How many of you avoid going to the gym, because you don’t want to mess up your hair or sweat it out? A study showed that 31% of the 103 African-American Women surveyed admitted they exercise less, because it may harm their hairstyle. Exercise is especially important in the African American community because we are more prone to diabetes, hypertension, and complications due to obesity, including heart disease. Though we face many health concerns that exercise will combat, African American Women often give in to that special deterrent to working out: their hair.
Now that the New Year is here, everyone wants healthier bodies without compromising their hair. Your work out shouldn’t dictate your hair regimen and your hair regimen shouldn’t limit how much you work out. Wouldn’t life be easier if you could focus on pedaling on your spinning bike and not worry about the damage that the sweat and extreme workout is doing to your hairstyle? Sweat, dirt and other factors are the main enemies when working out. Exposing your follicles to extreme conditions can lead to hairstyle disasters and more problems later.
Perspiration causes the hair to become wet and revert back to its naturally curly and/or coarse state. Sweat, which is comprised of water and salts (sodium and potassium), can make the hair appear dry and dull. You can prevent sweat damage to your hair during exercise by controlling moisture and salt buildup. Salty buildup causes your hair to break, become dull and even dry.
Here are some hair care tips on how to maintain your hair while still getting the full potential of your work out session.
- For straightened hair, try pulling your hair into a firm ponytail. Make sure to use an elastic band without a metal clasp to avoid ripping your hair. Place a sweat band (Wearing a headband helps absorb moisture from the hairline, which gives minimum frizz) at your hairline, this not only helps to keep sweat out of your eyes, it will keep your edges in place. Once the hair is in a ponytail twist it and secure it with a hairpin. This will allow the hair to retain body and bounce in your post workout hairstyle. The number one goal with hair management during exercise is keeping it out of your face and off your neck.
- If your hair has been curled with a hot curler or roller set, try pin curling your hair. This is done by taking large sections of the hair, combing each section into one large curl, twisting the curl down onto the scalp and securing the curl with a bobby pin or metal two prong metal clip. Six to ten large pin curls should suffice. After your hair has dried, finger style your hair into place. This preserves your curls and keeps the hair full of body and volume.
- If you are taking part in water sports, wrap your hair around your head in a circular motion using metal duckbill clips to hold the hair in place if necessary. Cover your hair with a satin or silk scarf. Finally, cover the scarf with a latex or silicone swim cap.
- Wear your hair natural/Braid out. Hair in this state can make your workouts worry-free. Your hair is already in its natural state, so you can relax and you don’t have to worry about texture reversion. (Tip: Simply shampoo and deep condition every 3 days or at least once a week and moisturize daily. Use a natural moisturizer such as Rapunzel’s Hair Silk to hydrate hair in between workouts).
- Braid your natural hair (no extensions). Neatly plaited hair stays out of your face, so braids are a great way to prep your tresses before working out. Just make sure your strands aren’t pulled so tight that you suffer hair loss. (Tip: Easily remove buildup by cleansing your scalp weekly with a sulfate-free shampoo and follow up with Rapunzel’s Protein Conditioner. Then moisturize your hair with Rapunzel’s Hair Silk.) This style lasts from four to six weeks.
- Opt for a custom made wig. This styling option is one of the most convenient ways to protect and care for your hair underneath and work out. Especially for those who are transitioning or just looking to grow their hair out to a certain style or length. Wigs last longer, because there is no daily upkeep forcing flat iron or curling iron usage, which means no hair breakage from excessive heat appliance use. (Tip: Simply shampoo and deep condition every 3 days or at least once a week and moisturize daily).
What’s more important your hair or your health? Ladies, remember if you want a healthy body exercising is a must. Don’t let your hair prevent you from your workout routine. Healthy hair starts with a healthy body!