If you have natural, curly or kinky hair, chances are you probably have a complicated relationship with exercise. Textured-hair girls know that if you live a very active lifestyle and you love sports, it can be hard on your hair. Natural hair is prone to higher levels of moisture loss during workouts, which means you need to put in extra time to care for it, afterwards.
And then there’s sweat. When you put a lot of time and effort into caring for your hair, the last thing you want is to ruin it after a sweaty exercise session… And for those who usually wash their hair once a week, how do you fit in multiple gym sessions?
Some women avoid exercising simply because of the effect it has on their hair, and while we can understand the reasoning, we’re adamant to show women that you can lead an active lifestyle without ruining your hair. After all, exercise is one of the most important things you can do to keep your body and mind healthy.
Follow these tips to keep your natural hair protected and nourished without having to give up your workout.
Wear your hair up
This might seem like a really simple solution, but it works. Wear a bun, ponytail or pineapple to keep your hair out of your face and neck. This will reduce the amount of sweat your hair comes into contact with. You could also consider a protective hairstyle like Bantu knots or braids.
Be practical about your workouts
If sweat and frizz are a concern, try to exercise in cooler environments. If you like working out indoors, a gym is a great option as they have air conditioning to keep you cool. Prefer outdoor activities? Exercise first thing in the morning or late afternoon when it’s cooler. Wear light workout clothing that doesn’t cling to the body or trap heat, and remember to drink plenty of water to help regulate your body’s temperature.
Wear a satin-lined headband or scarf
Satin is the perfect fabric to wear when you want to protect your hair or prevent frizz. A satin-lined headband or scarf will prevent your edges from getting frizzy, as well as reduce friction and breakage during your workout. Don’t tie it too tight though, or else you might trap sweat.
Don’t shampoo your hair after every workout
Sweat has the potential to dry out your hair, but so does shampoo. Over-shampooing can strip hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and vulnerable to damage. Shampooing natural hair once a week is sufficient. To reduce moisture loss, we recommend using a sulphate-free shampoo like Cantu Shea Butter Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo (R195.95), weekly. It has a rich lather that removes heavy build-up and the gentle formula also helps prevent breakage and dehydration.
Refresh your hair in between workouts
While you shouldn’t shampoo your hair after every workout, it’s still important to refresh it. This will eliminate odours and remove bacteria from sweat, which could lead to scalp irritation and itchiness. A co-wash is a good option as it’s much gentler than shampoo. Try Cantu Shea Butter Complete Conditioning Co-Wash (R215.00). It is infused with 14 natural butters and oils to deeply nourish hair. It gently cleanses hair and remove product build-up, while moisturising every strand.
Apply a moisturiser or leave-in conditioner every day to lock in moisture and help prevent breakage. Cantu Shea Butter Daily Oil Moisturiser (R175.00) uses the nourishing power of shea butter to help replenish lost moisture in dry and damaged hair. It also helps prevent breakage, tangles and frizz.
Using a deep conditioning treatment once or twice a month is essential, and even more so if you are exercising regularly. Not only does it replenish your hair’s moisture content, but it also helps protect it from damage and the effects of sweat. Cantu for Natural Hair Deep Treatment Hair Masque (R59.99) penetrates deep into the hair shaft for an intense treatment to repair, restore and strengthen dry, damaged hair.
Practice makes perfect
Exercise and hair care will probably always have a complicated relationship, but you needn’t sacrifice one for the other. It’s possible to keep your body healthy by taking part in all your favourite physical activities, without ruining your hairstyle, or the health of your hair.