Hair is like the accessory that you never take off and I didn’t realize that all my sweaty workouts could be causing damage! Find out how to prevent hair breakage from ponytails and more sweaty hair tips here!
Swish,swish,swish…it’s not the sound of three point shooter on fire, but the noise I imagine my hair making while I run. And when I had to chop it all off years ago after getting sick, I missed that invisible noise.
The feeling that it gave me. The one thing that made my surfboard body feel a little more feminine.
Did you ever have one of those dolls where you could crank the arm and the hair grew?
While it would be a little awkward to ask Mr RTTF to crank my arm in a circle, I wish it was that easy to change my hairstyle on a whim!! I’d do a short bob one day and rock out the long braid another.
I mean if I could choose a superpower first would be teleportation and second perfect hair any day, any time, automatically.
Alas, it’s not that easy and after a few visits to my stylist I started to whine “why isn’t my hair growing??”
At which point ideas from friends started flowing like wine on a girls night out. Let’s talk about what we know actually works for workout styles that won’t damage hair.
Prevent Hair Breakage from your Workouts
Prevent Hair Breakage from Your Workouts
Who knew your workout could be good for your body and bad for your hair! Can sweat damage your hair? Ehhh it’s less about the sweat and more about all the mistakes we make around our sweat sessions!
I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned about caring for sweaty workout hair (hello preventing breakage), plus a few skin care routine tips because let’s be honest, what’s great hair if we’ve messed up our skin…and yes indeed your bad hair habits can cause workout acne breakouts too!
1. Wash Your Hair Less
Is it necessary to wash your hair after every workout?
NO and it’s better if you actually wash your hair less.
Stop washing all the time. OHH this is hard as a runner with seriously sweaty hair, which is why I now love dry shampoo!!
Washing (and blow drying) daily dries out hair and can increase breakage from styling with flat irons or a curling iron as well.
- When you do wash: you should condition, shampoo, condition for really dry hair…so I’m trying this now too!
- And it’s important to go for air or towel drying. In fact, for my curly haired sisters, stylists recommend wrapping your hair in a shirt or pillow case to dry because it’s not as rough and curly hair is often drier.
How to avoid washing sweaty hair after a workout?
A few things that can help:
- Don’t wear a hat during the workout, this will trap sweat and flatten hair.
- Try wearing your hair in one of these runner braids. It will keep it off your neck and might just mean it’s ready to roll post workout with no change.
- Let your hair down, it will dry faster than where it’s being held in a ponytail.
- Dry shampoo once your sweat dries, not before. It can’t soak up grease while the hair is still wet.
Dry shampoo is available just about everywhere now for cheap.
Go for the spray and not the powder as it’s much easier to blend in. This is the cheap one I use and personally LOVE. I know there are some pricey one’s, but this works.
2. Choose the Right Hair Products
Speaking of washing, it takes time for your hair to get used to the switch of washing less. So you’ll still shampoo once a week with with a cleansing shampoo followed by a deep conditioning treatment.
And if you find your hair isn’t too oily, then an even better process is actually to CONDITION and then shampoo.
That’s right, we’re throwing all the old wisdom out the window!
It turns out for those of us with finer hair conditioning second leaves hair weighed down and allows for more product build up.
Because I no longer have super thick hair like I did when I was 18, I started using the Nioxin Night Density and about 2 months in I could ABSOLUTELY tell my hair was thicker! I’ve recommended the night density serum to a bunch of you and heard it helped.
I was worried my hair would be more oily from using this. But I didn’t really notice any issues.
1 bottle lasted me a really long time, even using it nightly. And I only used it for about 6-8 months, then felt like my hair was in a really good place with new growth filling in. (though now I’m thinking I may go order some, to boost things!)
You want to drop it directly on to the scalp and then massage into the hair shaft.
There is some evidence that the massage itself could be the biggest benefit. So for a free option, start by flipping your head over and giving your scalp a massage every night before bed.
3. Wear Less Ponytails
Does a ponytail cause breakage? Yes, if you aren’t using the right elastics or if you’re pulling it too tight.
A stylist tip you haer often is to stop putting hair up in a pony tail all the time. The tension from pulling it back into a tight updo in the same spot weakens the hair!
