Home Beauty Great Hair or Great Body? Straight Hair and Working Out

Great Hair or Great Body? Straight Hair and Working Out

by Erika Nicole Kendall

There’s that looming debate over why women of color are so adamant about having straight hair. Some assumption that it is so thoroughly related to societal definitions of beauty, European standards of attractiveness, and has nothing to do with who we were born to be. Yeah, well makeup, spanx, and high heels have nothing to do with who we were born to be, either… and we ALL partake in one or the other of those. So… I’m not interested in discussing why women choose to chemically straighten their hair.

What I AM interested in is what the deciding factor is in the decision between choosing perfect hair and working toward a perfect body. Seriously. I asked my male friends about this, and each one said to me something to the effect of, “I’d rather my girl have a great body and a jacked up head, than beautifully straight hair and a jacked up body.” Besides, there’s some kind of debate about the type of men that a natural-haired sista will attract, anyhow.

Make no mistake about it – I’m NOT natural. In fact, I’ve done my own relaxers since I was a sophomore in high school, and keep my hair healthy all by my lonesome. It is thick, 2-3 inches away from my bra strap, and well… let’s just say that to the average person, I STILL look like I’m natural. However… because I know what my head would look like otherwise, I’m grateful for the relaxer. I go from looking like a lion to a lamb – still a little wooly but much better than the alternative – and that has nothing to do with any external factors. It’s just not what I prefer to sleep on, comb through, or see in a mirror.

Having admitted my own plight with my hair, I will tell you.. I’m not willing to let something as meaningless as hair get in the way of my goals for my personal health. I won’t act like it’s easy for every woman to make that kind of statement. I can’t imagine what women in more corporate settings go through, especially since once upon a time.. it was considered acceptable to call “afrocentric” hair a “corporate don’t.” I work for myself, so I set my own rules. Being beholden to the beauty standards of someone that might not understand the “limitations” of your culture is stressful to say the least. However, it simply cannot serve as an excuse for not taking care of ourselves. Maybe, in the future, I can find links for attractive hairstyles that are manageable and conducive to a good workout regimen.

I won’t lie.. I need ’em too. I wear my hair in either two pixie braids or a giant afro puff all day. LOL.

All of that typing was a pre-cursor to this video, about women of color and how we allow our hair to get in the way of our health and well-being. The newscaster, Robin Robinson of Fox Chicago, made a pretty daring move in going against what her viewers are used to and wearing a style that they may not be accustomed to seeing. I think that’s pretty bold, and although I kind of snickered at her “benefits of wearing ethnic hairstyles – thank goodness there is one” line (because even though I know it’s received poorly, I felt her pain), I hope she chooses to stick with it.

What are your thoughts? Do tell!

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56 comments

Tracy September 26, 2009 - 11:52 AM

I’m natural. We all know that sweat, heat, and humidity are the enemies of pressed hair. I just had my hair pressed last week and made the decision to continue working out. I just put my hair in a ponytail and went for it. My hair was damp and (a little bit) frizzy when I was done. I simply blowdried it, ran the flat iron through it, and wrapped it. Good as new! While I am a bit uncomfortable with using excessive heat in my hair, it’s a small sacrifice I’m willing to make to get this weight off. Period.

JediPrincess January 4, 2010 - 10:59 PM

I’m natural and I workout 4-5 days a week. I rarely wear my hair curly. I will admit I won’t workout for at least 3 days after a hair appointment. However I have successfully lost almost 60 lbs over the last year and have a goal to lose another 30 this year. Ladies don’t let your hair hold you back. It’s just hair. Wrap it and hit the gym.

Alex May 19, 2014 - 9:21 PM

Hello!! I am natural as well and I work out as often as you do. Do you use any special caps or anything to keep the sweat out if your hair?

N.I.A. naturally April 23, 2010 - 4:08 PM

I have locs, and I had this problem when I would palm roll my roots for maintenance. I workout 4-5 days a week, and I have to wash my hair. So, of course, my newly re-twisted locs would be a mess by the end of the week. This was the main reason I started interlocking my roots as a way of maintaining my locks. I can workout, sweat, wash my hair, and keep it moving, and every 4-5 weeks, I get my hair done. But even when I wore a relaxer, I never let a “new perm” prevent me from working out.

