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How to Get the Most Out of a Sauna for Your Hair

2015-03-04 17:26:16

How to Get the Most Out of a Sauna for Your Hair

Don't wear loose hair in the sauna. I tried it once and I never will again. This is why.

I joined a new gym recently, and I am so excited to have finally been reunited with the sauna.

For me, it's the perfect ending to a workout and a wonderful way to be still, breathe, sit in silence, and think. Truth be told before recent months, it had been years before I last sat in a sauna. Back then (like seriously, 2009/2010), I was rocking straight hair and didn't pay too much attention one way or another to my hair (except for the obvious concern of sweating out my roots). Fast forward to 2015, and I'm well into my natural hair journey and rocking a head full of curls.

Because moisture is so important to the health and vitality of our hair, protecting our kinks, coils, curls, and waves from the dry heat of the sauna is a must.

Luckily, these past several weeks have afforded me many opportunities to experiment with different methods of protecting my hair--and now I have some tips to share!

Before Stepping In, Check Your Regimen

I'm all about preventative measures, so whatever I can do to give myself a leg up is virtually a no-brainer. If sauna time is or will be a part of your health and wellness journey, make sure that your normal haircare regimen reflects it. What I mean here is make sure that you're deep conditioning regularly, and sealing in moisture. Deep conditioning restores and helps maintain internal hydration within the hair, while using leave-ins, oils, and creams (LOC method) helps to keep moisture in and form a barrier between your tresses and the dry heat. Making a regular practice of deep conditioning and the LOC method will help prevent your hair from drying out in the long run.

Before You Enter the Sauna

Prior to immediately entering the sauna, you have a few options to help protect your hair. You can rinse your hair and apply your deep conditioner of choice, clip your hair up, and cover it with a plastic cap and beanie and use your sauna time to double as deep conditioning time. Don't turn your lip up -- plenty of naturalistas have admitted to using saunas and steam rooms to get their deep condition on. If that's not quite your cup of tea, you can opt for a simpler method of hydration by lightly wetting your hair with plain water or applying a DIY cocktail spritz (like water + conditioner + oil) to your hair prior to entering. This will help prevent your hair from drying out and keep the sauna from zapping your internal moisture.

After You're Done

When you come out of the sauna, restoring hydration, moisture, and softness to the hair are important. You can again apply your DIY cocktail spritz, or a water-based moisturizer to your hair to re-invigorate and soften. Don't wait too long after exiting to put moisture back into your hair, or else it will seem like it's getting progressively drier as time passes. It's best to re-hydrate the hair immediately.

Keep In Mind

Lastly, there are a few miscellaneous tips to keep in mind for optimal protection:

  • Avoid glycerin and other humectants (or at least ensure they're not within the first 5 ingredients after water) when it comes to spritzes and moisturizers. In dry air conditions, humectants may remove water from the cortex of the hair, exacerbating the problem they are intended to prevent.

  • Don't wear loose hair in the sauna. I tried it once and I never will again (use me as an example of what not to do). A compact bun (not the big cute fluffy ones that we love) or pinned up twists work best to help the hair hold on to moisture. The less hair that is exposed, the better.

  • Covering hair with a satin lined beanie or even a t-shirt can help delay or defer direct contact with dry heat.

Remember: stay well hydrated before entering the sauna, and don't stay in there for too long...Happy sauna-ing!

Christina Patrice

Christina Patrice

By day Christina is the Director of a nonprofit program at UCLA. By night, she's The Mane Objective. She's happy to have the medium to do what she loves and be who she is - a hair obsessed product junkie.

Instagram: Mane Objective
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