How To Care For Your Hair: Pre- and Post-Workout

Natalie here, Master Stylist, Clean Hair Care Expert and Founder of North Authentic. I started North Authentic to not only educate as many people, like you, as possible on the dangers of toxic chemicals in 90% of hair care products on the market, but also to ensure you never struggle with your hair again because well...well now you have me - your hair's new BFF.


Every week I am going to attack common questions and challenges sent in by you. Real people with real challenges. This week our topic is pre- and post-workout hair care. Questions like "Can I wash my hair every day if I workout every day?" "Does dry shampoo work on sweat?" "Is hot yoga bad for my hair?"


If you're active and wondering about these questions and more, then read on! 


I hear it's bad to wash your hair every day, but what if I workout every day and sweat?


HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR HAIR - PRE- AND POST-WORKOUT

I'm a huge promoter of washing your hair no more often than every two to three days. However, if you workout and sweat (and I don't mean that you just broke some beads on your upper lip vacuuming, but the sweat actually saturated your hair) then yes...absolutely wash it. 


Let's talk about what sweat is. While your sweat is mostly composed of water, it also contains salt, protein, urea, and ammonia. Protein and urea sound okay, but salt and ammonia? Not so much. We all know that salt is drying to the hair and scalp (which impedes hair growth!), so if sweat is mostly composed of salt then sweating profusely through your hair is not that different from taking a dip in the sea.


One more thing to think about: The apocrine glands, or those glands that produce sweat around the hair follicle, also secrete bacteria pulled from the body through our sweat; Therefore, leaving sweat in your hair for long periods of time, without rinsing it out, could lead to fungal infections. Eek! 


Don't panic! There is nothing wrong with delaying your shampoo post-workout. Just follow the tips below.


Final Recommendation: If you are working out every day and sweating, then it is better to wash your hair. However, use something highly nourishing as the daily washing is ridding your hair of its sebum, aka natural oils, before they have a chance to work. This can lead to dry, brittle hair. Also, include a once per week highly nourishing hair mask to replenish the moisture in your hair broken down by salty sweat. Here are my go-to's for shampoo, conditioner and weekly treatments by hair type!

Fine Hair



Medium to Thick Hair




Should I use dry shampoo? 

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR HAIR - PRE- AND POST-WORKOUT


Absolutely! Dry shampoo is perfect for those times that you can't wash your hair because say you're heading to work or running to pick up the kids for their afternoon chauffeur service.


Interestingly, you can use dry shampoo before and after your workout. Using a dry shampoo before a workout can help with limiting the amount of sweat and oil that absorbs into your hair.


When you use a dry shampoo after you workout, if it's a dry shampoo that actually cleans the hair (the only kind to invest in), it will absorb the sweat, oil and dirt that has been produced during and before your workout.


Final Recommendation: Three dry shampoos that I love, because they actually clean the hair but they also leave no residue and offer a little lift, is Oway's Plant and Mineral Powder, Cult and King's Hair Powder (You blondes and silverfoxes go for Light; Brunettes and black haired beauties go for Dark), or truly awesome, Cleo and Coco Dry Shampoo and Body Powder (for those no-shower access workouts). 


If I workout, should I clarify my hair very often?

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR HAIR - PRE- AND POST-WORKOUT


Over time, the sweat, dirt and oil can begin to build up on your hair and scalp. This build up can cause issues with clogging of the follicles leading to hair loss and issues with hair health.


Final Recommendation: Use a clarifying shampoo and scalp scrub once per week or every other week to exfoliate the scalp, remove build up from sweat, oil and product build up and reinvigorate hair growth.


Is hot yoga bad for my hair? 

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR HAIR - PRE- AND POST-WORKOUT

First off…I LOVE hot yoga. I became addicted years ago and I can’t even enjoy a regular yoga class now without wearing a sweatshirt to stay hot. Nothing feels better than stretching your limbs, elongating your muscles and sweating out toxins.


However, as evidenced by the steaming mirrors dripping with moisture as a room of hot yogis push their way through Warrior poses, your skin and hair is exposed to heavy doses of sweat in these classes. And not just yours…a room full of yogis. So what does this mean for your hair?


It can be excessively drying to the scalp (impeding hair growth) and the hair, making it feel dry and brittle. Not only that, the heat of the room can cause your follicle to open and your color to escape leading to color fadage. I know…I’m such a Debbie Downer.


Final Recommendation: You don’t have to give up hot yoga just yet. I mean, the elongated dancer’s body it delivers is worth every drop of sweat on your hair. Just take the time to give your hair back the much needed clarifying and nourishing it desperately needs from your favorite workout.


Use a weekly clarifying treatment, like Davines Natural Tech Detox Shampoo, to remove all the sweat, bacteria, oil, dirt and build up that can get trapped on your scalp and hair shaft. Then follow it up with a major hydrating treatment to ensure you are replenishing the moisture that your hair is losing in that yoga room.


What are the best ways to style my hair during a workout?

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR HAIR - PRE- AND POST-WORKOUT


When hair is wet, it is more susceptible to stretching and breaking, so refrain from tightly pulled back styles. Braids are perfect, either in two, a french braid or side braid, as they are loser around the hair line but still keep your hair from getting in the way while you sweat. 


A top knot or ponytail works well, only if you first, refrain from pulling it back taught, and second, use a anti-breakage hair band. Whichever style you choose to use, mix it up as wearing your hair in the same upstyle over and over can lead to stress fractures (aka breakage) where your hair continuously meets the hair band. 


If you wear top buns daily, ensure you don't see breakage in your crown area. If you do...change up your hairstyle ASAP. 


It is awesome that you are committed to your health and fitness, as exercise is not only great for the body it's also great for the soul. I just want to make sure that your hair is still getting it's fair share of attention.


Have a question you would like me to answer in an upcoming blog post? Awesome! Please submit your questions in the comments below. Yours may be next.


Written by Natalie Palomino


Natalie Palomino is a Master Stylist, educator and Founder of North Authentic. Through advanced education and commitment to her craft, she built a vast clientele providing haircare education and hair services. In 2020, she created North Authentic, a conscious haircare retailer that puts the health of its customers and the planet at the forefront.


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