Why Hair Turns Green in The Pool and How to Fix It

Got green hair after swimming in the pool and wonder where the green cast comes from?

The green hair is caused by the pool when there is too much copper in the water. This happens due to incorrect use of the algaecide or when filling the pool with well water. The metal oxidizes by reacting with chlorine and colors the hair green.

In this article, you will learn the causes of green hair – also known as swimmer hair – and how to remove the green cast.

Why does the pool water turn hair green?

The answer to the question of why your hair turns green from the water in the pool is no secret.

It has nothing to do with the pool water being green. The copper content in the water alone is to blame for the hair getting a green touch.

I’ve also heard of cases where too much lime in the pool caused green hair – but usually, it’s copper.

In the pool, the copper oxidizes when it reacts with chlorine. This causes the pool walls, stairs, and floor to be covered with green stains.

The oxidized metal also binds to the proteins of the hair, and as a result, the hair turns green.

This problem affects not only blonde hair but also brown hair and nails.

The green color in the hair and on the nails usually only occurs when the limit levels ​​in the pool are clearly exceeded.

Many people struggle with this problem on vacation when the pool water at the hotel is not optimally prepared – a pretty bad time.

But even in private swimming pools, it is not uncommon for people with brown and blonde hair to get green hair after jumping into the pool.

But how does the copper get into the pool water, and is a high copper level dangerous for your health?

How does the copper get into the pool?

The copper usually enters the pool in one of three different ways.

On vacation, you have no influence on the water treatment in the pool.

Still, as a private person, you can avoid green nails and green hair from the pool in the future with my tips.

Green hair from chlorine

Chlorine is one of the most effective pool maintenance products, and as long as the chlorine is dosed correctly, swimming in the pool is safe.

However, some manufacturers add a certain amount of copper to the di-chlorine or tri-chlorine so that the chlorine works better against algae.

If the chlorine is misused: Say hello, green hair.

Therefore, pay attention to which chlorine you buy for pool cleaning and orient yourself to my instructions in the blog for the optimal use of pool chemicals.

I recommend the following chlorine.

During hot summer days, you need 400 g of chlorine weekly (approx. 10-12 kg/year).

It is important that the chlorine level is always between 0.3 – 1.5 ppm in your pool and does not exceed the limit level.

Otherwise, blonde hair will get the typical green tint.

Algicides in the pool as the main cause of green hair

The algaecide is a copper-based agent to inhibit the growth of algae.

I recommend adding the algaecide to your pool after a pool shock or if you have a big problem with algae in your swimming pool.

If the hair turns green from the pool, it is often because a bad algaecide with a high copper content is being used – this can be recognized by excessive foaming in your pool.

During the week, 1 liter of algaecide per 100 m³ of pool water is sufficient. That sounds like a lot, but with a 50 m³ tank, that’s 0.5 liters per week.

If you have used too much of the algaecide in your pool, the only thing that will help is water change in your pool.

You don’t have to empty the entire pool, but a certain part of the pool water has to go out because no chemical can lower the copper content in the water.

You can try to lower the copper level with the flocculant. Read how the pool flocculant is used in my blog post under the link.

The pool water source contains too much copper

Water from the well contains iron, zinc, and possibly a high proportion of copper.

Suppose you fill your pool with water from the well and do not treat the water accordingly. In that case, the copper level in your pool will increase significantly over time.

Especially when the water source is close to vineyards, an increased copper level in the water is expected. This is because winemakers sprinkle the grapes with copper-containing pesticides, and these get into the groundwater.

A pre-filter can help to filter out some of the copper.

Test the parameters ​​in the pool regularly and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when using chemicals.

The hair should not get a green hue if the pool chemicals are used optimally.

Does dyed blonde hair turn green in the saltwater pool?

There is the same risk that your hair will be colored green by the water in a saltwater pool because chlorine is also available here for disinfection.

The chlorine in saltwater is created by a salt electrolyzer dissolving pure salt in the water. In the end, chlorine comes out to disinfect the pool water.

When this chlorine then reacts with the copper in the water, this leads – as already explained – to green hair and green clothing.

Therefore, a saltwater pool is not a solution against green hair from the pool.

But what exactly helps that the pool no longer shades your hair green?

