9 Ways to Take Care of Natural Hair (Before, During, & After Working Out)
We all know how important it is to keep fit and healthy. But does it have to be at the expense of your natural hair? Definitely not. According to this study from JAMA Dermatology, nearly 40% of the women said that they avoid exercise because of their hair. And we can understand that.
Fortunately, there are many ways to take care of your natural hair before, during and after your workout sessions. You just need to pay attention to your hair by giving it the time and attention it needs. Oh…..and also by implementing these tips that you can easily include in your hair care regime to make sure your hair stays fabulous without getting in the way of gym time!
1. Understand your hair type
The key to managing your hair properly is to first understand your hair structure and how it reacts to different conditions. People with natural hair have different hair structures/types ranging from type 1 to type 4. These structures determine the susceptibility of your hair to shrinkage, wetness and swelling. So, by understanding your hair type, you’ll know how to manage it better under different conditions.
2. Create a hair care regime
Once you understand your hair, the next step is to come up with an effective hair regime. This should include a weekly wash day, bi-weekly conditioning treatment and protective styling to keep your hair out of your face. Here’s a guide from NaturallyCurly on how to create a simple natural hair regimen that works. You also want to schedule your wash days around your workout days and not necessarily after every workout as it’s not advisable to wash your hair too frequently.
3. Find a go-to gym hairstyle
You want to find a protective hairstyle that is low maintenance, keeps your hair out of the way and provides enough airflow to the scalp. Twists and cornrows are great go-to gym hairstyles as they protect the hair while still giving the scalp enough space to breathe. Other hairstyles are high buns or puffs because they are easy to fix and allow your hair to stay tucked away from your face while working out.
You can also opt to use head scarves or wraps when you’re having a bad hair day or if you simply didn’t have the time to put your hair in protective styling.
4. Keep your hair moisturized
A moisturized scalp is a happy scalp. Moisturizing your hair and scalp before working out is key because moisturized hair is less likely to break even with the pressure from your exercise routine. You can follow an easy moisturizing method by using the LCO method where you first apply a water-based leave-in conditioner, followed by a moisturizing cream and then seal in with a lightweight hair oil.
1. Keep your hair protected
As Hairlicious writes in this Essence article, “How to maintain edges while working out,”, put it up! While working out, you need to make sure your hair is protected and kept out of the way. Earlier we spoke about go-to gym hairstyles for the gym so you want to make sure you stick to them to avoid having to move your hair out of the way in between workouts.
You can also invest in hair accessories such as lightweight headbands, bobby pins or satin head scarves (popularly known as durags) to tie around your head and edges. These can help you prevent sweat from messing up your hair and getting into your eyes.
2. Allow the scalp to breathe while working out
This tip is key. While you want to focus on protective styles that keep your hair out of the way, you also want to make sure air is flowing into your scalp. This means you want to avoid using hats or hair covers that will trap sweat in your hair. You also want to make sure you use headbands that are not too tight so they don’t restrict blood flow while you are already doing strenuous activity.
1. Co-wash more, shampoo less
A buildup of hair products and sweat can keep your hair dry and cause breakage and so, it is important to wash your hair at least once, especially if you have a regular workout routine. However, you don't want to use shampoo all the time as it can be damaging and strip the hair of all its moisture. What you want to do instead, is alternate with a hydrating conditioner to co-wash your hair. This will ensure that you keep moisture locked in and avoid dry and brittle hair that can result from using too much shampoo.
2. Keep your scalp hydrated
Even though you shouldn’t wash your hair after every workout, you can still find a way to keep it clean and moisturized. Our hack is to opt for a scalp serum to help soothe any itchiness from sweat and also keep the scalp hydrated.
Another good tip is to use a few drops of lavender or tea tree oil on your hair to prevent the growth of bacteria caused by sweat from your workout session. Instead of searching for these oils, we recommend using our Uhai Oil blend which contains a mixture of tea tree oil, Baobab oil and other lightweight and essential oils to keep the hair hydrated and moisturized.
3. Use a deep conditioner
You absolutely cannot skip out on deep conditioning your hair, at least between 2-4 times a month. It helps you restore the shine and moisture of your hair, especially if you have dry or damaged hair. You could decide to make a DIY deep conditioner or go for trusted products that will help replenish moisture in the hair follicles. You should try to deep condition at least once a week or every other week depending on your hair routine.
Exercising is a very important part of many people’s lives and you should never have to miss out on it because of your hair. With these tips we’ve given, we hope you will find it easier to take care of your hair before, during and after workouts. Do you have any other tips of your own? Please share! We’d love to hear them.
Uhai Hair is a line of versatile haircare products infused with high quality African ingredients such as superfood baobab, coconut oil and shea butter and designed to revive the hair and scalp. The products are award winning (the Oil Blend won the Allure Best in Beauty Award) and have received recognition from Beauty Editors from leading publications including Allure, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, the LA Times, Harper’s Bazaar etc. Uhai Hair is available globally in Liberia, Kenya, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, and the U.S.
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