Maintaining a balanced diet and lifestyle is so integral to keeping your natural hair healthy and happy. As we are continuing to learn how to nourish and moisturize our curls whether that’s through the seasons, hormonal changes, or building our routine...this has never been more essential than for those who are working out. No matter what type of physical activity you are doing, working out can be stressful on your hair if you don’t take the time to prepare it with a protective style or moisturizing products to protect you from the elements. We talked to 10 influencers who gave us their style, product, and preparation tips for maintaining healthy hair before you even break a sweat!
1. Michelle Jenkins
“When prepping my hair for a workout, my go-to style is comfortably pulled back and away from my face! To protect the most vulnerable parts of my hair — my ends and edges— I wear my hair in protective styles 90% of the time with my ends tucked. In the same way, I warm up my body before a workout, I do the same with my hair. I lightly spray or rub leave-in conditioner onto my hair to infuse it with good moisture before an intense sweat session! My hair has never been healthier or happier!”
2. Whitney Dosty
“What I have found to be the most important part of prepping my curls for working out actually starts the night before. My hair can get incredibly dry and the hot Arizona climate doesn’t help. I prep my curls the night before with an all over spray of Camille Rose Lavender Shaken Hair Spritzer and then use a dime size amount of the Camille RoseNaturals Honey Hydrate. This combo for me is super hydrating and keeps my curls flexible. I then put my hair on top of my head in a pineapple and sleep with a bonnet.
My go to products right now are Sunday to Sunday Revive Me moisturizing spray. I use it in the morning before a workout and just a good all over refresher, then I shake my curls out and let them rest a little before then putting my hair up; get dressed and make coffee during this time. The second go to as I mentioned before I love the Camille Rose Lavender Shaken Hair Spritzer and I use that at night to prep for the morning.”
3. Jasmine Nesi
“My go-to workout styles are a high puff, feed-in braids or knotless box braids. The biggest thing for me is to keep my hair secure so I can focus all my attention on the workout. My current workout route is 3-4 days a week. With this, I co-wash once/week, and deep condition twice/month. In between washes/after workouts, I use Sea Breeze and/or with hazel to cleanse my scalp.
I'll admit, I'm a product junkie. My tried-and-true products are As I Am Leave In Conditioner, EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo, Shea Moisture Manuka Honey + Yogurt Treatment, and the entire Girl + Hair product line for protective styles. I also recently found the Cantu Hook Elastic Hairbands and it's been much nicer on my curls when doing a high puff.”
4. Ashley Joi
“My favorite hair tie I've been using for about a year now is:Goody ouchless. I use silk pillow cases and wear my hair in a high bun or 2 french braids sometimes with a scarf if i have a deep conditioner in overnight. I will also wear 2 french braids when I do not need my hair fully out for pictures or to be fully done up for anything. I love my curls so my curls are more out than braided. Due to COVID-19 and quarantining at home I've worn more braids than usual.
I am the full shower type when washing my hair. I will rinse my hair about 1-2 times a week and do an actual shampoo clean 1-2x a month depending on my outdoor activity level ( when training outside I fear things getting caught in my curls ( bugs, leaves, sand etc.) I have been using cooler water to wash out products in my hair to protect my hair and only do warm water if need be. No more HOT water. I never fully have hair without any conditioner in it. I'll half rinse out the conditioner and add leave in on top of the conditioner. When I am filming workouts on camera I try to do some different hair styles, I love 2 puffs, A mohawk, Tight Top Bun, curls full out, Half up and half down.”
5. Rae Amore
“When preparing my hair for a workout I prefer the pineapple style (hair piled at top of head with a hair-tie) on my dry curls in order to preserve my curls post workout. I generally wear my pony to the side because I think it looks cute and my hair stays out of my face/eyes. My current products of choice are from "Sunday II Sunday" which is self proclaimed as "the athleisure of haircare" and I believe they are! Post workout I use REVIVE ME Daily Moisturizing Spray along with ROOT REFRESH applied directly to my scalp as a detoxer. I wash my hair once a week, co-wash (conditioner only) once or twice a week depending on the amount of product I have used that week, and deep condition once a month. Climate has definitely played a part in my haircare since moving to a drier climate, I put more effort into maintaining my hair's daily moisture.”
