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Protect your hair from knots while swimming with these tips & products


With Memorial Day behind us, we can officially get excited that summer is here! A whole season of warm weather, beach days, cookouts and fun in the sun to look forward to. As you break your bikinis out of storage and stock up on sunscreen, it’s important to think about your seasonal hair care routines and how they may need to change.


For some of us, that may put “detangler” on our shopping list as we prepare for summer and days in the water. We know that different types of water affect our hair differently, and that we can avoid damage and dryness by taking taking a few preventative measures, but as we enter the season of pool days and beach swims there’s another important factor that we’ve knot yet addressed (see what we did there?)


There is nothing worse than coming out of the ocean or pool and reaching back to feel that your hair is matted into one large knot. Different factors, like hair type and processing, affect how prone you are to knots, and in this article we’ll dive deeper into what causes them and how to prevent them.


What Causes Knots

Hair can knot or tangle in water due to several different factors. When your hair is wet, there is an increase in elasticity which results makes it more prone to tangle. Digging deeper, this has to do mostly with the movement of water causing hair strands to intertwine and knot together. Additionally, the presence of shampoo, conditioner, or other hair products can contribute to increased friction between the hair strands, leading to more tangling if not addressed prior to entering the water.


In addition to these forces of nature, things also get a little personal. Your unique hair texture and condition plays a part in whether your hair knots or not. Dry or damaged hair is often more porous, creating more friction between strands that increases your chances of post-swim detangle sessions.


What you can do about it

Fortunately, there are some products and preventative measures you can take to avoid knotted hair. Whether you’re taking a dip in a friend's pool or spending a day snorkeling in the salt water, these tips can help to prevent your hair from knotting in the water.


Brush before entering the water

Before you take a dip, use a wide-toothed comb or a detangling brush to gently remove any existing tangles before getting into the water. This will make your hair less prone to knotting.


Control what’s absorbed by your hair

As recommended in our article on pre-swim hair care, wetting your hair with fresh water before entering a pool or the ocean will help avoid absorption of salt or chlorine, which can further dry hair and contribute to tangling.


Preventative pre-swim products

In addition to wetting your hair, applying a leave-in conditioner or a detangling spray before swimming can do wonders. These products can provide a protective barrier and make your hair more manageable, reducing friction and the chances of knots forming.


Tie it back

Tie your hair up or wear a swim cap to minimize contact with the water. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for this as hair type and texture play a role, but we’d recommend trying high ponytails or buns, braids for longer hair, or swim caps. Keeping your hair contained and away from the water's movement can help prevent tangling and the stress that comes with post-swim brush outs.


Post-swim hair care

While wetting hair pre-swim with fresh water helps to keep hair from absorbing chlorine and salt, their presence can still affect your hair. Avoid vigorously rubbing your hair with a towel after swimming as the friction can cause additional knotting. Instead, gently squeeze out excess water or pat your hair dry with a soft towel, re-applying detangler or leave-in conditioner before using a wide tooth comb or your fingers to gently detangle your hair while it’s still wet.

Start from the ends and work your way up, working out any light knots and avoiding additional breakage that can occur as a result.


Preventative measures

Regularly use a moisturizing conditioner and hair mask in the summer to keep your hair hydrated and less prone to tangling. Well-moisturized hair is generally more manageable. We’ve pulled together a list of some of our favorite products below!


Our favorite products for avoiding knots

Kérastase offers several products that are effective for detangling wet hair. Here are a few popular options:

Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique

This leave-in heat-protecting primer not only helps to protect your hair from heat styling tools but also provides detangling benefits. It strengthens and fortifies the hair, making it more resistant to breakage and tangling.



Kérastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique

This leave-in treatment is specifically designed for dry and sensitized hair. It provides nourishment, moisture, and heat protection while also helping to detangle and soften the hair.




Kérastase Discipline Keratine Thermique

Ideal for frizzy and unruly hair, this leave-in smoothing milk tames frizz, protects against humidity, and facilitates detangling. It leaves the hair feeling smoother, more manageable, and easier to comb through.



Kérastase Créme UV Sublime

This lightweight multi-protection hair cream is formulated with natural ingredients and helps to prevent frizz while adding UV protection and deeply hydrating locks, helping to detangle the hair and leaving it feeling soft and smooth.



Kérastase Bain Après-Soleil

The perfect post-swim product, shampoo is designed to remove chlorine, salt, and other impurities from your hair. It helps to gently cleanse and moisturize the hair, leaving it feeling refreshed and revitalized.


Kérastase Soleil Masque UV Défense Active

This deep-conditioning hair mask is formulated to repair and nourish sun-exposed and chlorine-damaged hair. It provides intense hydration, protects against UV rays, and helps to restore the hair's vitality and shine, helping to prevent knots.



Bottom Line

As always, remember to thoroughly rinse your hair with fresh water before and after swimming to minimize the absorption of chlorine or salt, which will in turn reduce knots and friction. Using products that keep your hair hydrated and help to avoid tangles is also something that should be added to your summer routine! If you’re unsure what to use, make sure to consult with your Tease Hair Boutique Stylist to determine the best products for your hair type and swimming needs.



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