Lady with curly hair running in a park

If you’re anything like me, you love that rush you get after a couple hours of solid exercise. You feel fit and amazing and ready to conquer the world! But let’s be honest, do you really want to deal with your hair after working out? There aren’t too many great options for getting your hair back into shape afterwards.

I’ve taken ballet and jazz classes at least three times a week since I was four. I might not be as ripped as other people, but I can dance rings around them! I have longer curly hair, and it’s hard to dance with my curls flying around and whipping me in the face. So with my usual stash of bobby pins and elastics, the hair usually goes into a high ponytail or bun. For those curly non-dancers who have sports practice every morning, or a session at the gym, you probably do the same thing. Maybe for shorter lengths, a headband or some clips will help hold it back.

After the workout, you all know what happens. The curls look a little wilted, and you get the little halo of damp curls (maybe frizz”> around your face. And when you take out all the hair doodads, you can still see the hair indent where the ponytail was. You have no idea what to do with it for the rest of the day!

Fear not, friends! I find that my hair springs back to life quicker and curlier if my hair is completely dry when I first put it up at the beginning of my workout. I know, it takes about a million years for our thick locks to dry. But it really bounces back easier this way. Along with the dry hair, I try not to yank the hair back in the ponytail. Not only is it not flattering for most faces to slick the hair back, but it doesn’t work for curlies as a rule. I don’t use a comb or brush to pull it back because that just creates a whole mess of frizz. Trying to get it that smooth and tight just causes breakage on any hair type. The looser the ponytail, the more intact the curls will be later on.

It is possible to reconfigure the hair by showering, styling, and diffusing all over again. But that is rather time-consuming. And time is something most college students don’t have enough of. I know all you students have no time for such trifles with all the studying you do!

I find that the best method for me is to carry around a small spray bottle wherever I go. My hair cocktail changes every once in awhile, but it usually consists of water, a little leave-in conditioner, and some thin gel. I don’t like putting thicker gels in because it clogs the spray pump. I just shake it up and spritz it all over. Most days I just get the curls barely damp and use my fingers to scrunch it back into place. You can experiment with practically anything: honey, avocado oil, olive oil, essential oils — anything that already works with your locks.

Happy exercising, my curlies!

How do you care for your curls after a workout?

Cozy Friedman

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