The one thing that wrecks a perfect day at the pool is the aftermath — that moment when you get home and try to comb through your hair. With your ends frustratingly sticky and tangled, you're mentally kicking yourself for dipping your head underwater. Chlorine in the pool and salt in the ocean can coat hair, making each strand feel brittle and dehydrated, but the worst thing you can do is haphazardly throw your hair up in a topknot to save yourself the hair pulling. Instead, take the time to remove any trace of chemicals from your hair.
According to Linda de Zeeuw, stylist at NYC's Rob Peetoom Salon, that process starts with a clarifying shampoo. "Most professional hair brands have created products designed specifically to protect the hair from the chlorine, sun, or salt damage," explains de Zeeuw. "While the shampoo is not always the end-all fix — it's best coupled with a good leave-in conditioner or a detangling spray — it will definitely make a huge difference."
Ahead, find the pro's guide to the best chlorine-removing shampoos. Stock up now, because soon you'll be posted up by the pool, sipping rosé in the sun and doing your best mermaid impression.
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Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo
Celebrity stylist Bryce Scarlett (Margot Robbie's red-carpet go-to guy) tells us that his top pick for rehabbing summer damage is Moroccanoil's ocean-blue bottle, the Clarifying formulation. "This shampoo gently strips hair of buildup caused by salt or chlorine without drying it out," he says. "I've found that it works on all hair lengths and textures, and basically deep-cleans the scalp to rehab dull, greasy, or limp roots."
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Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo
If you were on your high-school swim team, this Malibu C label may look familiar. It was created specifically to help competitive swimmers — who are in and out of the pool every day — keep their hair healthy out of the swim cap. "It's a gentle shampoo that prevents hair damage and discoloration caused by the pool," explains de Zeeuw. "So, if you're blonde, it will lift out any green and keep your color vibrant and shiny."
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Kérastase Soleil Shampoo
The damaging trifecta — sun, chlorine, and salt water — are practically undone by this Kérastase shampoo. "It's an anti-damage shampoo that actually fortifies your hair after sun exposure, leaving it stronger after one shower," explains de Zeeuw. Try f0llowing it with the brand's Masque Après Soleil Hair Mask to get each strand extra smooth.
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Tresemmé Ultimate Hydration Shampoo
Help can come from the drugstore, according to celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan, who loves this big bottle of shampoo that sells for just $5. "I love this shampoo for all hair types — anyone looking for a quick fix after chlorine, salt, and sun dehydration," she tells us. "It is super moisturizing, but washes out clean."
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Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo
The dryness or buildup you feel after squeezing pool water out of your hair is caused by offset pH levels, which is where this purifying shampoo comes into play. Marjan loves that it restores any chemical imbalance in the hair, creating healthier strands as a result.
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Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo
You don't want to use this stuff every day, but after hopping in the pool, it will be your godsend — especially if you have thick hair that's prone to frizz. "This is an amazing detoxifying shampoo," says Marjan. "It removes mineral buildup in the hair, but it is pretty stripping, so you don't want to overdo it if your hair is fine."
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Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo
The best pick for natural hair is a clarifying shampoo that cleans away buildup without stripping the hair of moisture. This one from Ouidad reboots curls after weeks of co-washing or a long day of swimming.