Natural Hair and an Active Lifestyle Can Coexist – Here’s How!
How to exercise with Natural Hair
by Jacqueline Samarroo
Are you one of those Black girls that avoided physical activities because of your heat styled or chemically straightened hair? Are you natural now and still avoiding sweating out that fresh twist-out? I can admit I most certainly was! But, being physically active, sweating, working out AND maintaining your beautiful natural hair can and SHOULD happen.
It has to do with a natural haircare routine that keeps your hair moisturized, protected, and nourished before, during, and between workouts. Keep reading to find a bunch of effective ways to do all three!
Sweat and heat from a good workout can leave curly hair dry and frizzy. Counteract it by prepping your hair overnight or in the morning with a good moisturizer formulated for natural hair care. You can also do a daily leave-in conditioner or the more comprehensive LOC method of liquid (water-based moisturizer) followed by a sealing oil and then a cream.
Put your hair in a protective style
Use a protective hairstyle to shield your curly hair from the rigors of exercise. Try twists, braids, Bantu knots, or a bun – whatever you wish. Of course, your protective workout hairstyle could also be preparation for that awesome twist-out or Bantu knot-out that you plan on flaunting once your workout is over!
Wear your hair up or back
A scrunchie, hairband, hair-tie, or scarf keeps your hair away from your face and away from sweat. Satin is the best material for these because it is smooth and won’t cause snagging and undue friction on your strands. Headbands are great for keeping sweat off your face as long as they are not tight. A tight headband will rub excessively on the fine hairs at your hairline. Also tying a scarf or band around your edges is doing double duty– if you allow your hair (and edges) to fully dry before you remove the scarf, your edges will be laid!
Choose a cool time and place
Cool down the room to reduce how hot you get and how much you sweat during a workout. Throw open the windows, turn the AC up a notch, or the heat down a bit. If you are doing an outside activity, such as a walk or a run, schedule it for the cooler morning or evening hours.
Allow the sweat to dry from your hair before styling it since natural curly hair becomes more fragile when wet. Avoid using heat to dry your sweaty hair, however, as sweat increases the chance of heat damage to curly hair. Air-dry it or, if you are in a rush, get some assistance from the cool setting on your blow dryer (but never skip the heat protectant).
Co-wash and deep condition
You might get the urge to wash your hair after every workout but regular use of a shampoo with sulfates will dry out your hair and scalp. Instead, co-wash your natural hair once or twice a week to cut some of the grime and put some bounce back into your curls.
Limit shampooing to once a week (or longer) using a sulfate-free shampoo at least some of the time. Also, commit to deep conditioning your hair every two weeks to nourish and repair your hair.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Apart from doing things directly to your hair, there are other healthful ways to help your natural hair thrive while you remain active.
- Drink sufficient water to keep your body hydrated.
- Eat a varied and balanced diet to get the vitamins and minerals natural hair needs.
- Get plenty of restful and restorative sleep.
Another great way to make an active lifestyle and natural hair care work, is to make a routine of them both and sticking to it. Your body, hair, mind, and spirit will thank you for it!
What’s your workout routine and schedule like?! Share below!
CurlyNikki says: I still don’t like to sweat haha! I walk just about everyday, and do sun salutations but that’s about it.