Exercise to Improve Hair

IG @khadijashari 

Andrea Whiting of Forkinkygirls.com

Your genetic makeup is usually the main factor in hair growth, but exercising can also promote and maximize healthy hair growth. While cardiovascular exercise is obviously a great way to maintain a healthy and properly functioning body, the improved blood circulation allows the transportation of nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles, which is essential for growth. Where there's adequate blood flow, there is stimulation and growth!

How to Stop Sweat from Damaging Your Hair


Reader Question:
I have been natural for two years now, but still learning how to work with my hair. For the most part, I wore my hair in braids during my transition period and only wore my hair out long enough for it to breathe before putting braids back in. I work out at the gym in the morning and have heard sites mention that you should wash you hair after each workout because sweat will damage your hair. Is this true? I do lots of braid outs on dry hair and I'm about to style my hair in mini twists for the fall to protect my hair and retain length. With that being said, I will not wash my hair everyday and need advice on how to keep my hair healthy. Help!

Answer: Working out does typically cause sweating, and yes, sweat can be damaging to your hair.

Sweat is the body's way of naturally cooling you down and eliminate toxins. But despite being a natural process, sweat can also bring damage to the hair. Due to the salt content of the sweat, letting it sit in your curls for awhile will definitely cause some dryness in your strands and scalp. But there are a few steps you can take to protect your hair from damage without washing it every day!


Best Exercise Hairstyles for Type 4 Hair

Photo: Sariane Leigh

by Mary Wolff

Working out is a part of a healthy lifestyle. Whether you work out religiously or sporadically, you want to find the best hairstyle for your routine and hair type. If you have type 4 hair, keep your hair looking great during any sweat session with these picks for best exercise hairstyles for type 4 hair. When it comes to the best exercise hairstyles for type 4 hair, let’s take a look at your typical workout style.

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How to Protect Your Hair While Swimming

by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

Swimming is fun and relaxing whether you're doing it for exercise or just to cool off. You don't have to limit your pool time for your hair, but you do have to take some extra precautions. Chlorinated water and constant friction from swimming will take a toll on African American hair. Spend a few minutes before and after swimming to help your hair survive the summer.

Key Tips
  • Rinse your hair with tap water before you get in the pool.
  • Don't wear a swim cap if it pulls too tightly or rips out your hair at the hairline.
  • Always shampoo after you swim, chlorine does not rinse out.

How I Lost 10 Pounds and Gained a Healthy Lifestyle

Liv writes:

Hello CurlyNikki community!  I wanted to share how I lost 10 pounds, maintained it for over a year, gained muscle, and trimmed my waist down simply by living a healthy lifestyle! With motivation, determination and discipline anything is possible!


How to Exercise with Natural Hair

by Tasha of Just Curlz

With the upcoming holidays and the New Year approaching, we all have the urge to work out more. Whether it’s to shed the extra pounds we put on at Thanksgiving or we are making another New Year’s Resolution to work out more, we all need to be physically active to be healthy. Although we no longer have to worry about "sweating out our perm", us natural ladies have other issues we must address when working out.

This is a big issue for us as some styles take hours to complete and we don't want that to be ruined after one trip to the gym. So, my tip is to either wear wash-n-gos that can be easily redone or protective styles. My hair is not wash-n-go friendly, so I tend to wear lots of individual twists or flat twist/braided updos that will last a few days. This helps to keep my hair moisturized and also saves time so I don't have to redo my hair every day.

Working Out With Natural Hair

I have type 4a hair. I workout moderately - intense at least 3-4 days a week. I hear a lot of women saying they co-wash every time they workout but I don't feel the need to. My scalp is not irritated or itching by the end of the week if I only co-wash once between workouts. Is this a bad thing? Should I wash more frequently?

Read On!>>>

Exercise Routines and Natural Hair Styling

by Danielle of okdani.com

How do I maintain my hair if I want to work out?

I am always fielding this question since I work out approximately 4-5 times a week (well, I try to at least!). Here are my tips and ideas to deal with your natural hair while maintaining a consistent exercise program.

Read On!>>>

Naturally Fit- DigiCurl's 'Get it Girls' Cardio Burn!

by LaChristin of Digital Curls

I’m a firm believer that exercise is for every size, especially when referring to topics, which involve the wellness of women! I aspire to inspire interest in women’s health by fostering a platform encouraging physical fitness. I do so in attempt to motivate and touch as many lives as possible, and to be an advocate for improving the overall health and welfare of women. 

“I'm interested in women's health because I'm a woman. I'd be a darn fool not to be on my own side.”  
Maya Angelo

Maintaining Natural Hair While Working Out- 'How the Edges Were Won!'

by LaChristin of Digital Curls

Life is full of dilemmas, and one such said dilemma has plagued women to this very day. That dilemma stems from having to answer the following question, and ultimately make an extremely difficult decision: “Do I maintain my magnificent hairdo or work towards a fit and fabulous figure?” Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to experience the best of both worlds! Here’s how I mash-up fro and fitness.

