sweat effects on natural hair

Reader Question:

I have been natural for two years now, but still learning how to work with my hair. For the most part, I wore my hair in braids during my transition period and only wore my hair out long enough for it to breathe before putting braids back in. I work out at the gym in the morning and have heard sites mention that you should wash you hair after each workout because sweat will damage your hair. Is this true? I do lots of braid outs on dry hair and I'm about to style my hair in mini twists for the fall to protect my hair and retain length. With that being said, I will not wash my hair everyday and need advice on how to keep my hair healthy. Help! 

Answer: Working out does typically cause sweating and yes sweat can be damaging to your hair.

Sweat is the body's way of naturally cooling you down and eliminate toxins. Sweat is also drying to the hair. There are some ways to absorb sweat, especially if you sweat a lot in your head area. You can wear a cotton headband to absorb some of the sweat around the hairline. If your hair is long enough to bun, it's a good idea to pull it back and away from your face to keep you cooler.

Do a conditioner rinse after working out

In the summer, I typically conditioner rinse if I'm wearing a puff. Like you, I wore cornrows during my transition. When I worked out I would fill a spray bottle and add shampoo (I'm currently a supporter of sulfate free shampoos when I do choose to use shampoo on occasion), and water to thin it out. I would then spray my hair with this mixture and let the shower run over my hair. Now that I'm all natural I would try adding conditioner to a spray bottle, misting the hair, paying attention to the scalp and then doing a water rinse. I would then spray on some conditioner, water, and oil mixture ( which you could mix in a spray bottle) and spray on as a leave-in conditioner, or use your leave-in conditioner of choice. I think this strategy would work on your mini-twists. If a few of your twists become untwisted you could probably re-twist the few that may come loose. I would then take a t-shirt and squeeze the water out by squeezing the t-shirt down the length of the twists in a downward motion.

Sit under a hooded dryer, then apply a leave-in

Another alternative would be to take a hand-held dryer with a diffuser attachment with you , so that you could gently dry after working out. This question prompted me to plan a new experiment. My daughter starts her swimming classes again next week and immediately after she will be attending music class. I twisted her hair tonight.

If time permits I plan to conditioner rinse her twists and use a t-shirt to pull most of the drippies out of her twists. Since it's getting cooler, I may also take the hand held dryer to make sure that her scalp is dry before going out. Hopefully I will try this within the next 1-2 weeks. I will post the results. The good thing is that restyling natural hair after a workout is easier with natural hair than it is with relaxed hair. Now sweat equals rinsing and conditioning. I surely don't miss blow-drying hair straight and then curling after washing. Hooray for easier management of hair after a workout, for the girls with curls!!!!


This post was written by BarbaraNaturallySpeaking for CurlyNikki.