Hair highlights turned green by chlorine??

AndyTN

Bronze Supporter
Mar 27, 2019
263
Memphis
My wife gets her hair highlighted blond and her hair dresser was warning her about chlorine in our pool turning her hair green after too much exposure soon after getting the highlights put in. Now my wife is constantly asking me pesky questions about the chlorine level in the pool before she will get in. I keep the FC level within the CYA chart ranges and wouldn't let anyone swim with high FC levels close to SLAM anyway so I don't see how the chlorine being higher could increase any risk.

Anyway, is this just a myth about chlorine turning hair highlights green at any level of FC? While her hair dresser should be knowledgeable about hair, I definitely wouldn't consider her a TFP Expert and wouldn't have much knowledge about pool chemistry...
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
23,885
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
So.... how did this copper get in the water?

Copper algaecide? Or do you buy those Clorox Blue pucks for your feeder?

You need to stop adding copper and then make plans to remove or sequester what's already in there or your wife's hair will keep turning green.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
So her hair hasn't actually turned green right? That was just a warning from the hairdresser. And stated above it is copper, which we never recommend be added to a pool, that causes green hair.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,067
Tucson, AZ
So let me clarify things a bit - chlorine exposure does turn hair green or causes discoloration it IF the hair has been exposed to metals like copper or iron. Unfortunately blonde hair and hair that is bleached and then dyed is more porous and able to absorb metal ions more readily. Essentially the hair will hold onto these metals. Then, when the hair is exposed to chlorine, the chlorine oxidizes the metal and changes color. Green is typical of copper exposure while a reddish/brown darkening will occur from iron exposure.

Metal exposure can come from many sources not related to your pool. Your household plumbing can leave trace metal contaminants in the water as can showers at other places. Some hair products contain metal ions and, believe it or not, food sources of micronutrients can leave trace metal ions in your hair (lead positing can be confirmed via hair samples).

So, in truth, your wife could develop green hair or discoloration even if your pool has no metal ion in it.
 
Last edited:

Chickinvic

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
266
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Copper is what makes hair green, usually from algaecides. Not chlorine.
I've never used algaecides, use salt water chlorine generator, am natural blonde with a few highlights and my hairdresser tells me my hair takes on a green tinge when I've been swimming in the pool lots. Although, we do top up the pool from pur well, so there could be some metals in the water.
 

Mr Bruce

TFP Guide
Mar 24, 2014
2,444
Greenville, SC
I've never used algaecides, use salt water chlorine generator, am natural blonde with a few highlights and my hairdresser tells me my hair takes on a green tinge when I've been swimming in the pool lots. Although, we do top up the pool from pur well, so there could be some metals in the water.
See Matt's comments above. It's possible to pick up the metal from another source other than copper algaecides and is then oxidixed by chlorine, but I'm convinced the majority of people who have their hair turn green from a swimming pool get it from copper based algaecides.
 
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frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,250
Key West, FL
Nexxus used to make an "aloe rid" shampoo that worked great, but I'm having trouble finding it. There are similar products on the market though that will work.
 

AndyTN

Bronze Supporter
Mar 27, 2019
263
Memphis
Just to clarify, my wife hasn't had any issues with her hair turning colors. She was just told high chlorine could cause it to turn green and keeps mentioning it. I thought it was a myth so I wanted to pose the question. I have had copper/iron stain issues in my pool before so I am frequently checking for metals and using the Cu-lator packs constantly to absorb any.

So since the chlorine doesn't turn hair green, maybe I should just have her lay back on the pool deck and dip in her hair the next time I'm doing a SLAM? The chlorine could bleach the hair and I could save $80 instead of her getting highlights... (this is not serious by the way)
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
A possible preventative, or at lease risk reduction, would be to wet your hair in the shower before getting in the pool. If there are metals in the pool water, then would be less likely to be absorbed into the hair if it was already saturated.
 
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Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
842
Alamo, CA
Who remembers those rubber swim caps ladies wore decades ago? Back in the '70s, when I was a long-haired hippie, some pools made me wear them. And I'm no lady.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,067
Tucson, AZ
Coconut/palm oil rubbed into her hair before swimming (just a thin amount) will completely exclude any chlorine from contacting her hair. And her hair would be very well conditioned ....

Or, just use a cheap swimmer’s cap. The lady folk drop upwards of $200 or more on those fancy hair-doo’s (by contrast, my hair styling consists of running an aging pair of rusty clippers over my head and costs $0). Why ruin them ?
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,569
Houston, Texas
I do know from a recent hair color mishap (I admit nothing!) that if you crush up a handfull of vitamin C tablets, mix them with generic Head and Shoulders, and apply the mixture to damp hair and leave it covered in plastic for an hour before washing it out, it dramatically reduces the intensity of hair dye on freshly dyed hair. This works with temporary dyes, not permanent dyes. It might help for copper-green hair.
 
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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,067
Tucson, AZ
I do know from a recent hair color mishap (I admit nothing!) that if you crush up a handfull of vitamin C tablets, mix them with generic Head and Shoulders, and apply the mixture to damp hair and leave it covered in plastic for an hour before washing it out, it dramatically reduces the intensity of hair dye on freshly dyed hair. This works with temporary dyes, not permanent dyes. It might help for copper-green hair.
So the fuchsia & purple highlights just didn’t work out for ya ?‍♂
 
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frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,250
Key West, FL
I do know from a recent hair color mishap (I admit nothing!) that if you crush up a handfull of vitamin C tablets, mix them with generic Head and Shoulders, and apply the mixture to damp hair and leave it covered in plastic for an hour before washing it out, it dramatically reduces the intensity of hair dye on freshly dyed hair. This works with temporary dyes, not permanent dyes. It might help for copper-green hair.
Oooh I dunno... I remember an old post by "Waterbear" about testing for metals involving vitamin C... it made copper turn blackish/darker. I'd be worried about that. Somewhere there is an old thread about a homemade recipe he shared that corrected the issue.