- Move that pony tail around.
- When you can leave it down, do.
- Consider a bun, a top knot or a braid to mix things up and distribute the tug on your hair. (Checkout these best hairstyles for running for more ideas!)
- And though it might not be popular, I use thin scrunchies again because they don’t rip out hair!!
- If your hair is dry, after pulling out a pony is a good time to brush and distribute the natural oils from your roots through the ends
- Speaking of brushing, don’t over do it! The old 100 strokes per night is not true.
- Here are some of the best hair ties for workout that won’t damage your hair!
You can’t prevent hair from getting sweaty, but certainly getting it off your neck where you’ll be sweaty is key to keeping it some dryer. Also hats are going to trap heat and result in more head sweat.
4. Coconut Oil for Workout Hair
Coconut oil can on hair to help infuse moisture and prevent breakage and split ends. This is seriously better than most moisturizers on the market, plus you know it’s all natural and won’t have any harmful ingredients.
With curly hair I can use some after a shower to define my curls, other times I layer it on prior to a run as a deep treatment mask, which I think wash out afterwards.
Just be aware that it can take a couple shampoos to get out oil, especially in finer hair.
Since moving to Denver, I’ve found this is just too heavy on my hair when I straighten it, so instead I have switched to this Verb Ghost oil.
**Note: One of the reasons I straighten it (without a straightener) is because I can go longer between washes with my hair still looking good.
Adding oil to hair before a workout?
As noted, I have fine, but curly hair. That means my hair is prone to being frizzy and dry, especially in a climate like Denver.
But…it also gets weighed down with too much in the hair. So you need to know your hair type and decide what’s best for you.
- On days I plan to wash, I add in a moisturizing oil treatment before my workout.
- The heat from your head helps it to penetrate further in to the shaft.
- And for me ensures I leave the oil on long enough to get a benefit.
On days where my hair just looks like a frizzy mess, I will do a drop or two of the Ghost oil because as noted it’s not too heavy.
Some folks have mentioned issues with a burning sensation if you mix an oil and sweat, but I’ve not found that to be the case with any oils I’ve used in the last 10 years. I think looking for things that are natural is key, if it’s burning then there’s probably some chemicals in there you don’t want anyways.
5. Limit Those Headbands
OMG did you know this new trend is also tugging on those poor little strands of hair.
As much as I love mine, I am more cautious about whipping them on and off, as well as wearing them non-stop.
6. Hair Sun Protection
Just like you need to spray heat protection before styling, it’s a good idea to protect those locks from all the time spent in the sun with something that will protect color, prevent fading and keep your scalp happy too.
Turns out the reason my blonde often gets a red tint is underlying pigment that really starts to pull out when exposed to the sun. So if your color is fading, time to up your sun protection game.
And hey, your scalp is where the whole healthy hair piece starts!
Here’s a quick hair sunscreen you can spray on before those long runs or days outdoors. Big fan of that clean quality brand.
7. Eat for Silky Hair
We know a healthy diet makes every part of our body look better due to nutrients!
Here are a few foods pinpointed for long healthy locks, click each for some recipe ideas:
Workout Hairstyles That Won’t Damage Hair
What is the healthiest way to wear your hair? Well…down, in its natural state. But that isn’t always feasible when you’re headed out for a run.
So now that you know what you SHOULDN’T do for workout hair, let’s talk about a few workout hairstyles you CAN do to help protect your hair from damage:
- Instead of a high-pony, opt for a low ponytail using a scrunchie that won’t break or damage your hair. If your hair is super long, you can braid your low pony to prevent snags and tangles.
- Try a top-knot, gently twisting all your hair on top of your head and securing it with a fabric scrunchie.
- Braiding your hair is always a great go-to. If you have layers or shorter hair, you can french braid it to keep pieces out of your face.
- Sleep on a satin pillowcase or wrap your hair in a silk scarf at night to help avoid breakage.
As if caring for your hair wasn’t enough to think about after you find yourself covered in sweat, your sweaty hair could actually be interfering with your quest for clear skin!
According to The American Academy of Dermatology, hair is one of the main causes of adult acne.
So if that’s a concern for you, then head on over to this prevent workout acne >>
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