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Woman - braids pool

FROM WNYC.org:

Swimming is a great form of exercise, a refreshing summer activity and an important life skill. Yet African American women seem to be…let’s say less than enthusiastic.

“Oh no, black women don’t swim.” Michael Hawkins, an instructor at Hair Design Institute in Manhattan, often hears that from clients, students and some stylists when the subject of swimming comes up. “She’s not getting her hair wet. No that’s not gonna happen.”

Most African-American women wear their hair chemically straightened or relaxed.

To get that look, stylsts often use a chemical called sodium hydroxide to re-shape black hair into a straighter form. But pool water can be detrimental to that.

“A lot of the chlorine in the water, sometimes the salt or whatever works against the actual relaxer that you put in the hair. So over time you end up having breakage or hair shedding, coming out, things like that.”

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RELATED:

Olmypic Gold Medalist Works To Close Racial Gap In Swimming

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