Can You Swim With Clip-In Hair Extensions? ANSWERED!

Clip-in hair extensions are the easiest and fastest way to get extra length and thickness in your natural hair, but, one of the main questions people ask is whether one can swim with them in! I’ve researched this thoroughly and I am here to answer the question once and for all!

You should not swim with your clip-in hair extensions in. Hair extensions are a lot weaker than natural hair as there is no natural source of oil and nutrients. The chemicals or salt found in the pool and sea water can damage the hair! The extensions will become dry and may become matted, tangled with your natural hair, and even change color.

So, let’s dive right in and unpack the consequences of swimming with your clip-in extensions in! Keep reading to learn more.

Reasons You Should Avoid Swimming With Clip-In Hair Extensions

Hair extensions are a lot more sensitive than natural hair as the hair fibers have often been heavily processed and treated to achieve a glossy look and feel. As such, extensions are so much weaker and more easily prone to damage than natural hair.

As the hair in the extensions is not growing from your scalp, it does not receive any natural sebum or oils that would keep the hair soft and moisturized. The salty and chlorinated water strips the hair of any oil or naturally occurring sebum and this can dry out the hair fibers permanently.

It is so important to look after your hair extensions and avoid swimming with them, as this can lead to a deterioration in the appearance and quality of the hair extensions.

The main cause of damage to hair extensions through swimming is the makeup of the water you are swimming in. Seawater has a very high salt content and pool water is often treated with chlorine. Chlorine is a chemical used to treat pool water to remove and prevent bacteria from growing.

The hair extensions, when stripped of all moisture, will become dry and brittle and this could lead to further problems. The dry hair will tangle a lot more easily with your natural hair and matted sections may develop.

The chlorine chemicals in the water may even cause the hair extensions to oxidize and change color! Your blonde extensions could turn green and your brunette extensions could become very brassy toned!

Finally, the extensions will become heavy and waterlogged when submerged in water. This would cause the clips to pull on your natural hair at the roots and this tension could lead to hair loss!

6 Ways To Protect Your Extensions On Holiday

Tips for swimming with extensions.

If you are going on holiday, you probably don’t want to ditch your extensions permanently! We all like to look and feel confident, and sometimes, having your extensions it is unavoidable when on holiday.

The best way to protect your clip-in extensions when going for a swim on holiday is to take them out before you go for your swim. However, if that’s not an option for you, you can apply a lightweight SPF spray to your hair’s length and wear a hat or swimming cap when swimming. Also, don’t get your hair wet.

Follow the tips below on how to care for your extensions when on holiday and at least reduce any damage to them if they do accidentally get wet!

01. Remove your extensions before you swim.

The first thing you should try and do is remove your clip-in extensions before jumping in the pool! One of the benefits and main selling points of clip-in hair extensions is that they are so quick and easy to remove.

This means you can easily wear them when lounging at the poolside or tanning on the beach and then remove them just before you go swimming! That way you can look and feel great at the beach or pool but don’t have to damage your hair extensions when you go for a dip!

02. Carry a swimming cap with you.

If you aren’t able to remove your extensions, make sure that you have a swimming cap with you whenever you go on holiday or go swimming. Although the cap won’t keep your hair and extensions fully dry, it will act as a barrier between the hair and the water and provide some protection from the water.

If you can, try not to submerge your head under the water. The swimming cap will protect the hair from any accidental splashes!

03. Condition your hair before heading out to the pool.

Another great tip is to pre-condition your hair before going to the beach or pool. To do this, start by wetting the hair and applying your conditioner to the lengths of the hair. Comb the product through the hair using a wide-tooth comb so that it is evenly distributed throughout the hair.

The conditioner will coat the hair and act as a protective mask, preventing the chlorine or salt from drying it out too much and damaging the hair. This is a great method of protecting your hair in case there are any leaks from the swimming pool!

04. Braid or twist your hair before swimming.

You should also consider braiding or twisting your hair and extensions before heading out for a day at the beach or pool. This trick has been shown to reduce drying out of the hair and saving them from unnecessary damage.

As the hair is braided or twisted, only one layer of hair is exposed to any accidental splashes of water and this can protect the hair on the inside of the twist or braid. Just be sure that you are not dunking your head underwater as this trick will not work!

05. Wash and rinse your hair after swimming.

If your extensions do accidentally get wet with seawater or chlorinated water, you’re going to want to wash them right away. You need to wash out any excess saltwater or chlorinated water that could damage the hair further as it sits on the hair fibers for longer periods of time.

Wash your extensions with a sulfate-free shampoo as this is more gentle on the hair and will not strip the hair of any oils or moisture as a regular shampoo would. You may even want to shampoo the extensions twice just to be sure.

Do not brush your extensions while they are wet as this could cause breakage or cause them to frizz. Hair is always more vulnerable when wet so you need to be extra gentle! Once the shampoo has been rinsed out, apply a deep conditioning treatment on the hair strands to try and replenish any lost moisture.

06. Avoid further heat damage

Lastly, you need to stay away from heat tools and any other sources of extreme heat that could dry out the hair even more and leave it feeling brittle and coarse. Instead of using a hairdryer or heat styling tools, allow your extensions to air-dry overnight and then detangle once they are completely dry.

Also, avoid direct sun exposure as this could dry out the hair and cause it to feel rough instead of silky smooth! If you do need to be in the sun, make sure you have a hat with you to protect your extensions!

If you would like to learn more about this, then check out our article 5 Things To Know When Swimming With Hair Extensions: Fresh & Salt Water!

Final Thoughts

Hair extensions can be pricey and are a real investment, so you want to avoid damaging them otherwise you will have to replace them sooner than you thought!

Hair extensions require a lot more care than natural hair as they do not have the natural source of oil from the scalp to keep them healthy and soft, so it is up to you to look after them properly!

Related questions

I swam with my clip-in hair extensions in and they are tangled with my own hair. How can I detangle them? Help!

The first thing you should do is apply a sulfate-free detangling lotion or spray all over the hair, focusing on the tangled and matted sections. Work through the tangles and knots carefully and gently, using a wide-tooth comb. Make sure not to tug and pull at the hair as this could cause breakage. Add more of the detangling lotion if need be.

Once the tangles are removed, wash your hair and extensions with a sulfate-free shampoo to remove the detangling lotion residue and condition as normal. Do not brush your extensions while they are wet. Allow the extensions to air dry and comb through the hair when it is completely dry to remove any last tangles.


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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