Just like the food you need to feel your best and the movements that balance and strengthen your body, there is no one-size-fits-all advice for hair care. But we’ve compiled some good-to-know ground rules for treating your hair with respect, and ultimately applying the concept of ahimsa, or doing no harm, to your beauty routine.
Common Post Workout Hair Care Questions
1. How often should I wash my hair if I workout daily?
Of course, this varies based on an individual’s hair type, but typically, it is best to wash your hair every 2-3 days. However, this changes based on the regularity of exercise, the type of workout, how sweaty you get, and the texture of your hair. Most people do not have to wash their hair every time they work out if they take steps to protect it pre- and post- workout.
You probably already know if you naturally sweat a lot or if you’re not a profuse sweater. But keep in mind that the type of workout will change the amount you can expect to sweat. A hot yoga class will be different from a weight-lifting workout, and an indoor cycling experience can be worlds different from an outdoor ride with a helmet, which creates its own microclimate for inducing sweat. If you’re prone to sweating a lot, naturally have oily hair, or normally exercising in heat or wearing a helmet, it’s likely you’ll need to wash more often.
2. Is sweat bad for hair?
Not inherently, but if not washed or addressed regularly, it can potentially cause problems. Salt is a desiccant, so lingering sweat can dry out the scalp, causing irritation. It can clog follicles and contribute to scalp acne. Sweat can also contribute to an unpleasant odor when it mixes with the bacteria naturally found on the skin. For color-treated hair, repeated exposure to sweat can degrade and fade color, which means more expensive trips to the salon if you don’t wash it out.
3. Can I wash my hair daily?
Yes, if you use a gentle shampoo and conditioner that do not contain harsh additives that can strip hair of natural oils and cause scalp irritation. Using a gentle shampoo will get rid of sweat, dirt and buildup. A gentle, light conditioner will add moisture and manageability without weight or greasiness. There are also some additional products you can use to aid in hair health pre- and post-workout
Pre-workout: prepare hair
If your hair is fine, straight or oily, add dry shampoo to your roots before your workout to prepare the strands to absorb sweat. This may also extend the lifespan of a blow out.
For those with dry, color-treated, curly, or textured hair, lightly mist leave-in conditioner or hair oil on the length of your hair (avoiding roots). This protects the hair by keeping it hydrated and helps tame frizz.
After your workout, towel dry any excess moisture, then add dry shampoo to the roots and run your fingers through your hair and over your scalp to disperse the product. The dry shampoo will grab onto residual sweat or moisture in your hair, providing a refreshing scent and feeling of rejuvenation.
If you used a leave-in conditioner before your workout, blow dry afterwards using a low setting to reactivate the conditioner and rehydrate your hair. If you have dry or textured hair, you can use a bit more leave-in conditioner post-workout to rehydrate and refresh.
For curly or textured hair, an oil dispersed from mid-length to ends is a good way to add hydration and combat frizz post workout and help set your curls. A finer mist oil is ideal to not weigh hair down.