Why does hair turn green in highly chlorinated tap water?

I'd like to clear up the confusion about why hair turns green....

Although chlorine often gets the blame for turning hair green after swimming,  or after being washed frequently in highly chlorinated tap water like Christchurch City is being exposed too, it’s actually copper and other hard metals that do the dirty work.  Chlorine is just along for the ride. Copper and metals like iron and manganese are present in a lot of our water. When chlorine is introduced to the water as a cleaning agent, it oxidizes the hard metals found in the water. Hair, being naturally porous catches the oxidized metals and turns a greenish tint (like copper turns green when they are oxidized).

So why does only blonde hair turn green?

Blonde hair is more susceptible to discoloration because of its light hue, and of course lightening hair can add to the porosity, making it even more susceptible. Brown, black, and red hair is just as exposed to copper and chlorine in the water, but they just don’t show the tint as obviously as blondes. But no matter what your hair colour is, if you have highlights in your hair, those lightened strands can be affected, so it’s important to take precaution.

How can green hair be avoided?

There are several things you can do to avoid green hair. If you own your own swimming pool, be sure to use a copper-free algaecide, and look into attaching a filter to your hose that prevents metals in the water from entering the pool. If you live in an area of highly chlorinated tap water you will have to investigate getting a filter attached to your water supply entry that will remove the metals.  Without the metals in the water, chlorine has nothing to oxidize, and will leave your hair free from those bonds.

To also help your hair, you could also use a Colour Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner because they are gentle enough to use daily, and packed with nourishing ingredients like argan oil. You hair will benefit  from a deep conditioning treatment once a weeks, as chlorine and copper can not only discolour hair, but can also dry it out and when its dried out its particularly porous.


Know anyone whose hair is turning greenish?  Share this blog with them and help them understand whats causing it.  And don't forget that if you're experiencing a rashes on your skin after using highly chlorinated tap water, you can soothe this beautifully with Xmaease or Natural Sense Colloidal Silver Spray.

Michelle Facer, HealthGiving