If you are working out and generating some body heat, chances are you’ll build up a sweat during your exercise session! But post-workout hair is nothing to be desired and even if you are lucky enough to escape the frizz, the sweat production can damage your hair over time. So should we be washing with every workout? And is there a better way to manage your hairstyle whilst keeping in shape? This post contains some affiliate links but they are genuinely all my own recommendations and I have not been asked to share these. Thank you for your support.
When we exercise and raise our temperature, sweating occurs as the natural process to cool you down and eliminate toxins. Sweat consists of water and salt, and it is this salt content that can damage your hair and dry your scalp if it is left for too long. So whilst daily hair washing is not advocated, neither is prolonged periods between washes if your scalp is subject to regular sweaty gym sessions.
How to exercise-proof your hair:
Tie your hair up
Keeping your hair back off your face can reduce heat around your neck and avoid you touching it regularly, minimising the increase in dirt and oil it comes into contact with. However be careful not to tie it too tightly as this can damage the hair strands and cause splitting and breakage. Aim for loose ties, soft braids, or the use of grips for those annoying stray strands! Carry their use over to bedtime too and tie your hair up lightly with the silk scrunchie. Not only will this minimise those post-tie kinks in your hair but it will reduce damage from the tie for prolonged periods.
Use the right accessories
Tight hair bobbles and bands can cause damage to the hair strands, and likely in the same region each time if you use the same hairstyle frequently. Instead, use a silk scrunchie which protects the hair strands by being soft and gentle. My current go-to hair accessories are from VanityEdit. Or you could go one stage further and wear a headband; this will absorb the sweat and minimise it crossing in to your hair roots. However, try to avoid baseball caps if possible as these lock in the sweat and prevent the heat evaporation, while also creating a sweat band across your forehead and hairline!
Plan your workout week
If you know that you will definitely need to shampoo after a sweaty outdoor run or HIIT class, plan your hair-washing for these days and factor in more low-impact (AKA low sweat!) sessions such as matwork Pilates on days in-between. This will reduce the washes required and maintain the clean feeling for longer.
Excessive washing your hair causes shampoo to strip the hair of its natural oils that your hair produces to moisturise and condition your hair. The end result is dry, brittle hair. Wash less frequently but use a dry shampoo in between washes to maintain cleanliness. Dry shampoo- absorbs sweat and oil to make your hair look and feel freshly washed. My favourite trusted dry shampoo is TIGI Bed Head Oh Bee Hive Dry Shampoo it leaves no white streaks, has no build up with repeated use, and smells amazingly fresh!
Swimming will always result in a shampoo afterwards to wash away the chlorine, however try to prevent any damage in the first place by wearing a swim cap (I know, I know!), OR rinse and wash as soon as you leave the pool- don’t wait until you get home. On these days try to use a good conditioner too and a hair protector oil such as Aussie 3 minute oil that works 3 different ways to replenish your hair and reduce frizz post-swim.
Treat your hair
Finally, treat your hair with the care that it deserves when you’re working out so hard to keep in shape! There are endless amounts of hair treatments on the market but my hair care changed forever with the addition of a few new products when I recently discovered Olaplex, as recommended by my hairdresser. I did a little research as it is quite expensive for a small bottle, however I am now totally converted. Here’s why:
Olaplex repairs damaged and broken bonds in your hair on a molecular level. This increases the tensile strength and restores elasticity, whilst protecting your hair follicle from further damage.
There is a whole range to choose from depending on what your hair requires. I started with No6 Bond Smoother, (currently on sale!) which smooths, hydrates, and protects hair with a leave-in styling cream that hydrates your hair for 72 hours! You can use this on damp or dry hair and I instantly noticed how smooth my ends were, no frizz in sight and an instant glow of healthiness!
I also have No3 Hair Perfector (currently on sale!). This is an at-home hair treatment that reduces breakage, visibly strengthens hair and restores your hair’s appearance by repairing the damage. It is a salon-quality in a bottle treatment and with use only 1-2 times per week the bottle lasts a long time.
I hope these will help you exercise-proof your hair and keep it healthy regardless of your workouts!