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Sherri Richards, Published July 10 2013

Thursday Review: Malibu C swimmers crystals repair chlorine-damaged hair

FARGO – My 5-year-old daughter’s hair was constantly snarling and her ringlets felt brittle. I took her for a trim, hoping cutting off the split ends would help.

The stylist immediately pinpointed the cause of the problem: Chlorine. Eve had just finished three weeks of swimming lessons, so I wasn’t surprised.

She suggested a hair treatment to pull the chlorine out of her hair. They offer the hour-and-a-half service at the salon for $35, or I could buy the product and try it at home.

Designed for swimmers, Malibu C swimmers crystals promise to remove chlorine, minerals and salt, and restore shine and manageability. They’re vegan and safe for all ages.

A 0.17-ounce packet of crystals cost $5 at Lil Whipper Snippers in Fargo. The company also makes a swimmers wellness shampoo and conditioner.

The packet directions say to rub the dissolved crystals in the hair after shampooing at least once a week, leaving them in for up to five minutes before rinsing.

For damaged hair, the stylists at the salon instead suggested wrapping the hair in kitchen plastic wrap after applying and heating it with a blow dryer for an hour or so.

The crystals are a fine white powder that mixed into a creamy paste when I added just a bit of water. Half the packet was more than enough to fully coat Eve’s long hair. (The stylist had said to apply the other half midway through the treatment.)

I set her plastic-wrapped head in front of the TV and blow dried away for half an hour. After applying the rest of the crystals, we sat outside in the sun to bake some more.

Eve complained occasionally about her forehead “stinging,” but beyond that didn’t seem to mind the treatment.

After about an hour and 20 minutes, we rinsed out the Malibu C crystals and finished with conditioner.

Eve’s hair was noticeably easier to comb out after rinsing, and her curls softer once dried.

After a couple shampoos (and a swim), her hair was still softer than before, though not as silky as right after the treatment.

With regular use, I think the swimming crystals would keep her hair more manageable during pool season, though I’m not sure she’d put up with the plastic-wrapped head too many more times.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556