Rescue Mission: Saving Your Hair From the Sweat (remix)

Remix: This post was originally on Kinky Crown in 2010, under "Rescue Mission: Saving Your Hair From the Sweat". Enjoy the 2012 version!

Days are getting longer. Nights are getting shorter. You know what that means, summer is right around the corner. With the season of skimpy attire steadily approaching, you're more than likely ready to re-up on that 24 Hour Fitness membership and sweat it out. If you're anything like me, you want to have an effective workout without ending up looking like you could be Nicki Minaj's hair twin. Sidebar: I absolutely hate, hate, HATE it when women come to the gym and hop on the treadmill and walk 1.3 MPH for 10 minutes then stop saying, "I'm done, I don't want to mess up my hair". Ummm, why even bother? Sheesh. If you know someone like that, please share this post with them. If I just described you, continue reading. 

Ok, moving right along...

In order to save your treasured tresses from the sweats, you must first understand your body's air conditioning system. If you have ever worked out in your life, or danced at a club, you've sweated. Think back. Did you:
  • Perimeter Sweat: Major moisture around your edges, kitchen, behind the ears, on the outskirts of your hair.
  • Crown Sweat: Internal sweating, characterized by raised poofiness in the middle of your head.
  • Both (yikes!): I will pray for you.
If you are rocking the natural (like me), then sweat-ruined hair isn't that big of a deal. Just make sure that you wash your hair regularly (at least once a week, depending on how frequently you work out, and how much you sweat), condition, and moisturize. Added bonus: If you sauna or steam room after working out (which I highly recommend), slap on your conditioner (if you're entering a sauna, don a plastic cap or grocery bag) and chill out for a while. Talk about a free deep conditioning experience!

Perimeter Sweaters
Perimeter sweaters really do have it easiest.Since the edges and circumference of the head is the major concern, there are two keys to maintaining hair: 1-- high ponytail and 2 -- headband. If you sweat moderately (like me), a simple Goody Stay Put headband will do, coupled with a not-too-tight ponytail secured with the right scrunchie. Click here for additional tips on the appropriate ponytail. Added bonus: Add extra security to your headband with bobby pins.

If you are a super duper perimiter sweater, a thicker headband will do you more good. Goody Ouchless Comfort Fit headbands are a great option. You can also rock an athletic headband (a'la LeBron), but make sure to add a little oil or moisturizer to your ends before and  after using it, because of it's ability to absorb sweat (and your hair's natural oils). After all, you want Lebron's headband, not his hairline. Bazinga.

Crown Sweaters
You definitely have your work cut out for you. A ponytail for you is a fruitless endeavor, so don't even bother. Before you hit the gym, toss the following items in your bag:
  • Travel-sized blow dryer
  • Satin scarf
  • Hair-wrapping tool(s) [brush, comb, clips, bobby pins, etc)
  • Heat protectant/moisturizer
As a crown sweater, your best bet is to execute your workout with your hair tied down (to increase the likelihood that your crown remains flat). After your workout, uncover your hair. If it has remained largely in tact, then re-wrap your hair and keep it pushin'. If you have some moisture, grab the heat protectant and blow dryer and handle it. Once your hair is dry, re-wrap and cover with satin scarf and do not take it off until the next time you take your hair down (ideally, the next day). If you crown still isn't 100% back where it was before you hit the gym, you can apply flat iron heat on a low setting sparingly.

Perimeter + Crown Sweaters:
You need Jesus. And everything from both categories. While working out, follow the perimeter sweater tips. In post play, handle your hair with the crown sweater tools.

Whether natural or straightened, everyone can benefit from:
  • High ponytails -- keep that hair off your back and shoulders (away from sweaty body parts). Tuck your ends if necessary.
  • Swapping out the terrycloth workout towel -- When you wash your hair, you dry it in a towel, right? And what does it do? Suck out the moisture, right? Then why on Earth would you lay back on that bench, or put your head on that headrest with your towel covering it? That zaps unnecessary moisture from your hair. By all means, keep a layer of protection between your head and that spot where everyone else has put their greasy/dirty/sweaty head. Just opt for a satin scarf/wrap instead.
  • The sauna -- naturalistas, grab a plastic cap. Straight sistas, wrap your hair in your satin scarf and push it off your forehead, right to your hairline (to catch the sweat). 
  • Regular hair washing schedule -- increased workouts = increased sweating = increased salts and impurities in your hair and on your scalp = increased propensity for hair stink. Treat your locks accordingly.
Get it in at the gym! Do you have any hair-saving tips or techniques? Share them in the comment section, or e-mail!