Don't Let Your Athletics Ruin Your Hair!Last Updated: January 19, 2019
Looking your best, for many people, involves a lot of physical activity. But if you like to get physical, and often, it can be murder on your hair. Excess exposure to sweat, heat, chemicals, and sunlight can render your strands brittle, besieged, and bleached out. And while your body may be bangin' as a result of all that healthy exercise, the massive amount of hair damage that comes from it is not a cute look.
You shouldn't have to sacrifice one for the other. There are ways to protect your hair from the rigors of exercise without skimping on your workout routine. Below, we have some handy tips and strategies you can incorporate in order to keep your locks lovely - and your body too.
Hair Enemy #1: Sweat
Whether athletic people like it or not, the fact that exercise leads to sweat is as unavoidable as it is unfortunate. And the more athletic you are, the quicker your body will be to respond to any sort of stress or temperature change by increasing its sweat output. And while this may be good for your body, it can be bad for your hair.
There are some theories floating around that the salts and lactic acid in sweat are bad for the hair strand itself, as well as your scalp. Other health experts claim that the risk of damage and hair loss is negligible. Regardless, excessive sweat might prompt some people, especially women or men with long hair, to over-wash - which is proven to cause damage to both hair and the scalp.
To protect your hair from excess sweat and over-washing, consider the following:
- If you must use shampoo after every workout, comb a leave-in conditioner into your hair first. Your hair strands will soak it up like a sponge. And once they are saturated with the conditioner, they will soak up less sweat. It will also help reduce the amount of moisture that your shampoo will strip away.
- The salts and lactic acid in sweat can be easily rinsed away with warm water and a good scalp massage. Consider a thorough rinse instead of reaching for the shampoo bottle.
- Absorbent scarves and headbands can help stop sweat from soaking into your hair. It also has the added benefit of keeping sweat off of your face and out of your eyes so that you don't have to pause your workout to wipe it away.
Hair Enemy #2: The Elements
Tennis, swimming, beach volleyball, or simply taking your workout outdoors can expose your hair to all sorts of damaging elements. In addition to sweat, hair damage is compounded by heat, direct sunlight, and harsh chemicals.
Protecting hair from the sun is a complicated process, because any UV-protectant you could apply to your hair will begin to build up in your strands. If it's gentle enough to rinse away, it isn't strong enough to fight of the sun's rays. If you do use them, purge them from your hair with a clarifying shampoo and repair afterwards with a deep-conditioning treatment (formulas with keratin or protein are great).
For you swimmers out there: a swimmer's cap is obviously your best friend. But if you don't use one, or if you want to play it safe, follow the advice above in the sweat section and put some leave-in conditioner in your hair before you dive in. Even getting your hair wet with regular water first can have a protective effect. You can also look for a chlorine removal shampoo if you are really worried about pool chemicals destroying your tresses.
Hair Enemy #3: Physical Trauma
Believe it or not, working out frequently can result in physical trauma to your hair as well. People with long hair might suffer breakage and hair loss from getting it tangled up in cheap elastic or rubber bands. Bouncing around during a vigorous spin class can result in all sorts of tangles, which can lead to split ends from trying to comb them out. And if you're the brave type who likes to engage in full contact sports - such as football, Mixed Martial Arts, or lacrosse - your hair is getting just as much of that contact as the rest of your body is.
The fact of the matter is, though, that the best way to minimize physical trauma to the hair is to tie it back or secure it in some similar manner. But that doesn't have to cramp your style - in fact, braiding or knotting/bunning your hair can be just as strategic as it is fashionable. When tying your hair back, keep these tips in mind:
- Invest in a high-quality elastic. In the long run, the reduced hair damage and the infrequency of replacing them will pay for itself.
- Does your sport require head gear? Is your hair layered? Does your sport involve frequent physical contact with your head? Then French braids are a must. The added bonus to braids, other than their superior protection, is the freedom to get creative with the style, number, and patterns of braids. There are styling tools that can help you learn if you aren't experienced at French-braiding your hair.
- This is another area where headbands and/or scarves can come in handy. If you can secure them in place with head gear, a cap, or a rubber-coated headband, they can keep short/medium hair out of the way while reducing contact.
Whether you like to strike your yoga poses outdoors under the hot sun, or test your submission skills on a Judo mat, keeping your hair beautiful shouldn't get in the way. And if you need some extra help, products like H2 Thermal, which focus on nourishing and protecting your hair, will give you the beautiful head of hair to match that sculpted, athletic body!learn more