drying out your hair and skin. While there are many factors that influence how often a person should wash their hair, many experts agree that you don’t need to wash your hair every day to enjoy healthy locks anyway. Plus, when you wash your hair less, you give your scalp more time to replenish its natural oils that keep your hair looking healthy and shiny.

3. Wear a shower cap every other wash

Similar to the previous tip, wearing a shower cap every other wash can also be an effective way to protect your hair from chlorine tap water by creating a barrier between your scalp and the water. During your hot shower, chlorine evaporates into steam and can still affect your hair even if you’re not washing it. You can’t fully eliminate the need to wash your hair — as not washing your hair frequently enough can be just as bad as overwashing! But, you can incorporate a shower cap into your routine to reduce your hair’s exposure to chlorine tap water.

4. Switch to gentle, sulfate-free shampoos

Sulfates, which are commonly found in many shampoos, can be harsh on hair and strip away its natural oils, leaving it more vulnerable to the drying effects of chlorine. A sulfate-free shampoo cleanses the hair without stripping away essential moisture, helping to maintain its natural hydration levels. If you need to shower often or are an avid swimmer who can’t avoid chlorine, a sulfate-free shampoo will help protect your hair.

5. Use a leave-in conditioner regularly

Leave-in conditioners create a protective barrier on the hair shaft, helping to seal in moisture and prevent chlorine from penetrating deeply into the hair cuticle. This barrier not only shields the hair from the drying effects of chlorine but also helps to maintain its natural elasticity and strength. Leave-in conditioners also often contain nourishing ingredients like vitamins, proteins, and oils that can repair and replenish the hair, making it more resilient to chlorine damage.

6. Air dry instead of using hot tools

Hot styling tools like hair dryers, curling irons, and straighteners dry out your hair from intense heat which makes your hair more susceptible to the damaging effects of chlorine. While you may need to use hot tools on occasion, air drying is a more gentle alternative that you should opt for whenever possible. By air drying, you give your hair a chance to recover and maintain its natural hydration levels, resulting in healthier, more resilient strands that are better equipped to withstand the damaging effects of chlorine in tap water.

7. Apply a hair oil

Another great tip for combating chlorinated tap water damage is to apply a hair oil. Similar to a leave-in conditioner, hair oils act as a protective barrier that coats the hair shaft and helps to prevent chlorine from penetrating deeply into the hair cuticle. This barrier both shields the hair from the drying effects of chlorine and helps to seal in moisture, keeping the hair hydrated and less prone to damage. Hair oils also typically contain nourishing vitamins and fatty acids that can strengthen your hair and make it more resilient against chlorinated tap water.

8. Drink more filtered water

Staying hydrated is key to maintaining healthy hair, as it ensures your strands have enough moisture to stay silky, strong, and healthy. However, just as showering with chlorine water can cause damage to your hair, drinking unfiltered water presents risk for your body. Contaminants in your tap water may pose a risk to your health, so make sure to use a water filter when you’re upping your hydration.

Don’t let chlorine tap water damage your hair

While chlorinated tap water can wreak havoc on the health of your hair, you don’t have to accept brittle, damaged locks. In fact, protecting your hair from the damaging effects of chlorinated tap water is achievable with the simple tips we outlined above. 

For a simple way to reduce your hair’s exposure to chlorine tap water, invest in a shower filter. Aquasana’s shower filters remove 90% of chlorine from water, which helps protect your hair and skin. With both a standard shower head filter and a shower filter with a handheld wand, you can customize your shower experience to meet your needs. 

Shop Aquasana’s selection of shower filters today!


Shower Filter with Handheld Wand - Chrome

Enjoy healthier hair and skin while removing chlorine. Includes upgraded chrome massaging handheld wand.