Evelyn May 20, 2010 - 11:11 AM

I just got kinky twists put in and am considering a transition to natural. I work at an HBCU, so it’s definitely more acceptable for me to have natural hair in my workplace.

For me, it’s more of a psychological thing- manageability, the ability to see myself as attractive with natural hair, and negative feedback/pressure from family are challenges I face in this process. We’ll see how it works out…

Yum Yucky June 29, 2010 - 12:36 PM

I wear my hair relaxed. I heard of something called “co-washing” in between normal shampooing for sweaty hair. I haven’t tried it yet, but I did cut almost 5 inches off my hair and it does seem to fair better during workouts – not so much of a mess afterwards.

Erika June 29, 2010 - 12:40 PM

I’m definitely a co-washer – my hair is not only softer, but I feel like it’s growing twice as fast, now. Don’t worry – I’m fully planning on posting my ‘fro and it’s story in a few days, LOL!

Thumbs up for snipping the hair, though – I’m a big advocate of haircuts. Fastest way to blink and look like someone new! LOL!

Ladyonthelake October 19, 2011 - 12:08 PM

I was introduced to your site when a link appeared on my daughter’s facebook page. I have been reading all the topics and love the format. Why did you choose a website as your communication tool? Do you have a journalism background?

SexyCool July 13, 2010 - 2:09 PM

My issue with the reporter’s hair is not that it’s a more natural style, but that it’s not necessarily flattering on her.

If she decides to keep it, I would suggest that she have it cut to fir her face shape.

Ilana Phillips October 30, 2010 - 7:15 PM

I really like the hair, but I think if she wore it longer in the locks it will look better, its hard for me too keep my hair natural. meaning I think its too short and looks funny.

Evelyn November 15, 2010 - 1:05 PM

Just wanted to provide an update- I wrote earlier that I was considering a transition to natural hair. I’m happy to say, I actually went through with it! I transitioned for 7 months and did my big chop 3 weeks ago. Right now I’m enjoying the process of learning my new hair texture and being free to workout, sweat, get rained on,drive with my windows down, etc. Looking forward to watching my body reach its full potential in every way!

LisaLynn November 20, 2010 - 9:07 PM

I thought about this article today! I went to the Dominican spot and got my hair blown out…looking all FLY then I went to Spin class the next day,lol! When you get home put one of those shine serums in your hair and wrap it up *BAM* good as new!

Sadie January 6, 2011 - 8:53 PM

What is co-washer? I have relaxed hair and its below my bra straps and I have put my hair in a ponytail to exercise but I think its the sweat that makes it so dry. Any suggestions? Should I just oil it before sessions and then try the co-wash? Its hard to dry and I don’t want to wash it everyday. HELP!!

Thanks,

Erika January 7, 2011 - 5:00 AM

A co-wash is when you rinse your hair only using conditioner – no shampoo. So if you don’t want to wash, then…. LOL A co-wash might not be what you’re looking for. 🙁

lisas February 7, 2014 - 7:42 PM

I am relaxed with waist length hair and I exercise 6 times per week. Sweat and my hair dont mix, the sweat dries my hair out which causes breakage. I cowash 2x per week and wash with sulphate free shampoo 1x per week. I also deep condition my hair at least 1x pwr week I wear my hair straight on weekends or special occassions. To style my hair I do pin curls, bantu knots, braid outs or buns. We do not have to sacrifice our hair for our bodies, we can have a succesful journey with both. Easy deep conditioning tip, place a moisturizing conditioner on your hair, cover with a plastic cap and scarf, work out, shampoo hair, partially air dry, french or plat braid and voila the next morning you will be stlying and profiling…Visit hairlista.com or keepitsimple sista for tips on how to care for afro textured hair. Using tips on those sites helped me grow my hair from shoulder length to waist length.

Tia July 13, 2014 - 2:39 PM

Just went from texlaxed to relaxed and have been searching and searching for someone who’s been successful in growing healthy relaxed hair AND a workout routine. Thank you so much for your post!!!

michelzulu February 9, 2011 - 12:02 AM

This is so timely. I wear my hair in a natural curly style. I just got my first blow out in many months today. Before I went to the salon I had every intention of going to the Bikram yoga. Yes, the hot yoga. The 104 degree heat inducing from the scalp yoga. But when I saw how nice, smooth and shiney my hair looked I decided to take a break and enjoy the sleekness. But the comments are so correct while the smooth style is nice it prevents me from being my authentic goal oriented self. I will ahve to save thosee sleek styles for special occacions. I have a long way to go in my weight loss journey, and I can’t let my hair hold me back. Love your blog.

