We don't swim very often, but we do put the children in summer swimming lessons, and we do make a handful of family trips to the pool each summer.
My daughters and I all have long fine hair, and I worry about chlorine damage. I thought I'd share what we do to protect our hair when we swim.
Before we swim, we use shea butter to protect our hair. You can order this online, or buy it in the ethnic hair care section at Wal-Mart, which is where I bought mine. Just put a pea-sized dab in your hand, let your body warmth melt it, and then rub it on the length of your hair, from the neck down. The shea butter will help to condition the hair and provide a coating to keep the chlorine from soaking into the hair. It also helps to hold your hair in a neat braid. Sometimes I use it to prevent loose hairs from escaping my braid or bun, even when I'm not swimming.
Braid the hair and secure with a snug hairband. This will help prevent the inevitable tangles that come from swimming, and prevent breakage when trying to detangle the hair.
After swimming, gently remove the braid and gently comb the hair. Wash and condition hair as soon as possible. If you or your daughter swim often, and you notice a dry crunchiness to the ends of your hair, you can use the shea butter to help deep condition the ends after washing, as well.
Shea butter can be used alone, or it can be used to make Fox's Shea Butter Conditioning Cream -- recipe found HERE. I use olive oil when mixing Fox's Shea Butter Conditioning Cream (SBCC), because I have that on hand. If you use olive oil, you might be able to use only 1/4 part oil instead of 1/2 part oil. I keep my SBCC in a small plastic food storage container with an air tight lid. One batch can last a long while.
Enjoy your summer, and keep your hair healthy!