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19 Apr

What to do to protect your hair at the gym

Written by Imane Dodo

Image by @stephanieyeboah

We have all gone through instances when we had to sacrifice a good workout to protect our hairstyle because slay over sweat (obviously). The biggest enemy of progress when it comes to hair styling is humidity…which is all sweat is about during exercise, so you get the gist. Most people, except for the chosen few, sweat a lot during exercise, which tends to damage hairstyles, especially those that require the use of heat due to high humidity levels. It is challenging to balance it all: working out frequently and keeping your mane fresh; but it is very possible with the right techniques, I promise. Exercise can indeed coexist with a cute, lasting hairstyle but there are some steps you must take to make that happen.

Protect your hairstyle 

Wrap your hair before working out with a stretchy headband (think night hair routine) will keep your hairstyle in place throughout and help absorb sweat. Caps are a favourite for box braids or any hairstyle that can add more pressure to my edges when performing some exercises because it provides more support than regular headbands. Regardless of the protective item selected, ensure that it is not too tight because the point isn’t to snatch our edges in the process. Prioritize non-split workout headbands to avoid damaging your hair when tying headbands.

Nike

Swoosh Heritage 86 cap

Shop the cap ↗

Amazon

Non-slip workout headband

Shop the headband ↗

Besides, the objective is to minimize the amount of sweat that touches your hair, and prioritize hairstyles that reduce the amount of friction with the rest of your body. Buns, twists and cornrows are great techniques for longer-lasting hairstyles. If your hair is long enough and you go down the cornrow or french braid route, pin the braid up to reduce contact with sweat.

Dry your hair after working out

Let your hair dry before removing your protective item after exercising, so that your headband or cap has time to absorb the sweat and the residual sweat dries out. Failure to do so will make your hair puff up as soon as you remove that wrap, so do so at your own risk and expenses. Most hairstylists recommend air drying your hair for a short while or blow-drying on low heat or cool mode before unravelling your hair. 

Keep a clean scalp

By now, we all agree that itchy scalp isn’t on brand anymore, Hun. Product buildup on your scalp tends to promote itchiness and discomfort, requiring you to tap or scratch that scalp in public. We repeat, not on brand. Wash your hair regularly, to reduce the need to touch your hair and thereby reduce the transfer of grease from your hands to your hair.

Plan your workouts around hair day

Pick your workout days when you least likely need your hairstyle to be perfect. If you tend to do your hair on weekends, plan your workouts towards the end of the week so that you can get your hair fixed right after and vice versa.