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Michael Phelps Will 'Never' Shave His Head

02/21/2012 at 04:30 PM ET

Michael Phelps
Robin Marchant/Getty

Daily chlorine exposure wreaks havoc on star swimmer Michael Phelps’s hair. “It feels dead at times,” he admits to PEOPLE. But dealing with dry scalp issues isn’t enough to make the Olympian go to extremes.

“I would never shave my hair, zero shot,” he says. “If it falls out then it falls out. But I could never actually take a razor to my head and BIC it. I just couldn’t imagine it. I couldn’t see myself without hair.”

Luckily he won’t need to resort to shaving anytime soon: Phelps is the face (and, um, scalp) of the Head & Shoulders “Wash in Confidence” campaign, designed to boost self-esteem through healthy hair. “Head & Shoulders really helps re-moisturize my head, my hair and my scalp,” the athlete says. “It feels good, it feels clean.”

Phelps’s face is on select bottles of Head & Shoulders now, a part of the campaign he calls “kind of weird, strange and cool. I never imagined I’d be on the front of a shampoo bottle.” But he’s happy to be a spokesman for the brand, especially going into the 2012 London summer Olympics.

“Over the last eight months to a year, this is probably the happiest I’ve been since Beijing,” he admits. “I feel confident, I’m excited, I’m training, and I feel like I’m heading in the right direction to be able to accomplish my goals.”

Though the swimmer confirms that these will be his final Olympic games — “I always told myself I would never swim past the age of 30,” the 26-year-old explains — he’s looking forward to accomplishing a lot out of the pool through his Michael Phelps Foundation.

“I’m helping kids live healthy and active lifestyles, and learning how to swim is something I think all kids need,” he says. “It’s fun for me to always be around kids, have them smiling and enjoying themselves, and teaching them that they can do anything they set their minds to.”

–Kate Hogan

SEE THE STARS’ WACKIEST WINTER HAIRCUTS

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Showing 33 comments

Kathleen Smith on

I suspect there was a time that he was happier since Beijing – when he was smoking weed with his so-called friends…

Tammy on

Go Michael! I’ll be rooting for you.

Jon on

Good, he looks great with hair, I can’t imagine him without it, and good luck to him with his Final Olympic Race, and beyond, etc.

Jon on

And, it’s nice what he’s gonna do with his Michael Phelps Foundation!

Tina on

Wow, what a physique.

@Kathleen Smith…YOU are an a$$, and extremely naive.

godblessabbie on

meet your tall BF or GF on tallconnect.c()m

Wow - really? on

@ Kathleen Smith – crazy isn’t it how a young man (he was what 23/24 at the time) makes mistakes and then (gasp) learns from them, we’ll be asking him to contribute to society or do something spectacular next … wait …

He’s worked hard, made America proud, done great things with his Foundation … how ’bout you step down a little on the snark.

tiny dancer on

hair? What hair? I see shoulders.

tahillia on

His features are too big for him to shave his head. He has a great body, but a really awkward face. I think it’s great what he’s going to do with his foundation, though, and I wish him all the luck in the 2012 Olympics.

I never got all of the hysteria re: the pic of him smoking weed. Even the best of people experiment with drugs… and weed is basically less of a drug than alcohol if you ask me. I’d be more appalled if he were snapped smoking cigarettes. They’re WAY worse for you.

Lisa on

@Kathleen Smith: Let’s hope there are no skeletons in your closet, Miss Snarky!

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