Christelle March 11, 2011 - 12:36 AM

Ok,

So I’ve kept a relaxer for a long time. I workout 3 to 5 times a week in the mornings @ 4:00am, better in the mornings for me because I can never find time in the afternoons or evenings. The daily upkeep on my hair is too much!!! Working in a corporate environment does not help. I’ve gone towards sown-in weaves (sometimes full, sometimes partial) which have helped with time management BUT, the amount of hair breakage once taking the weaves out is depressing (even with the weave well done and a deep conditioner prior to). When I leave my hair out the Dominicans get it in! but by the end of the week I have a clip on ponytail because my hair is sweated out. Going natural is not an option for me. I think because I’ve never gone that route, and it always looks better on other people, also when I get new growth my scalp starts to hurt, so I alway go back to what I know (ugh).. Do you or anyone else have any suggestions for me? what can I besides stupid weaves? They’re getting too expensive! I get a new weave almost every month. Help!

Lisette April 30, 2012 - 12:55 PM

The reason your scalp hurts with new growth is because you have two textures of hair pulling on your scalp. If you ever decide to cut off the relaxed hair and just go natural, you will see that your scalp won’t hurt. Speaking from experience!

Ashlee August 13, 2012 - 5:49 PM

Have you considered micro braids? Working in a corporate climate, I assume you want something that is classic and professional. Well with the smaller micros (using human hair) you can have the look you want but without the wear and tear. And to do any daily styling, I am a big fan of researching protective hairstlyes. There are some really cute styles out there. Good Luck.

Sakika James March 11, 2011 - 4:56 PM

I kind of did the reverse when I decided to really hit the gym and change my lifestyle. I have kept my hair in some type of braid style for at least the last 10 years. I decided to take the braids out, get a fresh perm and find alternative styles (just to keep from using the flat iron all the time), at first I simply wrapped it at night, but at my last hair appointment I decided to try a 2 strand twist on my relaxed hair, I love it!!! I bought a dry foam shampoo (that kind of resembles wrap foam, I use that between full shampoos, you don’t have to wet your hair, but it cleans your hair – think witch hazel’s affect on your skin) and I simply twist my hair or put a bonnet on at night, untwist in the morning and add moisture as needed.

Candice Essary April 2, 2011 - 11:38 AM

I just had to take a moment to thank you for sharing this with us. As a average citizen I’ve really appreciated the great insights and content obtained from visiting your blog. I hope you will continue to develop a intelligent community here as I will…

Loris Balderama April 18, 2011 - 3:30 AM

I FINALLY SET A DATE FOR MY 2ND BIG CHOP AKA HAIR CUT ITS GONNA BE MAY 20TH ILL BE 10 MONTHS NATURAL 🙂 IM EXCITED I MIGHT DO IT SOONER IDK!

Michelle May 11, 2011 - 3:15 PM

I finally made it back to the gym this week after a 5 month hiatus. Ouch. Working out in the past was great–as I had braids. I’m now w/o a relaxer for 11 months..and I get my hair pressed every two weeks.At the gym, I have my hair wrapped and tied with a cute scarf. However, I am still sweating it out. My hair is really puffy at the roots right now, however, I figured this was a small sacrifice considering my long-term goal.

Bannef May 14, 2011 - 2:00 PM

I don’t know what her hair looked like before, but she’s rocking this look.

Tabitha July 19, 2011 - 4:24 PM

Thank you, thank you for this post. I tease my naturalhair twitter friends if I blogged my blog would be call ” Relaxed and working out”..or something like that. I am relaxed, with healthy hair pass bra strap. BUT more than that I’m a runner and a triathlete. Somedays I’m in the water 4-5 weeks and that doesn’t include any running/biking I might do as well, on those days. I’m not afraid to workout out or of getting my hair wet. I gotta maintain my size 2-4. LOL. Thank you again for speaking for those of us out there 🙂 must retweet this on twitter! @happygigglygirl

Michelle @ Running with Attitude February 12, 2013 - 7:57 PM

So happy to see your comment. I’ve had a relaxer forever and have managed to keep my hair healthy. But like you said, more importantly I keep myself healthy through long distance running. You can do both – I think it’s all about finding the right products that work for your hair.

