Curly Hair and Exercise: How Fit Women Make it Work

2012-10-05 10:38:54

Curly Hair and Exercise: How Fit Women Make it Work

Skipping exercise to preserve a hairstyle is all too common. Here's how women who have good hair and a fit body do it.

As Miss America 2009, Katie Stam often juggled intense workouts with a packed schedule of glitzy public appearances. To transition from sweat and reps to full-on pageant queen regalia, Stam would depend on two things: a cloth headband and clip-in extensions.

For traditional gym workouts, Stam found that a thick cloth headband soaked up perspiration, protecting her fine hair from slicking back flat. Drinking lots of cold water and keeping a towel on hand were also key moves.

Yet it was the hair extensions that made getting gorgeous a cinch afterward.

QUIZ: How Much Fitness Are You Getting?

“You can have them styled before you work out. When you finish your session, clip-in already fabulous hair that looks like you’ve spent the last several hours at a salon,” says Stam. “They are an investment, but they last forever, and no one can tell the difference!”

For the fullest results, Stam keeps two kinds of clip-ins: a fuller, thicker sheet of hair, and then smaller one-inch pieces. Extensions can be styled just like natural hair with tools like flat irons and curling rods. In fact, they hold style better and longer than natural hair.

High-kicking up to 16 shows a week as a Radio City Rockette, Kandice Pelletier says that sweat has been a fact of her daily life for years. The former Miss New York swears by dry shampoo, citing Ojon as her favorite brand. The product can come as either an oil-absorbing powder you tap onto the scalp or in an aerosol that sprays an alcoholized version. Both drugstores and department stores sell a variety of brand options today.

However, Pelletier believes that keeping it simple can often make the biggest statement. “I think there is something really sexy about a confident woman putting her hair back in a clean ponytail,” says Pelletier.

MORE: Tame Your Hair Troubles

Meanwhile, running 20 to 25 miles a week and maintaining a regular routine of sit-ups, pushups, spin class and the treadmill keeps Montclair, New Jersey dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D. on her toes, while balancing the demands of a polished, professional image.

“Many of my African-American patients say to me ‘What about your hair?’ I struggle with the same issue as them, as I perm my hair every three months,” she says. “But I would rather have a fit body and pull my hair back if I need to,” shares Downie, who adds that she uses a scrunchie instead of an elastic to keep dents out of her strands. (Who knew the 90s could come back in such a helpful way?)

After working out, Downie opts for a diffuser instead of a blow dryer to absorb dampness while maintaining style. She sometimes set her hair in pin curls at night, so that the styling time is absorbed into snooze time.

And what of women for whom fitness is a 24/7 lifestyle?

Braids are the saving grace for Micaela Butcher, who is a senior Core Fusion teacher at New York’s Exhale Mind Body Spa. Her days can consist of multiple sweat-inducing workouts, but she doesn’t allow that to her slow her down.

“My hair texture is kinky-curly, so sometimes I’ll braid it in a fun style, so that when I’m done, I’m already good to go.”

QUIZ: How Healthy is Your Hair?

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