Naturally Fit with LaChristin- Home Training

by LaChristin of Digital Curls

Anybody and everybody could use a little home training! Working out from home wasn’t initially my preference; however, overtime I became more receptive to implementing it into my schedule. With continuous constraints such as volunteering, attending appointments, budgeting, cooking, cleaning, parenting (also known as refereeing), and running of errands I’m not always left with an adequate amount of time to hit up the gym. Even with life leaving little to no pockets for fitness, I turn my home into a proving grounds to test myself physically, work up a good sweat, and relieve stress.

Read On!>>>

Exercise Routines and Natural Hair- A Fast Drying Wash & Go

by Alicia James of MsAliciaJames.com

So, I have decided to get back on my hard workout regimen. I've always been someone who works out, but now I am getting back to being disciplined increasing the workouts and staying consistent. I am currently working out six days out of the week.

Read On>>>

Maintaining Your Natural Hair While Exercising

by Alicia James of MsAliciaJames.com

Summer is in full swing, and we all want to walk around the beach in our sexy swimsuits! I love working out, and it is very important for me to stay fit year round. It is also important that my hair is taken care of and always looks presentable.

How Do You Wear Your Hair When Working Out?
  • High Bun
  • Low Bun
  • Pineapple Method
  • Satin Cap
  • Twist
  • Braids
  • Bantu Knots
*Leave the hair alone until it dries after usually after my shower and make up. If I style or manipulate the hair before it dries, it frizzes up.


Is Sweat Bad for Your Scalp and Hair?

via The Beauty Brains

Sillabear says… I am looking for ways to minimize the amount of times that I wash my hair and I recently came across information that utilizing a mixture of 1:2 parts of peppermint oil to jojoba oil will break down the salts that are deposited on the scalp from pores after a strenuous exercise. Is this true? If not, do products such as dry shampoo rid one’s scalp of these potentially damaging salts?

The Beauty Brains respond:
Before we talk about sweat removal let’s do a quick recap of what’s in sweat.

Sweaty chemistry
Our bodies sweat through two different glands: eccrine (which are found pretty much all over the body) and apocrine (which are concentrated where there are hair follicles.) Both glands produce sweat that consists of water and minerals (or salts). Specifically, sweat contains sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. But only the apocrine glands product lactate, urea, and other substances which make this milky sweat so tasty to odor causing bacteria.

Peppermint oil or jojoba oil have no special ability to breakdown or remove sweat. Peppermint oil could have some antibacterial properties which might inhibit some of the odor associated with eccrine gland perspiration but it is also a mild irritant and may end up making your scalp inflamed. The “stuff” you’re trying to get rid of like salts, Sodium lactate and urea are water soluble so jojoba oil won’t do much to remove them either. A dry shampoo which contains a water absorbent starch might help “soak up” some of these materials if you’re that determined to get them off your scalp. Which brings us to the main point of this post…


“You have some pretty hair…for a big girl.”

by Caroline of www.CarolineJhingory.com

“You sure do have some pretty hair…for a big girl.”

From the 8th grade until age 22, I weighed over 300-pounds and frequently received compliments mixed with insults like the ones above. This made me feel as if my mix of Indo-Guyanese and African-American hair was the only physical trait the world found beautiful, so I took biweekly trips to the salon and had relaxers every six weeks. I am ashamed, to this day that I felt validation from comments like “relaxers show off that you got good hair.”

Megan Hodge Competes for the Gold! #TeamNatural

Angie writes:

Today at 6:30pm one of my  best friends, Megan Hodge, will compete for a gold medal in women's indoor volleyball!

We have been teammates for three years on the national team and she is one of the most humble and hard working people that I know.  For that reason, there is no way she would have submitted anything to Nikki letting her know about her fabulous hair and accomplishments... that's why she has me!

This is her first Olympics and she is only 23!  Before making it to the national team and the Olympics, she played 4 years at Penn State where she was a 4 time All-American and 3 time National Champion.  As far as her beautiful coifs go,  she has been natural for almost a year now and transitioned for 6 months while she was in Poland playing for a professional club.   In Poland, she turned into a huge product junkie, an addiction we both share, and learned many new styles that worked for athletes since we sweat everyday.

If you can watch the game tomorrow, you will see her beautiful twist out pulled back with a headband to contain the sweat and give some flair.  Hope all of you can watch Megan and the team win the first gold in USA indoor women's volleyball history!

 Show Megan some love in the comments below!

How to Maintain Natural Hair & An Exercise Routine


Hola Chicas,

It's Thursday which means we've officially taken over Essence for the day!

¡Viva la Revolución!