Nina S. November 11, 2011 - 2:48 PM

I like the freedom of working out and breaking into a good sweat. I work out 4-6 days a week alternating cardio and a kettle bell or free weight workout. My natural hair is maintained in two strand twists that I pin up when I work out. I spritz w/ water and leave-in conditioner in between shampoos. I like to shampoo with black soap shampoo to clarify followed by a light rinse w/ coconut shampoo and conditioner. I use a natural light hair butter or flaxseed based gel to maintain my style. My hairstyle allows me to be versatile so that I can wear it up in an updo or take down in a twist out.

Jaid July 17, 2012 - 3:27 PM

Ditto.

I went natural for my health, my wallet, and for a happier life. (I hate salons and paying for nasty, dangerous chemicals to be put on my scalp).

And I do two workouts (cardio and strength) per day 5-7 times a week.

Towanda February 3, 2012 - 11:02 AM

I want to know if getting a full sew in helps with the excessive sweating in hair when working out. I have decided to really get on point and work out 3-5 days a week. I will mostly be doing zumba classes and walking at the local track near my house. My hair is relaxed and cut into a medium length bob. I plan to get a sew in next week. I hope this will allow me to be able to work out 3-5 days a week without worrying about my hair looking a hot stinky mess.

Late Bloomer April 8, 2012 - 8:05 PM

I just made my one-year anniversary as a natural. During this past year, all of the negative comments, veiled and unveiled, have been from African Americans. However, I have grown to love my hair in it’s natural, God-given state. About a month ago, I let go of some of the self-conscious feelings about not looking pretty/feminine, always making sure I had some type of hair ornament in my hair (as if to apologize for my hair’s texture). If other races of women get to wear their natural hair, why can’t Black women? Now I do plan to give my hair breaks with braids/kinky twists from time to time, but for now I am enjoying the natural goodness of my kinky coils.

Lynaya April 9, 2012 - 10:38 AM

I’m sorry but that “ethnic” hair term just kills me. The whole segment was about black women and their hair. The reporter somehow couldn’t say black hair though….booooo.

JazzFest April 10, 2012 - 10:22 PM

Toni Daley has a series were she does natural hairstyles for the workplace. Her channel is tonidaley80 on youtube, it’s called “Is Natural Hair Professional?”

Lisette April 30, 2012 - 12:52 PM

Not only am I natural, but I’m just about bald (intentionally so). My decision to go natural was bad enough for most of my folks because I had long, thick hair–the kind that looks almost like a wig when it’s relaxed. When I decided to cut it off too, aw man! The funniest response was, “You cutting off what people pay good money to get sewed in!”

My decision was a matter of finances, time management, health, and appearance. The responses to my Sinead O’Connor look run the gamut. I think my favorite has been from one of my students who said to me, “I wouldn’t do it, but it looks good on you.” Smart girl! Each person has to do what works for her.

Teresa Taylor July 1, 2012 - 2:52 PM

In its natural state my hair is super thick. I went relaxer free and had my hair pressed for about a year. It was extremely difficult for me to keep it the way I like it and work out. I sweat profusely from the head. Prior to training for my first relay marathon ( I am an avid walker), I knew I had to get a relaxer if I wanted to train and keep my hair looking the way I like it. So, yes…a relaxer works best for me. I get a roller wrap most of the time. When I work out I pull it back in a ponytail so the tail isn’t touching my sweaty neck. Then as soon as I’m done working out I wrap it back up. Works for me.

dena baldwin November 18, 2013 - 12:57 AM

I jog three times a week. My hair is natural. I usually wear two strand twists and shampoo my hair after jogging. I was considering getting a full head sew in. Do you think I should continue to wear the two strand twist? Do you think it would be easier to manage than the sew in?

Sonya July 17, 2012 - 1:34 PM

Hi Ladies,

I have relaxed hair. I like it better. I stopped working out for six months and my hair stopped breaking. ( I was working out 5 to 6 days a week) Now I am back to working out again and my hair is breaking again. should I take vitamins maybe cause I don’t think it is the relaxer?

