You probably know already that your hair tends to look like a bit of a mess just after you’ve had a heavy workout, paid a visit to the sauna, or or even just been working outdoors in the sun. What you probably didn’t know is that sweat can also cause serious damage to your valuable strands.
It’s true! Whenever your hair gets wet, it weakens and becomes more prone to stretching and damage. Your scalp can also dry out, which prevents new hair from growing, or results in hair with a thinner texture without even using shears that are specifically designed for thinning hair.
Moreover, the salts found in sweat can also cause your hair to lose color – bad news if you like to dye your hair! What to do, then, if you really enjoy your visits to the gym or sauna, or you like spending time out in the hot sun? Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice your fitness and lifestyle for the sake of your hair – or vice versa.
By following the tips below, you can enjoy the best of both worlds – a healthy body AND beautiful hair at the same time. Read on!
1. Apply a Good Quality Leave-in Conditioner
First, prior to your workout or sauna session, apply a good quality leave-in conditioner or dry shampoo to your hair in order to create a strong barrier between your strands and the sweat that results from a heavy workout. If you have a deep conditioning treatment product handy, apply that to your hair the evening before and then sleep on it. Rinse it out in the morning, and your hair will be well protected and prepared for when you start your workout.
2. Make Sure Your Hair is Tied Back in a Ponytail or Bun
WHILST you are working out or doing whatever it is that causes you to sweat, make sure your hair is tied back in a ponytail or bun using a clean head-band or a clip. This will pull sweat away from your face and hair, protecting it from damage. Using a material like cotton will help absorb the sweat also. There are now even available on the market many hair ties and hair bands specifically designed for working out – consider getting one of these as well.
Remember not to pull the ponytail too tight, though, as this can stimulate breakage and creasing of your hair in the area where the ponytail is applied. A good trick is to refrain from tying back your hair in the same spot every day, as this will eventually result in breakage. Vary the way you wear your precious hair from one workout to another – high ponytail, low ponytail, hair twisted to the right, hair twisted to the left, bun, fishtail braid, you name it. Though they might not be in fashion anymore, scrunchies are another really good option here, as they are not tight like headbands therefore they stand less chance of leaving dents or creasing in your hair.
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3. Get the Right Hairstyle at the Salon
when you get your next blowout, ask for extra volume. That way, your hair will better be able to endure being put up when you exercise at the gym. Putting your hair in a bun or donut shape will help maintain your shape.
4. During Your Workout, Use a Towel
if you are doing sit ups, bench presses or the like, place a towel over the equipment or gym mat you will be resting your head against. You don’t want your hair being exposed to sweaty equipment. And a towel will absorb the excess sweat and moisture generated by your body.
5. Immediately AFTER Your Workout, Hop into the Shower and Shampoo Your Hair
AVOID, however, rinsing your roots through with cold water in order to remove the sweat. Cold water won’t clean the sweat out of your hair, it will merely spread the sweat up to the ends. And water also dries out your hair as well as making the color fade (very bad news if you are one to dye your hair) If you are going to wet your hair, shampooing it is a far better option.
What shampoo should you use? Opt preferably for a light, gentle formula that won’t over-cleanse your hair and strip it of vital nutrients. There are even special hair care shampoos out there that are specially designed to target sweat and oil. Some of these are again dry shampoos that absorb the sweat and protect your hair – dry shampoos are your best friend if you can’t make it to the shower straight away after your workout. Another boon of dry shampoos is that washing your hair too often actually damages your hair more than helps it. If you work out every day, you don’t want to be shampooing your hair every time! Your hair will quickly become stripped of all its essential nutrients and oils.
Here’s the rub though: dry shampoos are much better when applied BEFORE working out, rather than after. If you apply a dry shampoo after working out when your hair is already drenched with sweat, it will be far less effective as no amount of dry shampoo will be able to soak up all that sweat. In addition, many dry shampoos contain alcohol, which doesn’t mix well with sweat – the two in combination will dry out your hair really quickly.
All shampoos have drawbacks and limitations. Try to incorporate a mixture of dry and wet shampoos, applied pre- and post-workout, into your exercise routine and you will be able to continue to enjoy your gym visits. Remember to apply a good generous quantity. By minimizing your hair’s exposure to sweat, post-workout, you can reduce the chances of suffering hair damage.
6. Use Your Blow Dryer!
If there is minimal sweat, then it’s possible that simply hitting your strands with the hair dryer on cool setting will be enough to blow away the excess sweat! Be sure not to use the higher settings, though, as your hair becomes more malleable when hot – this increases the risk that sweat will damage your hair.
7. Brush Your Hair
Your hair is nourished by its own oils, brush your hair so that the oils reach all lengths of your hair, it also helps breaks apart any congestion at the scalp. Use a bristle type brush for best result.
If you work out properly, your body will be dripping with sweat afterwards. Sweat is bad news for your hair, however the GOOD NEWS is that by following the advice presented in this article you can minimize the damage and go on enjoying your healthy lifestyle. Have fun!
Author Bio: Annette Moore is a hairdresser and owner of her blog BoldBarber.com, where you will find everything from recommendations for shears that are specifically designed for thinning hair to hair health tips and tricks.