Friday, August 15, 2014

Working out? What are you gonna do about your hair?

I received a fantastic question from a reader, that I felt deserved it's own blog post.  She's creating a healthy, fit body by working out regularly and was wondering how to wear her hair in a way that's appropriate for work and also works to support her hair journey.

There are a few concerns when it comes to working out and our hair.

1|  Maintaining decent looking edges after the workout is complete.
2|  Keeping the length of the hair from excessive contact with sweat.
3|  Being presentable when working out and after.
4|  Keeping the scalp clean and healthy

We should all know by now, that any loose hairstyles are an absolute no-no.  There's too much working against you.  Humidity levels seek to create frizzy, poofy hair. If any loose ends touch your sweat, you can almost bet on dryness and eventual breakage to those areas.  So we are all in agreement that restricting the hair is the best way to go.  But what are the best ways to do so?
Whenever I workout publicly, it typically happens early morning.  If I'm exercising outdoors, I will make sure that a satin scarf is involved.  Aesthetically, it isn't ideal but, I'd rather look a little homely for an hour or so in front of strangers than to come back with hair ravaged by the morning humidity.  Wearing a satin scarf keeps my edges in check and protects the rest of my hair from swelling up from humidity.  One thing I can do differently is to play around with styling my scarf in a way that actually looks decent.

My gym is filled with lots of young, fit, attractive people. So sometimes I don't want to wear my scarf and be the oddball.  On those days, I rely on the trusty top knot.  It's cute, flattering and keeps my hair looking great.  If I'm feeling extra fancy, I'll put on those thin headbands (as seen below) to accessorize the look.

I once wore the top knot for like a week straight without taking it down.  Afterwards, I was filled with great regret.  My hair wasn't being moisturized properly.  Tangles formed and the effects of working out without putting in any effort to restore the hair, caught up to me. Don't end up like me.  Restore the hair as frequently as possible.

Restoration.  I think this is key to maintaining healthy hair while working out regularly.  I focused too much on a "no fuss" style instead of thinking about how to keep my hair at it's healthiest while working out.  It's important to bring moisture into the hair once the workout is complete.  This will help to keep the hair flexible reducing breakage from having the hair restricted.  It also matters that we follow all of the rules of healthy bunning.

 Buns are cool, but if you're so inclined, try out some of the neato braid styles that can protect the hair while working out and provide the basis for a super cute braidout when you head to work.  Just make sure to moisturize and seal that braid to the fullest so, when you take it down, your braidout looks amazing.  Sealing is really important. Again, the goal is to create a barrier between humidity and your hair and sealing will do just that.  I also like coconut oil for braidouts because it add a slight shine which makes the style look fresh and healthy. Coconut oil make sink into the hair so add another  (light) oil to seal the  outer layer.

Drink up!  Drink  up! Drink up!
You will get a few benefits by drinking lots of water before, during and after workouts.  First, the more water you drink while you are working out, the easier it is to maintain your body temp and manage sweating.  Sweat is the real enemy here.  I want illustrate the importance of drinking a lot of water by using urine as an example.  The less water you drink, the darker the urine and stronger the scent.  If you, on the other hand, are drinking 1-3 liters a day (or more), your urine is likely clear in color and orderless.  Your sweat, if you don't drink a lot of water will be more concentrated.  Concentrated sweat messes up your flow.  Your scalp will feel dirty, your hair will feel drier.

Managing your workout is another option.  For example, you can do low impact, strength building exercises on your work days and go all out with the cardio on (or closer to) wash days.  If you have enough time between the workout and heading to work, you can play around with quick ways to style your hair using Caruso rollers.

1| They serve to add moisture back in the hair
2| You can use it daily without damage.
3| You can wear your hair in cute, curly styles for work.

Play around with ways to cleanse the scalp between washes.  Perhaps you can mist a little coconut vinegar on the scalp to help keep the pH balance in check (coconut vinegar has a milder scent than apple cider and won't offend your co-workers).  I haven't tried dry shampoos but if you sweat a lot, that could be another option.  Lastly, if you want to go all out in your workouts, you can try working out after work, then you have all evening  (and overnight) to pamper your hair and prepare it for work the next day.

Hope that helps!

Got questions? Send me a note.

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.