Check out my latest installment, where I discuss how I protect my hair while 'working out'. Head over there, check it out, 'like it', share it and comment! Also, leave questions of your own for the next article!

Thanks divas!

Later Gators,

Looking Good While Getting Your Body Bikini Ready

by NaturallyChelsea via NaturallyCurly

Summer is coming and that means minimal clothing and sexy bikinis. With this in mind, I’m sure we are all making a mad dash to the gym to turn our flabs to abs and have buns of steel. But while all this sweating is going on, what will you do with your hair?


If your hair is straight, your number one concern will probably be preventing reversion. To help combat this problem, pull your hair into a high, taught ponytail and tuck your ends away. The “taughtness” of the ponytail will help to keep your hair stretched and tucking your ends away will prevent them from touching your shoulders and becoming drenched in sweat.

It’s important not to loosen your ponytail until your hair is completely dry to ensure it dries in a somewhat stretched state. Protect your hair line with a sports headband to soak up your sweat and prevent the hair at your hairline from doing so.

Should your edges become frizzy, DO NOT RETOUCH THEM as too much heat causes damage. Simply grab your favorite pomade (not gel as it is wet and will cause more reversion) and a scarf. Apply the pomade to your edges then use your hands or a brush to slick them back. Wrap the scarf around your hairline then leave it on until you’re ready to leave the house (the longer the better). Once you remove the scarf, you will be left with smooth edges.

It is important to note that reversion will probably happen if you go hard at the gym or sweat a lot on your head. Instead of fighting against it, why not work with it? You could start off with straight hair then roller set your hair to hide the extra volume at the roots. Then, when reversion becomes more noticeable or the hair at the roots becomes too thick for down and out styles, try rocking ponytails and buns for the remainder of the days until it is wash day.


If you wear your hair curly, then here are your gym tips:

  1. Pineapple your hair. Just like you would at night, pull your hair into a high “pineapple” ponytail with a scrunchy. It will get your hair out of the way and prevent body sweat from getting to it. Also the scrunchy will allow your hair to effortlessly fall back down when released without leaving an annoying dent.
  2. Do your hair at the gym. If you are in the habit of styling your hair at night before bed and working out in the evening, then why not style your hair at the gym? If you’re worried about your hair frizzing up at the gym while you work out, then twist/braid it up right before exercising then pull the twist and braids into a ponytail and go. You don’t have to worry about ruining your style as it is already being set for the next day. Once your home and showered, you can go straight to bed rather than fussing in front of a mirror with sore muscles.
  3. Get rid of the sweat. Sweat is sterile when it leaves our pores and only begins to smell when it has been exposed to the air for a while and bacteria grows. If you follow the tip above, then grab a wash towel and warm water. Dip the rag in the warm water and gently run it along your parts and in between the braid/ twist if possible. This will help to get rid of some of the sweat and the smell that comes with it.
Hairstyles to Weather the Sweat Storm
  1. Wash and Go: If you sweat a lot then wash and gos are the perfect go-to hairstyle for you. This style will allow you to wash and restyle your hair as often as needed to keep your hairstyle fresh and your hair clean.
  2. Wet buns: If you don’t really sweat a lot on your head, then try wet bunning. The wet bun is easy to do and is as simple as cleansing, applying product, then pulling hair into a ponytail and bunning. This style will keep your hair looking cute and stylish so you won’t really have to worry about ruining your style. Also, since your hair is already up, there is no need to fuss with it at the gym. Once you feel the need to wash, you can quickly and easily do so and restyle.
  3. Double duty: The gym provides a wonderful opportunity to do double duty by exercising and pampering your hair. While exercising, you can deep condition by applying the product to your hair then donning a shower cap and beanie. This works best for activities that do not involve a lot of movement, like weightlifting. Also utilize your gym’s sauna to steam your hair without investing in an expensive hair steamer.

How do you style your hair for the gym? What's your routine following?

Exercise and Natural Hair Styles

by Shelli of Hairscapades

The primary deciding factor in my journey to go natural was related to my exercise regimen. I was wearing my relaxed hair curly (with the aid of Frizz Ease Hair Serum and L’Oreal Pumping Curls) because it was far easier to maintain than straight hair with a 6 day a week exercise schedule.

I began exercising between my sophomore and junior years of high school. Prior to that, I was very inactive, about 15-20 lbs. overweight and the heaviest of my sisters, who were always athletic, petite and thin. However, something clicked that year when an aunt told me to”make sure you can fit down the aisle” as I was going to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I think I just decided I was sick of being the “fat one” and constantly being chastised about my weight by the older members of my family. It was a challenge and I had something to prove. So, the summer of 1992, I began working out, lost 15-20 lbs. and have been exercising ever since (with some hiatuses-see below;). I even competed in five all-natural bodybuilding competitions for 2 years in my late 20s, placing in all of them.

