“It’s Just Hair”: Simone Manuel On Choosing The Pool Over Her Locks And How She Deals With Chlorine

September 6, 2016  |  

Simone Manuel

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

After taking home four medals at the Rio Olympics last month (including two golds), and being the first Black woman to win individual gold in a swimming event, Simone Manuel inspired many young girls and grown women alike to really give swimming a try. And while her success was the push many of us needed to learn more than a dead man’s float, there still is a question of dealing with our hair once we get out of the pool. Trying to maintain healthy strands while dealing with all the chlorine sounds like quite the struggle. So how does Manuel take care of her hair while balancing training and competitions? The 20-year-old told Essence LIVE that she just makes the time to wash her hair every other day and switches things up when it comes to her products to find what nourishes her strands.

“I switch products up around [sic], depending how my hair is working at that time,” Manuel said. And according to her mother, Sharron Manuel, she had to remind Simone early in her swimming career not to let worries about her hair hold her back from pursuing her dreams full throttle. 

“I told her it’s just hair,” Sharron said during the chat with Essence. “Beauty is from the inside and not the physical features.”

The publication pointed out that Simone was swimming with her natural hair until her last year of high school, opting to do a texturizer so she could try something a little different.

All in all, hair is the last thing on Manuel’s mind when she dives into the water — coming in first place is. So, if you’re allowing your hair to keep you from getting in the pool or being more active in general, take Manuel’s lead and instead, make time for both. Take care of your vessel, and your strands. Because not only will you look good, you will definitely feel good.

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