Our Guest Contributor is the beautiful Patrina! She is the founder of Naturalhairqueen.net; a blog to educate and inspire women with natural hair. Patrina just celebrated her 10-year natural hair anniversary, and achieved her goal of waist length hair. With the knowledge she has learned over the years she is dedicated to share her knowledge, and experience to educate women who wish to have moisturized, healthy natural long hair.
Hair Care for Workout
Working out is excellent for hair health. The circulation of blood within the scalp helps your hair to grow healthy and strong, but having to deal with hair issues after you work out is an issue all naturals face.
If you’ve noticed you have a considerable amount of dryness and frizz after a workout, you’re not alone. Your hair will probably survive yoga just fine, but bring on the sweaty power workouts, and you’re asking for work.
Exercise is essential to health, and your hair should never hinder you from an intense workout, but how can you pull off having gorgeous natural hair and a fit body? In this post, I’ll discuss some useful tips to care for your natural hair before, during, and after your workouts.
Taking Care of Your Natural Hair Pre-Workout
Prepping your hair before the workout is crucial to looking good on the other side of your exercise session. Layering on products using the LOC method is the best way to protect against elements like sweat and toxins that your hair could absorb.
Always begin the LOC method with water. Then add nutrient-dense oils like avocado, jojoba, or coconut. Follow it with a leave-in conditioner, shea butter, or a curl cream.
Another way to keep your natural hair in optimal condition is to keep it stretched while you exercise. This will minimize shrinkage and breakage.
Hairstyles like twists or braids work well for the gym because you can take them out after your hair dries. You can pin them into an updo while twisted, or don a satin-lined hat. Another idea is to wear a lovely scarf over the twists.
It’s not always convenient to do twists before you work out. A go-to hairstyle for natural women is the high ponytail or pineapple. It works well in keeping your hair stretched and untangled while you work out. Other hairstyles include the high and low bun or puff.
If you have high-porosity hair, sweat could lead to further damage and breakage. Try to wear a scarf or headband to protect your edges and to help absorb sweat. The headband might get saturated in sweat by the end, but this is better than absorbing toxins and salt into your hair.
Post work out
The biggest concerns with working out with natural hair are scalp fungi and dandruff. Let’s be real. Caucasian women usually wash their hair after every workout, but an African-American woman probably won’t shampoo unless it’s a scheduled wash day. So, what does this mean for your scalp and hair? It means you need other ways of tackling the bacteria buildup on the scalp.
You probably already know that working out releases toxins from the body. The skin is our largest organ, and it is a primary way of cleansing. It’s healthy to sweat the scalp because it gets rid of excess bacteria from the head and hair follicles. The problem is, leaving the sweat there is like leaving a layer of waste and bacteria on your scalp. Toxins can easily be reabsorbed if you don’t exfoliate and cleanse.
Many naturals swear by washing their hair once per week or every two weeks. Even relaxed hair types usually don’t wash that often.
However, we are not all the same, and every head of hair is different. Just because an infrequent wash routine works for someone on YouTube, doesn’t mean it’s optimal for you. Maybe they don’t sweat as hard as you do, or maybe they’re building fungi on their scalp and don’t know it yet. Consider washing more often if you sweat a lot. Shampooing or co-washing twice per week may work better for scalp health.
Using a scalp massager will help you shampoo and exfoliate the scalp. You don’t need to scrub your hair and ends. The scalp is the main concern here, and frequent shampooing of the hair may lead to dryness. So, focus on cleansing the scalp, and conditioning the hair.
Not washing your hair enough after workouts can lead to bacteria and fungi, like Candida, and Tinea Versicolor. The fungus will hinder your hair’s growth, and result in dandruff and balding if left untreated. Here’s how to prevent scalp fungus:
Let your scalp breathe. A key to healthy hair is to dry your scalp as quickly as possible after a workout without heat. If you’ve worn a headband, scarf, or hat to the gym, take it off immediately after your workout to deter bacteria and fungi from growing in your hair. The oxygen will allow your scalp to breathe and will help to cleanse the scalp of fungus.
You’ll see many straight-haired ladies using locker room hand dryers directly on their scalps after a workout, but heat can be drying to your natural hair. A better way is to finger dry the hair with cool air. Lift and move around some strands of your sweatiest area and let a cool fan hit it, or a waft of fresh air to your head with your hand. It won’t take long before your scalp is drier and less sweaty. Avoiding a constant wet scalp is key to keeping bacteria and fungus at bay.
Besides oxygen, there are two effective cleansers that you can use to refresh and revitalize your scalp and hair between wash days.
Essential Oils. Peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus, and lavender do wonders in killing bacteria and fungi. Make a blend of two or more oils in an eye-dropper bottle. Then place 1-2 drops on your fingertips and massage into your scalp after your exercise session. Your hair follicles will be invigorated as the oils stimulate your blood at the cellular level. You’ll get some unexpected benefits too, like hair growth, and shinier, healthier hair.
Dry Shampoo. There are numerous dry shampoos on the market. While they won’t work quite as well as your regular shampoo, they will allow you to go 1-2 more days and serve as a great in-between cleanser. Try Shea Moisture Peace Rose Soften, Silken, & Shine Dry Shampoo or Carol’s Daughter Monoi Dry Shampoo and Conditioning.
If you’re like me, you want both beautiful hair and a great body. Don’t let your natural curls stop you from working out. They’ll look better if you have an active lifestyle and take good care of them.
Do you have a routine to take care of your natural hair while working out?