The mestiza muse

Hair and Exercise

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Verna Meachum

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Exercise increases your body temperature and improved blood circulation to your skin and scalp. I shared in my, ‘Scalp Massage’ post that increased blood circulation to the scalp brings nourishment to the hair follicles and supports hair growth.

The key to working out and keeping hair healthy is by focusing on keeping your regimen as low maintenance as possible. Loose buns (my preference), pineapples, maybe even twists are alternative styling options. Since sweat and salt accumulates on the scalp and wear away at the hair’s cuticles, hair should be cleansed regularly (how regular is to be determined by you). However, shampooing on a regular can cause additional problems for our textured hair.

Co-washing is great for maintaining hair. If you prefer to use a sulfate free shampoo instead that’s fine too. Conditioners are gentle and can lift most workout gunk from the scalp. And because a co-washing workout regimen tends to be moisture intense, moisturizing conditioners will need to be alternated with protein conditioners (or leave-in conditioner) on a regular basis. Alternating products will keep your hair from going limp from too much moisture and constant hydrating. As with any regimen, don’t forget about clarifying your hair at least once a month because of accumulated conditioning agents or oils on the hair over time.


If you wash your hair after a workout, take note of how your hair feels as you’re rinsing. If it feels too soft, limp or weak, follow the rinsing with a protein-based leave in conditioner. If your hair feels tough or hard after rinsing, then follow up with a moisturizing product. After conditioning, make sure to give your hair a chance to dry. What I like to do sometimes after a workout, and if I’m not ready to wash my hair, is to apply a little leave in conditioner with water and apply it to those areas where it’s frizzy then diffuse on the cool setting.

If you workout daily, conditioning everyday and keeping the hair wet over long periods of time is not ideal for our textured hair. When hair remains wet constantly from workout to workout with no chance to recover and dry, the hair begins to falter (@brunnettewithbounce can testify to this).

Too much manipulation from detangling daily can be too strenuous on our hair strands. What you can do in this case is reduce your post-workout hydration to once or twice a week and allow your hair to dry completely and recover in between. Keep your full shampoo and conditioning session for times when your hair has been severely soiled or sweated out.

How do your preserve your hair during and after a workout? Has anyone found success with a dry shampoo?

Comments +

  1. Mona Prince says:

    What is post workout hydration? I workout everyday and I’m clueless on how to take care of my curls. Also will working out in a pineapple put a lot of pressure on the hair strands cuz of gravity? Great post btw ❤️

    • Verna says:

      Hi Mona! Thank you for stopping by and leaving your feedback. What I mean by post workout hydration is to not hydrate the hair after working out. Skip it and limit hydrating to once or twice a week if your hair is experiencing limpness or becoming too over moisturized. And to answer your other question, working out in a pineapple should not put a lot of pressure on the hair.

  2. Mal says:

    this is excellent! i’m wondering if you have any advice on how to maintain hair through swimming? i do pool aerobics three or four times a week and, while i do swear a swim cap, my hair still gets kind of wet every time. what can i do to prevent cholorine damage and to preserve my color-treated curls?

  3. Verna says:

    Yes, I actually did a two part post on summer hair care awhile back. If you’re going to get your hair wet , prior to swimming you can prepare by soaking it thoroughly in water & add a leave in conditioner. This will allow your hair to be less able to absorb the chlorinated water. You can also try using a stocking under the rubber cap to prevent it from catching on your hair. If the water manages to sneak under the cap, coating your hair with thick butters or oil will help create somewhat of a barrier.

    After swimming, you can use a neutralizing spray by Swimspray for removing chlorine. It has vitamin C which is effective for neutralizing chlorine and is safe for the hair, body and kids. It’s also curls girl friendly. Hope this helps!

    • Mal says:

      this is so helpful, thanks for taking the time! where can i find your post about summer hair care? i just looked through your insta but couldn’t track it down. do you remember the date of the posts? thanks again for all of your through research and advice!

      • Verna says:

        I took it down because I wanted to rewrite it, but it’s up again. It’s titled, ‘Summertime’. There are two parts.

  4. Lynnette says:

    This post is amazing and so helpful! Thank you!!

    Insta handle: @nettescurls for the giveaway 😊

  5. Brunettewithbounce says:

    I am so glad you posted this and mentioned the possibility for over hydration. You know this was one of the contributing factors to my Hygral Fatigue. I am so much more aware of how to better protect my hair while working out thanks to you!! Brunettewithbounce

  6. Carlene says:

    Hair growth! – More good reasons to exercise!! 😆
    (My IG handle is @curlycarlene)

  7. Sunanda G says:

    Good and much needed info 🙂
    My IG handle is @sunanda_geddada

  8. Umeyra says:

    good read.
    my IG handle is umeyfancy. 🌴💙

  9. Odette says:

    The two things I’m all about 🙂 my IG handle is @its_odies_life

  10. Teya Stevens says:

    I’ve just taken up running and this is a great read. ig handle @cornish.curls

  11. Miranda Love says:

    Wow! My hair is always too soft , limp and weak after workout. Had no clue I could change that. Very excited to begin my hair journey . Thank you for this read. (My IG handle @mslove_always88)

  12. Marjory Vazquez says:

    This is very insightful! I have been working out a lot lately and didn’t know what to do about my sweaty hair as I did not want to wash it too often. I’ll try to wash it with just conditioner more often, especially when the workout wasn’t too intense! I also know that ouidad has a cleansing oil that is not necessarily shampoo so I was thinking of trying that too! My Instagram handle is: @mj6_vazquez

  13. Chiara Daneluzzi says:

    very useful!! It’s a long time I’ve been searching answers about this problem. I train a lot, every day, and I run on alternative days. I sweat even in winter (and I run at 5 am…) and I cannot go without washing my hair to go to work. I think frequent sulfate washes has made the most damage on my hair. Mybe now I could learn a more gentle way to treat my poor hair…. Thank you so much for such interesting tips and info!

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