However, from 2009 through the end of 2010, I pretty much fell off of the wagon with only a few brief stints of working out and eating right. I was under a lot of stress, started eating badly and gradually began putting on the pounds until I was 25 lbs. over my ideal weight by the end of December 2010. So, a month before the Kim Coles Grow Out Challenge (GOC) began, I knew it was time to get myself back together in regard to my diet, exercise regimen and nutrition. Then, the GOC came along and helped to further motivate and focus my health goals. As of present, I have lost 24 pounds with 1 more to go to be at my ideal weight of 120 lbs (I’m 5’1″) by the end of the GOC, which is over at the end of July.

To get here, I’ve been exercising 5-6 days a week (see My Regimen). Although natural hair is far easier for me to handle, that is not to say that it is without its own unique set of challenges with a regular, very sweaty exercise routine. However, it is doable. As I often see questions on the hair sites/blogs/pages about what styles to wear and how to preserve styles when one works out regularly, wanted to provide some suggestions based upon my own experiences.

  • Wear protective styles like cornrows, flat twists, braids and/or two-strand twists. If your braids or twists are hanging, pull them up into a bun or high ponytail so that they are off of your neck. Tie a satin/silk scarf around your hairline and then a wear a cotton bandana or a sweatband over the satin/silk scarf. The silk/satin scarf with keep the hair smooth and keep your hair protected from the moisture robbing cotton of a bandana or sweatband. But, the bandana/sweatband will absorb the sweat, unlike the scarf.

  • When wearing a Twist and Curl, Braid and Curl,Wash n' Go or Twist/Braid-Out, put the hair in a high, loose pineapple with a satin scrunchie. If your hair hangs a lot like mine, fold the ponytail over towards your face and place another satin scrunchie (no wrapping) around the base, leaving the ends out to preserve the curls. Then, tie a satin/silk scarf around your hairline and put a bandana or sweatband over it.
  • When wearing a bun, again tie a satin/silk scarf around the hairline and then don a bandana or sweatband.
With any of these options, once you finish your exercise routine, remove the bandana or sweatband, but leave the satin/silk scarf until hair dries. You may decide to replace the sweaty scarf with a dry satin/silk scarf until your hair dries so that it dries more quickly. Two more option that you can use instead of the scarf/sweatband combo are the Dri Sweat Edge Women’s Headband or the Dri Sweat Active Wear Protector Cap (if you wear a low ponytail/bun).

You can pick both of these up at Sally’s for $3.99 each. I purchased the cap a few months ago, but rarely wear a low ponytail. So, I wasn’t able to use it that often. However, I picked up a couple of the headbands this past week after being reminded about them by fellow GOC blogger JadeKoi. They work pretty well and I really needed something very absorbent, but less bulky and hot, for hot yoga.

Hope this is helpful. However, as you all know, what works for one curly may not work for another. I don’t and have never really experienced a flaky, dry or itchy scalp. So, I only wash once a week with no rewetting or co-washing between wash sessions. When I wore WnGs the majority of the time, I did co-wash during the week to refresh/re-style, but not due to scalp problems. So, if you do experience a flaky, dry or itchy scalp or dry hair, you may not be able to go a week without washing or co-washing. However, if you wear a style that exposes your scalp, an option may be to swab your scalp with an astringent mix and then oil during the week. You’ll have to decide what works best for you.

What do you do with your curls when it's time to work it out?

Looking to Detox?- Bikram Yoga

by Sherrell Dorsey of Organic Beauty Vixen

A friend introduced me to Bikram Yoga back in December. I had no idea what I was in for. I walked into the smelly studio, found a place on the floor and was ready for a typical yoga experience: a lot of stretching, breathing and meditating. But as soon as the heaters came on and every place on my body, including my fingernails were sweating, I knew that this was no ordinary yoga experience.

Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional yoga techniques and popularized beginning in the early 1970s. Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class runs approximately 90 minutes, incorporates a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, and is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F with a humidity of 40%.

The heat accelerates the rate of change within the body, improves circulation, helps to eliminate toxins, and significantly reduces the risk of injury during stretching. No special equipment, propose or clothing is required. It gets so hot that by the end of class you will wish you were completely naked! Honestly, my first 2 classes I had to stop and breath for a while because I began to feel nauseous and dizzy. It’s recommended that you don’t eat right before class but if you must a banana or nuts will suffice.

Bikram allows you to sweat in places you never new that you could allowing you to release all of the impurities in your skin and release any negative energy in your body. You train your mind, body and spirit in the room in order to train it out there in the world. It really has been a life changing experience for me and a challenge that I enjoy as often as I can.

You can find a great studio by clicking here. Please check it out and take a class. I guarantee that it will make you stronger, healthier and more relaxed (and I know that we all need a little bit of that).

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