Prevent green hairs from the pool water

I explained that copper in pool water is to blame for green hair.

Therefore, the best solution is to keep the copper away from the pool water as much as possible or to lower the copper level afterward.

Measures as a pool owner against green hair:

  • Test the pool water: Test the pool water regularly with an appropriate water tester to determine whether there is too much copper in the pool. If so, then the main cause of green hair has been identified.
  • Use an algaecide without copper: The algaecide is high in copper and, if overdosed, can cause green hair and green nails. Buy an algaecide with little or, ideally, no copper.
  • Use a metal remover: This type of pool chemistry does not remove the iron or copper from the pool, it simply binds them and prevents oxidation. But, the metal remover should never be used together with a phosphate remover.
  • Install a water filter before filling the pool: If there is too much copper in the water source, a pre-filter is best suited to remove the copper before filling.

Measures as a bather against green hair:

  • Wear a swim cap: Wearing a swim cap while swimming is a matter of taste, but the cap will keep your hair dry and effectively prevent your hair from turning green from the pool.
  • Special hair shampoo after swimming: Don’t give the copper time to work in your hair and go straight under the garden shower. The shampoo should contain chelating substances and is often referred to as a swimmer shampoo.
  • Leave hair softener in your hair: Before taking a swim in the pool, you can massage a fabric softener into your hair and leave it inside. The hair softener makes it difficult for the oxidized copper to bind to the hair. But I would avoid this in my private pool because the colloids will pollute your pool. 
  • Use apple cider vinegar: The apple cider vinegar seals the hair and ideally prevents it from turning green – I prefer the swimming cap.

As you can see, there are many actions you can take as a pool owner to prevent green hair.

But even on vacation, you are not lost if you protect your bleached hair accordingly.

But what if it is already too late and you realize that the pool has turned your hair green?

How to remove the green cast from the hair

Colorful hair is currently popular, but when you get out of the pool, and your hair involuntarily takes on a green tint, that’s annoying.

So what to do when you got green hair by the pool?

# 1 Special shampoo for green hair

If the hair has a slight green tint from the pool, a special hair shampoo can help remove the green color.

You can buy such shampoo under the link in the Amazon shop.

Wash your hair regularly with the swimmer shampoo, and the green cast should go away quickly.

In order for this to work more effectively, I recommend using it on dry hair.

The shampoo is suitable for the shower directly after the pool and to remove unwanted green coloring of the hair.

# 2 Ketchup and tomato juice for green hair after the pool

Ketchup and tomato juice contains a lot of red pigments that can help neutralize the green cast in your hair.

  1. Spread the ketchup over a large area in the hair and let it work for 15-30 minutes.
  2. Then the sauce and the green tinge in the hair are washed out with shampoo.

This method with ketchup is popular in forums but only works if the green color is light.

# 3 Vitamin C can help reduce the green cast in hair

The acetylsalicylic acid can help get rid of green hair. A vitamin C tablet is simply used.

  1. Dissolve the vitamin C tablet in 1 liter of water – 2 tablets can be used for a strong green cast.
  2. The mixture is then applied to the hair.
  3. Wait for 20 minutes before you wash your hair.

This is not a cosmetic website, but a conditioner should be applied after use as the acetylsalicylic acid can damage hair.

You don’t have any vitamin C on hand at the moment?

Try the same with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

# 4 Baking soda as a home remedy for green hair

Another way to remove green hair is baking soda.

  1. Take a small pack of baking soda and mix it in a cup with a bit of water until a paste is formed.
  2. The paste is applied to the appropriate areas in the hair.
  3. Wait 15 minutes before you wash the paste off your hair.
  4. Repeat the process if necessary.

Baking soda doesn’t work as well as acetylsalicylic acid or ketchup. It takes several uses for the green hair to fade.

Do you have any further questions about pool maintenance?

Use the internal search function or contact me at @contactswimfool on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube – I’ll be happy to help you personally.

In this sense, have fun bathing.

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Hi. I'm Max Berg. I've been in the pool industry since 2015 and have always felt drawn to water. I'm the author behind swimfool.com, where I share my years of experience in pool maintenance and give helpful tips on keeping a swimming pool or hot tub clean. My tips reduce the costs of water treatment and protect the environment.

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