Luscious Locks For the Lady Diver

While it’s true that SCUBA diving is not a fashion show, there is much consideration to be given in the hair department. One of the most common issues for lady divers is how to manage your hair’s aversion to saltwater, whether long or short. Trying to run your fingers through your hair after a dive is like trying to run your fingers through a tangled fishing net. Your once lustrous locks have now been reduced to a sticky, matted clump that is begging you not to touch it with a hairbrush until the conditioner has been applied liberally. But you can’t just sit there, looking like that. So what’s a lady to do to beat the SCUBA hair day blues?

All that salt is going to gunk up your strands, there’s just no getting around it. So, a little preparation is needed to help combat the gunk, since we can’t eradicate it. Refrain from washing your hair before a dive. We’ve all been told how shampooing daily is not good for hair, as it strips it of natural oils that actually help to increase shine and body. Even if you don’t subscribe to this way of thinking, follow it before a dive. The more natural oils in your hair when you subject it to seawater, the better your hair is going to be at deflecting the dehydrating salts.

Although you won’t be shampooing, you will be conditioning. The conditioner will give you an even greater layer of protection from the elements. Don’t fret over how heavy it makes your hair feel, because you’re not styling it for a night on the town. You’re protecting it, like a savage tiger protects its cubs from poachers. See what we did there? Salt = poachers. Poachers of all the hard work and effort you put into keeping those strands healthy!

After you’ve rinsed the conditioner from your locks, do not do any kind of drying to your hair. No towel drying, and absolutely no blow drying. Keeping the moisture in your hair will play a vital part in keeping it under control.

If your hair is below chin level, we’ll consider this long hair. Take your wet, drippy, moisturized hair, and tightly braid it into pigtails, one on each side of your head. If you know how to French braid, this is even better. If you have bangs, braid them into the rest of your hair if possible, or just clip them back towards the back of your head. If braids aren’t your thing, try buns on each side, close to the nape of your neck.

For short hair, spray with a leave-in conditioner, and slick your hair back with a comb. Now, short hair is nearly impossible to keep under control underwater, so a swim cap, dive beanie, or dive hood is going to be your friend. Not a fashion show, remember? Bring your leave-in conditioner on the dive with you so that you can reapply as needed. If you forgot your conditioner, but someone has lotion, don’t be afraid to improvise. All of it will be down the drain when you take that splendid hot shower after the dive!

Photos via iris[ux]o5comledirlo


  1. Lynn Scott says:

    Is it possible that some of the conditioners will wash off in the water and pollute the reef/dive area? I know they restrict what kind of sun screen you can use in some protected areas. I wonder if we need to consider what products we leave in our hair too?

  2. Good info!

  3. Ha! Love the last paragraph. I had to improvise and use lotion on my hair once on a week long dive trip where my luggage was lost. Whatever works!

  4. I routinely pack a small bottle of conditioner (natural/herbal) in my dive kit to slick down my hair before going in the water. I also tend to keep it well tied up and back (either french braid or a series of pony tails down the back)…washing only at night, after the last dive.

  5. I dive cold water (Alaska) and have very long hair….french braid and an organic, environmentaly friendly, deep conditioner before I dive is what I found works awesome….I just braid and then spread the conditioner on…put on my 8ml hood & my hair is conditioned while I dive…I can comb it straight out once I get out of the water, no snarls or mess…..not sure what Il do this summer when I go warm watrr diving for the first time in my life ( :

  6. I take along a tube of conditioner, the intensive treatment type that comes with coloring kits, and apply it liberally to my hair after the dive. If there’s a fresh water supply on the boat via a shower or hose, I rinse on the spot.

  7. Great tip!!! Thanks!!!

  8. Awesome article! Thanks.

  9. One of our readers brought up the issue of introducing contaminants into reef systems by the products we use to manage our hair, so I just wanted to give you gals a link to another article on eco-friendly hair products. There are more than just these out there, but this is a good start if you’re on the environmentally friendly hunt. Happy diving ladies! :)

  10. tout simplement beau!

  11. tout simplement beau!

  12. tout simplement beau!

  13. I always have a spray bottle of half conditioner/water in my bag when I get out of the water. I have very long hair so it feels real nice to put that on when it’s tangled.

  14. Very hard to find fashionable hair beanies for diving that are cool enough for tropical water diving! If you sell them, we will buy!

  15. I personally am a fan of those old-fashioned swim caps, like the synchronized swimmers used to wear. Why not add a little wacky fashion to the old dive gear? Your dive buddy won’t lose sight of you in one, that’s for sure! :)

  16. I personally am a fan of those old-fashioned swim caps, like the synchronized swimmers used to wear. Why not add a little wacky fashion to the old dive gear? Your dive buddy won’t lose sight of you in one, that’s for sure! :)

  17. I always struggle to know how to handle. Great article….now hopefully I’ll remember to comply!

  18. Braid and Johnson and Johnson No More Tangles, before and after dive. Also have a little lemon juice in my dive bag for between dives, for the sun kissed look.

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