5 Items Black Women Swear By for Fabulous Post-Workout Hair
Plus, pro tips from a celebrity hairstylist for maintaining your style.
It’s no secret that hair deters many sisters from exercising as often as they’d like. After spending time and money at the salon, skipping that afternoon spin class is often a no-brainer for those trying to preserve their style. Thankfully, there’s a way to keep your hair happy without forgoing your health. Here are five reviewer-recommended items (including options from Black-owned brands) you may want to keep within reach the next time you hit the gym.
Bouncy curls and springy coils tend to frizz up while working out? Spritz your hair with a lightweight curl refresher after your next sweat session and gently scrunch it before letting it air-dry. Good to know: Wearing a pineapple (aka a high ponytail that sits loosely on top of your head) during your workout allows sweat to escape from the scalp easily, reducing the amount of frizz, according to licensed hairstylist Tamara Johnson, whose celebrity clients include NeNe Leakes, LisaRaye McCoy and Shirley Murdock. Gather hair up in a satin scrunchie to lessen breakage and prevent creases.
Two curl refresher options to try: Cantu Comeback Curl Next Day Curl Revitalizer (Sally Beauty, $5.99) and Design Essentials Coconut & Monoi Water Curl Refresh (Ulta, $12.99)
Think dry shampoos aren’t meant for textured tresses? Think again. Not only does dry shampoo buy you extra time between wash days, it can add volume back into your style after you hit the gym. “[Blow] your roots with a hair dryer first to evaporate the sweat,” says Johnson. “The dry shampoo will not absorb the oil effectively if your roots are damp.” Pro tip: To get the most out of dry shampoo, spray it six to eight inches away from your head and then let it sit for up to three minutes before manipulating or styling your hair, Johnson advises.
Three options to try: Tresemmé Between Washes Fresh & Clean Dry Shampoo (Ulta, $7.99), Batiste Original Dry Shampoo (Sally Beauty, $13.99) and (an alternative to dry shampoo) Sunday II Sunday Root Refresh Micellar Rinse (MySunday2Sunday.com, $31)
Created by actress Nicole Ari Parker, the Gymwrap wicks away moisture during intense workouts. It even doubles as a cute hair accessory on the days when you’re just running errands or hopping on a video call. “The first time I used it is [when I] went for a walk/jog,” one reviewer wrote. “[Three] miles later, I was amazed when I took the wrap off and found my natural hair (silk pressed) was intact.” The website suggests leaving the wrap on your head for 15-20 minutes after your workout to preserve your style.
You might also like: Dri Sweat Edge Active Wear Headband (Amazon, $3.97)
Yes, you can leave the gym with edges that are still laid to the gods. The secret? “I highly recommend using a thin satin scarf, focused on the edges,” Johnson says. “After the workout, wait at least 30 minutes before removing the scarf to make sure edges are dry and laid down. If the edges are wet from working out, there’s a great chance they will curl up.”
Two options to try: Evolve Satin Wrap Scarf (Target, $3.99) and Melanin Haircare Stretch Satin Head Wrap (MelaninHaircare.com, $21.99)
Chlorine and other harsh chemicals used in swimming pools can leave your strands feeling dry and brittle. Hair already in its natural state? Drench it in clean tap water and apply a heavy conditioner to prevent saturation of harmful chemicals. After your swim, use a clarifying shampoo, follow it up with a moisturizing or hydrating shampoo, and be generous with the deep conditioner.
Rocking a silk press? Consider hitting the pool closer to your wash day. “It’s difficult to protect a silk press under a swim cap. The sweat [accumulated beneath] the swim cap will destroy the hairstyle,” says Johnson, who suggests wearing a traditional sew-in, braids and crochet styles instead. With any protective style, it’s important to coat your braids or twists with a moisturizing oil (e.g., coconut oil) to help prevent harsh chemicals from penetrating your real strands.
If there’s slippery conditioner or similar product in your hair, avoid wearing a silicone swim cap, as it may slide off once you submerge your head underwater. A Lycra swim cap, on the other hand, is made from water-permeable fabric so it won’t keep the hair dry, but it’s designed to stay put while keeping your hair out of the pool and your face. Black-owned brand Soul Cap makes silicone swim caps in three sizes. The larger sizes will keep waist-length braids or locs under wraps.
Three swim cap options to try: TYR Sport Long Hair Silicone Swim Cap (Amazon, $10.99), Speedo Lycra Swim Cap (SwimOutlet.com, $12.99) and Soul Cap XL (Amazon, $16.99)