If you have wavy-curly type 2 and 3 hair, working out can be an absolute nightmare. No matter how you do your hair you wind up with a “dent” when you take down your ponytail or bun. Throughout my Curly Girl Method journey, I have learned a few must-know tips and tricks for making the process dent-free without sacrificing a good workout.

To wash or not to wash

Sure, it seems like you do not have enough time each day to cleanse, condition, and dry your scalp and hair–I completely agree; I work out almost everyday for at least 40 minutes and work full-time. But if you sweat heavily or once your hair starts smelling bad, it is crucial to wash it! Rid your scalp of any possible bacterial, fungal, or product build-up that is clogging your pores. If you did not sweat as much, you might not feel the want or need to wash your scalp as often.

If you opt for walking, a gym session or a yoga class it is much easier than going for a run or engaging in some sort of high intensity interval training (HIIT”>. I have two separates routines: one for the days when I know my workout will be light impact, and one for the days of high impact

My routine for light impact sessions

You can easily workout with curly hair if you keep your body on the mat. What messes up the curls might be your constant bouncing back and forth during jumps and runs; if your body does not move a lot, you can still manage to keep your curl definition intact, even during weightlifting or yoga class.

Remember, no tight ponytails.

Try not to disturb your curl pattern or pull too tightly on your roots. I twist my hair loosely and adjust it with some claw clips or a “bubble hair tie”, so that I don’t get a dent or stretched out, limp curls.

I also use a headband to keep my baby hairs laid down (I use the Save Your Do Headband, but it’s totally comparable to every other cotton headband, so any other headband may work”>.


After I get out of the gym shower, I gently release the headband, shake my curls, spray a refresher like Jessicurl Awe Inspiraling Spray, and add some gel to control misbehaving curls. Since I do not wet my hair completely, drying time is extremely short.

My routine for high impact workouts

Keep your hair ‘stable’ during your more rigorous workouts–this means tightly tied up. Yes, your curls will probably get stretched out. You also sweat a lot more, so it is difficult to maintain the same style as before. However, if you don’t mind rocking looser waves in a stretched out style, you can still be ready in a couple of minutes!

I normally wear my headband and tie my hair in two tight cinnamon buns or just a single top knot cinnamon bun–I like smooth edges! Since the hair is twisted, it’s almost like a twist out set: your hair will have a looser pattern once taken out. I keep the style as long as I can, to let the hair and scalp dry after working out, then I release the buns and use some styling gel or leave in (I like the Briogeo Leave-In for this step”> to control the frizz.

If you have time, spritz your curls with water or a curl refresher until they are almost soaking wet. Then, reapply gel. This will reactivate the styling products already in your hair and the gel will take care of any unruly strands.

You will save some time since you won’t have to wash it completely. The drying time will still be an issue, though. I normally try to concentrate my HIIT days when I have to completely wash my hair so that I can workout without worrying about my style.

A protective stretched out style like a Curlformer set, roller set or a twist-out will allow you to rock up to a week of nice hair with just the use of some dry shampoo.

All you have to do is to tightly put your hair in a bun on top of your head (this will allow the sweat to drip down without wetting the hair too much”>, use a headband for your edges and simply wait for your hair to be completely dry before taking out the headband or the bun. You will be left with polished beachy waves.

This is my preferred method–especially now that I am transitioning. Be sure however to wash your hair if you sweat really a lot or if your hair simply feel gross: a dirty scalp is not healthy and can stop your hair growth or make your hair fall out.

Read more by Nora

My Favorite Curly Girl Method Products for Wavy Hair
How I Transitioned from Wavy to Curly Hair
11 Curly Hair Rules I Love to Break

Nora Huber


"I am a curly rebel, youtuber, model and medical student, with a scientific approach to my beauty obsession!"

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