On a side not Co-washing is the BEST!! I only go to the salon twice a year thanks to co-washing. my hair is softer and more manageable since I started doing that process. I suggest for people that do co-wash to find the most natural conditioner you can find.

Raia July 17, 2012 - 4:33 PM

I have back and knee injuries so my doctor suggested that I swim instead of going to my execise classes. Of course, the little black woman in my head said “I can’t get my hair wet 3-4 days a week. Do you know what it takes to get my hair looking like this?” Fortunately, I found a way to work out in the pool and NOT get my hair wet. ….Pool walking! The fitness center where I work out has a pool with training harnesses for people who are learning to swim. I put the harness around my waist and it keeps me afloat as I walk from 4ft. to 10ft and back. From 5ft on, my feet do not touch the bottom of the pool. I start with 10 laps, use the railing to the ladder to do pull ups, a kick board, and the side of the pool for push ups. The great thing is I wrap my hair, cover it with my scarf and then a swim cap. Since I the water keeps my body cool I don’t sweat on my scalp like I do on a treadmill or in a class. I get a full body workout and I don’t have to fuss with my hair when I’m done!

Amber January 7, 2013 - 3:37 PM

I’m a relaxed head (former natural and future natural ) as I always seem to go back and forth as the mood strikes). Both as a natural and a relaxed head, I just try to find no-heat hairstyles. My go-to style is the braidout. I may do as little as 5 braids, as many as 10 braids, I may do 5 cornrows (you get the idea). I just co-wash my hair, seal it with some sort of oil, braid it up and take it down and lightly fluff and separate in the morning. As a natural, I didn’t have to do anything to do my ends. Now that I’m relaxed, I put the satin rollers on the ends so they’ll curl up.

And I might not do it every day, that can be a bit taxing on the hair. I may just wear a bun the next couple days, as your hair should style have enough wave or crinkle to it to make a nice bun or an updo even. I save the straight styles for special occasions.

Renee' February 12, 2013 - 8:42 AM

I wear my hair natural. I have been recently been flat ironing my hair and I still work out. The first day I did it, my hair went PUFF! LOL! I was like oh well. I use a humidity spritz and it works great. I won’t stop working out because of my hair, but I just instead adapted my hair to the workout. Also, as a side note, I wouldn’t ever go back to the white creamy crack! LOL!

Crystal February 12, 2013 - 10:07 AM

I’m definitely a believer in “to each, his (or in this case, her) own.” I had relaxed hair for years until almost two years ago when I made the decision to go natural. I actually prefer wearing my hair natural because, for me, I don’t worry about my hair when working out because it’s become so low maintenance for me. When working out with relaxed hair I was terrified of breaking a sweat.

I’m also a fan of the co-wash; I almost never use shampoos. Those are now the only commercial products that I use on my hair. I now make my own deep conditioners, shea butter mixtures and even my own gel and hair spray from all raw, natural ingredients and my hair has never looked better or been healthier. I may go to the salon twice a year for a trim and that’s it.

So when I’m in a 2-hour boxing class or working on my ‘Couch to 5k’ training program, I’m more focused on my form than what my hair will look like afterwards.

Ceej February 13, 2013 - 6:45 PM

I think every woman must find the style and system that works for her and her lifestyle. It took me a few months to figure out what worked for me:

Before I relaxed my hair at age 13, I had long, thick, coily-kinky hair, kinda like Rudy Huxtable’s on the Cosby Show. After the relaxer, my hair is still very long and healthy, but stick straight.

I get my hair done (wash and wet set) every two weeks. I wrap it every night in a satin cap. But because of the daily workouts, I do sweat a LOT, mostly around the edges. I find that if I keep my hair wrapped during my workouts, my hair will stay straight. I tie a cute scarf (usually an vibrant print) around my satin cap and get my workout on.

On my off-week from the salon, I co-wash my hair and use cream of nature leave-in conditioner and elasta xp mousse (or another foaming setting lotion) to *scrunch* my wet hair. Using half a bottle of mousse and then an air-dry or drying with a diffuser makes my hair will dry curly/wavy. (I know folks think mousse is a “white girl product” and I didn’t believe it would work until I tried it. But I think because relaxed hair is straight it works.)

