Can I Swim With Box Braids?

If you have box braids and want to know if you can swim with them, you’ve come to the right place.

I have found the answer to that very question; from conversations with my hairstylist and friends who often have box braids, I have summed up some need-to-know info about swimming with box braids. Take a look!

Swimming with box braids is possible but not recommended for various reasons. These include the fact that chemicals in chlorinated pools and salt in seawater can shorten your braids’ lifespan and damage your natural hair by stripping natural oils and moisture, thus causing your hair to be brittle and matted which may lead to breakage.

Keep reading to find out exactly what measures you can take and what tricks to try in order to ensure that your natural hair and box braids are always protected when you go swimming!

How To Protect Your Box Braids Before Swimming

How to Protect Your Hair/Braids While Swimming

There are a lot of preventative measures that you can take to protect your hair and braids before swimming; if you’re interested in finding out what those are, keep reading!

The best way to protect your box braids before swimming is to wet your hair till it’s 80% wet, not damp, then apply some of your favorite sulfate-free leave-in conditioners. Wait at least 10 minutes after applying the leave-in conditioner before going for a swim. For extra protection, invest in a swimming cap or tie your braids in an updo.

Keep reading to find out more handy preventative ways to protect your braids from chlorinated and salty pool water!

1. Apply Coconut Oil

Coconut oil or olive oil is an affordable and effective product that you can use to protect your hair from any damage caused by chlorine. By rubbing coconut or olive oil on your scalp, you stimulate the production of sebum, a natural hair oil needed to keep your hair moisturized and strong.

These oils help to retain moisture to your hair and braids as they have nutrients A, E, and also antioxidants filled in them.

Coconut oil additionally protects the keratin in your hair, making it easier to lock in moisture. So regardless of whether your hair ends up getting in contact with chlorinated water, your hair strands and box braids will be protected from drying out.

2. Apply A Leave-In Conditioner

Much the same as coconut oil and olive oil, the leave-in conditioner gives your hair and braids a protective layer. It lessens split-ends, detangles hair strands, and keeps your braids soft, smooth, and flawless.

Unlike rinse-out conditioners that you use while in the shower, leave-in conditioners are utilized after you wash your hair and are then rinsed out during your next wash day.

Since the leave-in conditioner adds an additional element of moisture and hydration to your hair, the chlorine will not be able to dry out or penetrate your hair follicles. There are also some leave-in conditioners that are used solely for swimming. Just make sure they are sulfate-free so that your braids are also protected.

After you’ve had your swim, simply rinse out your hair to rinse the leave-in conditioner out so your hair and braids do not get matted.

3. Wear A Swimming Cap

Wearing a waterproof swimming cap is presumably the best way to keep your hair and braids protected from chlorine or sea-salt, especially if you don’t want to overload your hair and braids with hair products.

Swimming caps these days come in all sizes and styles, so even if your box braids are on the thicker side, they will be accommodated.

Swimming caps can decrease or even prevent the amount of water that manages to wet your hair and possibly cause it to dry out thus leading to hair damage. They’re likewise reusable and since your scalp won’t be exposed to the chlorine as much, they will allow your hair and braids to retain moisture and stay healthy.

4. Try Wetting Your Hair before Taking A Dip

This may sound a bit confusing, but wetting your hair with clean water before you enter the pool or the ocean can be a really good precautionary measure and extremely effective in keeping your hair and braids protected from chlorinated water or saltwater.

Wetting your hair before swimming is actually a common strategy for swimmers who are trying to protect their hair.

Having your hair wet before you go for a dip in the pool or ocean diminishes the opportunity of chlorinated or salty water entering your hair follicles and being retained in the hair follicles. This is because your hair follicles are already at the capacity of how much water they can retain.

So next time you want to go for a swim, wet your hair in the shower first!

5. Tie Your Braids Up

The way you decide to wear your box braids to the pool can help keep your hair protected. In case you’re going to the pool for a short holiday or light swim, perhaps even a workout, try to keep your head and hair out of the water however much as possible.

If you’re able to, always try to avoid getting your hair and braids wet by keeping your head above water whilst you swim. Putting your braids up in a high bun will limit the contact your hair has with the water and thus lessen the amount of salt or chlorine that your hair will be exposed to.

So the next time you want to go for a quick dip, try styling your box braids in an easy yet secure updo!

6. Swim In Outdoor Pools

Although a lot of gyms and apartments in the city have indoor pools and they’re perfect for swimming in cold weather, always try to swim in an outdoor pool whenever possible!

Outdoor pools allow for the chemicals in chlorinated water to escape in the air, and this leaves less of the chemicals in the water, thus ensuring that there are fewer chlorine deposits in your hair and braids.

Truth be told, these pools are better for a lot more than just your hair; they’re also more beneficial for your eyes, sinuses, and respiratory wellbeing. On the off chance that you need to swim in an indoor pool, you should search for one that’s well ventilated to help chlorine gases escape.

Final Thoughts

So as you can see, swimming with your box braids is infact a normal thing to do, just as long as you take measures to protect your natural hair and braids from drying out as this can lead to more serious hair problems like split-ends, for example.

An important thing to always remember is that, even with the precautionary measures listed above, if you have been swimming with box braids, then ensure that you thoroughly rinse your hair out with clean water.

Please do not wait for your hair and braids to dry first. Rinse them out immediately after swimming in chlorinated or salty water.

Related Questions

Can you shower with box braids?

You can shower with braids, especially on wash days, as keeping your braids clean is just as important as keeping your natural hair clean. That said, avoid wetting your hair in the shower every day as this can lead to frizziness and reduce your braids’ lifespan, not to mention add additional weight to your hair strands that may lead to breakage.


Hey, I’m Jodie, the gal behind CraftyHairHacks. I have a deep passion for hair extensions, hairstyles, and almost anything that has to do with hair, which leads me to the writing and research I do for this website daily. Our site is still small, however, we’re pushing to get the best hair hacks out to as many as people as possible. ENJOY!

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