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!
Minimize the amount sweat sitting in your hair
There are some ways to absorb sweat, especially if you sweat a lot in your head area. You can wear a cotton headband to absorb some of the sweat around the hairline. Dry shampoo is another great option to remove excess wetness from the scalp. If your hair is long enough to bun, it’s a good idea to pull it back and away from your face to keep you cooler. Even without length though, there are various protective styles that will help you stay cool and sweat less, such as flat twists. Lastly, you should already be drinking water before, during, and after your workouts. Staying hydrated will help you keep cool and also prevents your body from overproducing sweat.
Do a conditioner rinse after working out
In the summer, I typically rinse with conditioner if I’m wearing a puff. Like you, I wore cornrows during my transition. When I worked out I would fill a spray bottle and add shampoo (I’m definitely a supporter of sulfate free shampoos!), and water to dilute it. I sprayed my hair with this mixture and let the shower run over my hair. Now that I’m all natural, I add conditioner to a spray bottle, misting the hair, paying attention to the scalp and then doing a water rinse. I then spray on a conditioner, water, and oil mixture as my leave-in conditioner. You could also use your leave-in conditioner of choice. I think this strategy would work well on your mini-twists. Then take a t-shirt and squeeze the water out of the length of the twists in a downward motion.
Sit under a hooded dryer, then apply a leave-in
Another alternative would be to take a hand-held dryer with a diffuser attachment with you , so that you could gently dry after working out. This question prompted me to plan a new experiment. My daughter starts her swimming classes again next week and immediately after she will be attending music class. I twisted her hair tonight.
I plan to conditioner rinse her twists and use a t-shirt to absorb the dripping water. Since it’s getting cooler, I may also take the hand held dryer to make sure that her scalp is dry before going out. The good thing is that restyling natural hair after a workout is easier with natural hair than it is with relaxed hair. Now, sweat just requires rinsing and conditioning. I surely don’t miss blow-drying my hair straight and then curling after washing. Hooray for easier post-workout haicare for the girls with curls!