If I swim that week, I wash it with shampoo (usually creme of nature or miss jessies clarifying shampoo) and then do a deep conditioner, just to make sure my hair stays moisturized. Then I use the leave-in conditioner, and then the mousse to scrunch my hair as usual. (I tried miss jessies quick curls a few times and it’s not as effective as the mousse).

I hope this is helpful for some of my relaxed sisters!

Alisa March 26, 2013 - 5:55 PM

I’m late but I definitely wanted to comment.

I wear my hair relaxed. It’s very long and thick- almost to the middle of my back. I work out 4-5 days a week and have lost almost 50 lbs. I never, EVER allow my hairstyle to be the reason why I don’t go to the gym and get it in. I’ve learned (mostly to afford organic foods, I’ve sacrificed my salon visits) to wash my own hair and only go to the salon for touch-ups every 2 months. As a result, my hair is thick and healthy and I’ve reached and surpassed my goal weight and size. I think it’s ridiculous to allow hair to deter women from health. I’d rather rock a ponytail and know it’s because I sweat during my workout than have straight hair, skip the gym, and be miserable and ashamed of myself.

I love your blog. That’s my 2 cents.

Rana May 4, 2013 - 7:02 PM

I love this as someone who has healthy relaxed hair and does not let it get in my way.

Cherished131 June 29, 2013 - 11:02 PM

I permed for 30 years give or take a few years from when I had a bad reaction to a perm. I now have locs’. Working out with locs’ (I retwist/palmroll) is difficult because you need to wash very frequently if you sweat a lot at the gym. Lately, I don’t even retwist . I wish that we learned to love our new growth/our hair/our own DNA as it grows from our head. Not be so quick to touch up or retwist. I wish the effort that we put into hair, nails, clothes and makeup is made the same for our health. I’m pre-diabetic and I’m working very hard to loose weight and not get any weight related disease

Whitney November 8, 2013 - 12:44 PM

I think taking care of your hair instead of your body is utterly ridiculous, but I know TONS of women who justify it. They don’t overtly say, I want my hair to look good so I choose not to workout, but they make the typical excuses…I don’t have time to workout, I could never run, do a triathlon, or whatever. I think our idea of beauty and the priority of our health is so backwards in the black community! I just keep trying to spread the healthy living gospel through my own blog, http://sportyafros.com/

I LOVE your blog. I read it everyday. Keep up the good work!

Whitney

Beverly Tunstall February 8, 2014 - 10:11 PM

I was natural for about 5 years. I have thin 3c hair. With thin hair there is no alternative than to wear it slick back and attach some kind of piece to it. Back in the day couldnt make a good afro becauce of having no volume no matter how long my hair grew. And when it grew out my pony was really skinny. Also was very tangled no matter what type of product I used until I found Kinky Curly…that worked because it gave me the slippage I needed but it didnt keep my hair from the shinkage because of the small diameter of my hair. So even with the Kinky Curly I started slicking my hair back again but at least I could easily run a comb through it….so to make a long story short, I had know problems working out with this style. But I longed for the throwback sleek styles of the 60’s, bumps, pageboys, french rolls because they are back in style. So I got a Keratin Smoothing Treatment some called Brazilian Blowout….PERFECTO! The process bond keratin protein to your hair filling up the flaws in your hair strand. So it give me a stronger shinier hair strand and reduces frizz 90 percent depending on your hair texture…it can be used over a perm or color and corrects all that damage….last up to 4 months and washes out gradually. But the drawback is sweat close to the root…the ends seem to stay straight. So I roll my hair on large rollers and tuck some absorbant cotton or a folded up paper towel under my roller before I clip the roller in to wick the sweat away from my scalp. I ride my bike about and hour a day and the wind help to dry my scalp. I remove the cotton and make sure my scalp is dry before I remove the roller…voila wonderful straight hair ready to be styled…use setting gel if you want curls…hope this helps

Beverly Tunstall February 8, 2014 - 10:22 PM

Oh I meant to say I am still natural because the Keratin does not break hair bonds and washes out over time and hair will keep its normal texture only improved over time…..this is the first time I have been able to style my hair and keep it in good condition with the Keratin Products…..as far as straight hair, personally has nothing to do with Europeans..it has to do with reflection and light and how you want to frame your face…it need a style that has endless options…when the keratn wears off, you can go back natural or wear your hair wavy/wash and go instead…..plus there is hardly any comb out or breakage…..

