I first wrote about this in 2013 and frankly, I was a little over the top in terms of keeping your precious strands protected. If the weather is moderate or even raining, it won't suffer at all from exposure to the elements.
If it's very cold, however, try to wear some sort of head gear. The winter cold dries hair out. Your strands of hair don't like floating through cold air freely. If you jog outside, like I do, tie a scarf over your head before you hit the pavement.
I used to wear a scarf even in the summer because running creates resistance between your hair and the air but I've decided this isn't all that damaging. Having a TWA right now makes it even less concerning.
If you prefer to wear a scarf even in the summer, go ahead. You won't feel much hotter with the scarf on but it does provide some protection esepcially if you have very thin hair strands that break easily.
If you don't have a scarf available twist your hair or tie it back if it's long enough. Your strands fair better when they are bunched up together in a twist or a plait rather than when they "float through the air".
If you go to a gym, obviously this isn't going to be a problem. I usually prefer outdoor exercise and commit to it even when it's very cold outside. I have jogged in light snow, rain and at -4 degrees celsius, you get used to it.
When to wash your hair
I don't think you need to wash your hair after every single work out but I frequently co-wash with the Queen of Kinks Conditioner.
I don't get smelly hair (according to my husband) if I leave it unwashed after exercise for a couple of days but I know you might or at least just feel uncomfortable and self-conscious when you don't wash your hair after a workout.
If you prefer a wash after every single work out, co-wash rather than shampoo for a gentler clean and shampoo once or twice a week only.
If your hair is flat ironed it will get frizzy after a jog but that's not a problem for the many naturals that avoid heat.
Many people who work out frequently wash their hair just as frequently because of the sweat. This could just be because you feel dirty, stinky or because you think sweat might harm your hair. Here are the facts.
What is in sweat?
We sweat through two different glands:
Both glands produce sweat containing water and the minerals: sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
In addition, the apocrine glands also produce lactate, urea, bicarbonate and other substances which are attractive to odour causing bacteria.
Importantly, note that the exact composition of sweat varies according to what you've been eating and drinking, why you're sweating and how long you've been sweating. This is why one person might produce stinky sweat whilst another person produces odourless sweat.
Is sweat in any way bad or damaging to either your hair or your scalp?
Some of the constituents in sweat have skin moisturising properties. (Lactate and urea are found in many skin lotions.) Indeed, some evidence suggests that sweat may actually keep you healthy by helping to ward off certain microorganisms.
What if your hair stinks after exercise?
Does it really? After you've showered and dressed asked an independent but honest party to check if your hair smells bad, you'll find that it doesn't.
If you feel you definitely need a wash between your weekly was & deep condition, then just co-wash.
What do I do after exercise?
I jog 5 kilometres twice a week. I sometimes do strength training but I'm not very regular with that. My hair is normally in an updo so I just neaten it up after exercise and continue as normal.
At night, I massage my scalp with Neno Natural's Hair Growth Stimulator because some of the essential oils in it, particularly lavender and thyme, have cleansing and antibacterial properties.
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How To Protect Natural Hair When You Exercise Outdoors
This is me in 2010 and this is me now, I prefer the new look but in order to maintain it I need to keep fit.
I don't do gyms because I think:
Without protection, however, natural hair takes a real beating in the winter cold: it gets dry and is more prone to breaking. The solution is simple: wear a scarf over your head.
Oh, and did you know exercise can help to promote hair growth by:
Sweat doesn't have a negative impact on my hair's health or growth so after a jog I don't wash it unless it's my hair wash day, I just rub some hair growth stimulator onto the scalp, fluff my hair out out and style. Job done.
I now blog about wealth creation - so if you have any money questions meet me there, you can do all sorts of cool things like leave me a voicemail.
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I was a natural hair blogger and mixtress living between London & Chicago from 2012 to 2017. I always thought I was 4C but some say 4B; images below - you decide! Heather xx