6. Danissa Morris
“When it comes to working out, I keep my hair in a protective style at least 85% of the time. This way I do not encounter a bunch of heat damage and breakage. I usually get a sew-in, or I get feeder braids. I will wear my natural hair in a bun if I want to give the weave a break. I am always sure that my ends are clipped and my natural hair is in a healthy state before any protective style.
Before a workout I usually put on a headband so my edges don't get out of control lol!
I usually exercise with my hair in a protective style, due to the amount my scalp sweats. The climate destroys my hair which is another reason why I usually wear a protective style. If I get a silk press, it's beautiful for a few hours before the heat destroys it. My go-to style is usually feeder braids.They are cheap, quick, and do not pull my edges at ALL! I love my natural hair, but it is definitely a task to keep up with.”
7. Shevanne Robinson
“As of lately, I've been wearing my hair in a protective style, knotless braids to be specific, so my prep before workouts is pretty easy. I have been incorporating SUNDAY||SUNDAY products into my pre and post-workout routine. I often use the Daily Scalp Serum and Daily Moisturizing Spray if my scalp is feeling dry prior to my workout to remove the itch. I then pull it up into a high topknot, I rock the longest braids so this is key, and secure it with two hair bands. This keeps the hair out of my face and allows me to move freely throughout my workout.”
8. Ingrid Clay
“I work out every single day! Now that we are on ZOOM I am doing the workouts instead of just demoing; and then I usually spend the rest of the day training clients and on meetings (back to ZOOM lol). So when it comes to my hair I think moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! I love supporting Black Owned Hair Brands and my favorite is Briogeo Charcoal and coconut oil exfoliating shampoo. I never heard of an exfoliating shampoo before but it’s absolutely amazing! It really cleanses my hair but more importantly my scalp! My scalp feels clean and like it can breathe! I follow that up with their deep condition mask! My curls are instantly moisturized and they bounce back!!!
After washing my hair at night I use my own oil blend. I blend peppermint essential oil, pumpkin seed oil, jojoba Oil ,and honey together and I use all over the scalp, I’ll make two to three braids and I’ll satin wrap my hair at night. In the morning before class I use Sunday || Sunday Rehydrating Spray to bring my curls back to Life! I unbraid and add a little more of my oil mixed with TGIN Butter Cream before making a high bun or letting the natural curls go wild. If I’m working out though high bun it is! I like to use a band that's coated or honestly a satin scrunchie. The hair ties were still pulling on my hair. The satin scrunchie protects it much better! I also like to use a cloth headband too, to lay down the edges, but also to prevent my skin from breaking from sweat. When I do this after a class I can take my hair down, give it a shake and it falls perfectly! Ready for my ZOOM meeting!”
9. Ashley Fagan
“Before a workout: I’m typically rushing out the door early before work to workout so depending on my hairstyle, I’m taking off my bonnet or head scarf and going straight to workout. If my hair is straight, I leave it wrapped in my sleep scarf and sometimes will put a decorative/more presentable head wrap over it. Throughout the week, I’ll typically have my natural hair in a “slick” back low pony or flat twists or two big braids, depending what style I want for the weekend. Right now, I’m not really doing high buns during the week because I can’t fit my scrub cap over that at work but before COVID, that was another go-to style.I exercise mostly with dry curls. If I ended up co washing my hair the day before, it may damp. The climate determines if I’m working out indoors or outdoors but I try to stay consistent with morning workouts. Every now and then, if I overslept or was out too late the night before, I’ll do an evening workout.”
10. Alexandra Wilson
“I live a pretty active lifestyle and usually workout 3-4 times a week. I strive to keep a low maintenance hair regimen and when I work out I usually wear my hair pulled back and out of my face so I can focus and have no distractions. My go-to hairstyle is a ponytail with a satin-lined hat. Afterwards, I shower and then refresh my hair by spraying my hair with water and rake in one of my favorite leave-in conditioners, Mielle Organics Moisture RX Hawaain Ginger Moisturizing Leave-in Conditioner. What I love about this leave-in conditioner is that it’s creamy and hydrating so it acts as a styler as well. Then, I detangle and define my curls with the Curl Keeper Flexy Brush , let my hair air dry and then I apply an oil to seal in the moisture.”
What are your top tips for working out with with curly hair? Share your advice in the comments below.