Beverly Tunstall February 8, 2014 - 10:40 PM

Sorry, I keep forgetting stuff….to freshen my hair I use a good dry shampoo…it keeps the scalp fresh also so you dont feel the need to wash that often….so I work out no less than 5 days a week…..shampoo every 7/8 days and dry shampoo when needed….I rarely flatiron by keeping hair in rollers and sweat off my scalp……

Nicole August 13, 2015 - 7:59 PM

Excellent response Beverly! I was reading through the comments and it seemed as if everyone had a relaxer, braids or locs. Not knocking any of those options, but for me, none of these style options worked for me long-term. The relaxer, especially the lye based relaxers, were just too strong for my relatively fine 4B hair, and I found that I was slowly shedding out; not a lot but it would lose like 20 strands a day and it was noticeable shedding over a period of years. Not to mention, even though relaxers were good for working out, I would have to get a touch-up every 6 weeks like clockwork or else I would start to experience breakage Week 7, and of course, I had to get the Wash & Set every two weeks or else my hair was completely uncooperative. Braids were great for awhile, but they add stress to the edges, and the build-up was a lot with the daily workouts, even if I did wash my hair with the braids in. I never did the wig thing, and weaves would stress my edges worse than braided styles. I also like wearing my hair natural, but even that was stressful trying to figure out a style for neck-length hair, using You-Tube videos. I discover a variation of the Keratin treatment, and I agree, its lifesaving! I get to keep my natural curl pattern, but can make it pin straight with ease as well, (literally I can rollerset my natural 4B hair straight) using a fraction of the heat I used to use on my hair. I have even colored my hair platinum blonde and I haven’t lost a strand of hair yet. I am beyond amazed! Yay Kertain! However, I was trying to figure out a way to keep my scalp fresh and forgot that the option of good dry shampoo might actually work, since even though my hair is completely natural (well currently roller set straight and looks like a perm, but its not), it does behave more like relaxed hair, so dry shampoo might work. I will try this out! But I totally agree with you. It was a few hundred dollars, but definitely worth the investment to have healthy natural hair that acts like relaxed hair, but its not, and I only have to reapply once a year (its a very moisturizing version of Keratin, so it seems to last longer than the typical Keratin treatments).

Sabriya April 17, 2014 - 4:43 PM

I have a problem with my hair breaking from always wearing it in a pony tail at the gym. And now I have these few flyaway’s in the front of my hair that won’t for the life of me stay down. Is there anything to prevent this type of breakage? Or remedy it?

Chanelle September 21, 2014 - 1:40 AM

I’m 12 and I love the game of basketball , but the only problem is I have basketball practice 3 times a week and my hair always sweats out badly ! so I always press my ends but now they’re breaking off

Erika Nicole Kendall September 21, 2014 - 1:20 PM

Heat damage is definitely a real and present danger with frequent heat work.

Have you considered braids? One of the best things I did was learning how to put my hair in braids, micro-braids, box braids, to give my hair a break from the head ESPECIALLY in-season.

Pam January 31, 2015 - 11:01 PM

I have a simple question but probably not a simple answer. I understand using a cotton scarf around the edges for sweating and wearing a pony tail to keep the ends of my hair from the sweat. My question is what about the rest of my head?

Every other part of my head is sweaty and the hair gets wet. What can I do, without using a blow dryer or air dry (which doesn’t straighten the hair closest to the scalp after exercise?

Erika Nicole Kendall February 3, 2015 - 11:07 AM

Check here and see if that helps you. 🙂

Mallorie April 1, 2015 - 10:48 PM

I have been natural for a year and a half now. I just recently started working out for the past four months. The sweat and heat from working out did not bother me at all but now I am going to start working and I need to look presentable. Sooo I have to get with a natural hairstyle that can get through my workout and look nice at work. I feel like it won’t be the end of the world if my hair isn’t perfect. I have to keep working out because I have a goal and hair won’t stop me! Thanks for writing this it was nice to see other women of color write about their hair and workout experience.

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