Caring for Your Curls During a Workout: Tips for Exercising with Curly Hair

Caring for Your Curls During a Workout: Tips for Exercising with Curly Hair

Caring for Your Curls During a Workout: Tips for Exercising with Curly Hair


For those with curly, wavy, or natural hair, working out can be a frustrating experience. All the sweat, heat, and movement can leave your curls looking frizzy, flat, and unmanageable. But don't worry! With the right techniques and products, you can care for your curls and keep them looking their best during and after your workout. In this article, we will share some tips on how to care for your curls during a workout, from pre-workout preparation to post-workout care.


Pre-Workout Hair Preparation


Before you even start your workout, it's essential to prepare your hair for the stress that it will undergo. Here are some essential hair care tips to help you get started: 


1) Moisturize Your Curls Before Your Workout


curly woman applying spray on hair strands

Credit: Envato Elements/ Prostock-studio


For individuals with curly or natural hair, excessive drying during workouts can be a significant concern. To prevent this, it's essential to add moisture to your curls before exercising. One effective way to do this is by lightly wetting your hair with water or using a moisturizing spray to keep your curls hydrated. Additionally, you can apply a leave-in conditioner or a curl-defining product. These products not only help seal in moisture but also provide some extra hold to keep your curls intact during workouts. 

When choosing pre-workout products for your hair, it's crucial to be mindful of the product's consistency. Heavy products can weigh your curls down, make them feel greasy, and attract dirt and sweat, leading to a dull and grimy appearance. It's best to opt for lightweight, water-based products that will help define your curls without weighing them down. Avoid products containing alcohol or sulfates, as these ingredients can strip your hair of its natural oils, causing further damage. 


2) Choose Sweat-Proof Curly Hairstyles 


Sweat can make your curly or natural hair damp, causing it to become frizzy and tangled, which can disrupt your curl pattern and lead to breakage. Therefore, it's crucial to choose hairstyles that are sweat-proof and can keep your curls away from your face and neck.

One of the easiest ways to protect your curls from sweat is by putting them in a pineapple updo or a high ponytail. These styles not only keep your hair off your face but also prevent it from sticking to your neck and shoulders. Make sure to secure your hair with soft, gentle hair ties that won't cause breakage or tension on your scalp.

If you prefer a more relaxed style, you can try a low ponytail, loose braid, or a low bun. These styles can keep your hair contained, preventing tangling and breakage, while allowing your curls to move freely. 


3) Change Up Your Curly Hairstyle


curly woman on sports attire tying hair

Credit: Envato Elements/ _insidecreativehouse


Wearing the same hairstyle every time you work out can cause tension and breakage in your curls over time. To prevent this, it's a good idea to switch up your hairstyle from time to time. Not only will this help to reduce damage to your hair, but it can also be a fun way to experiment with different looks. Try wearing your hair in a loose bun one day, a pineapple updo the next, and a braid on another day. You can also experiment with different parts, such as a middle part or a side part, to switch up your style. 


4) Use a Satin or Silk Headband During Exercise


Headbands are a popular accessory for exercising with curly hair, as they help to keep your hair out of your face and prevent sweat from dripping down onto your curls. However, not all headbands are created equal, and choosing the wrong material can cause more harm than good.

Cotton headbands, in particular, should be avoided, as they absorb moisture and can leave your curls looking frizzy and dry. Instead, opt for a satin or silk headband or scarf. These materials are gentle on your curls and will help to retain moisture in your hair while you work out. Additionally, they have the added advantage of reducing breakage by creating a smooth surface that won't rough up the cuticle of your hair. They are also less likely to cause tension on your scalp, reducing the risk of hair loss. When selecting a satin or silk headband, choose one that is wide enough to cover your hairline and keep your curls in place. 


5) Avoid Brushing Your Curly Hair


woman brushing curly hair

Credit: Envato Elements/ _kiraliffe


When it comes to working out with curly hair, one important tip is to avoid brushing your curls. Brushing curly hair can disrupt its natural shape and cause frizz so it's best to avoid it. Instead, use your fingers to gently detangle your curls. This will help to maintain the integrity of your curls and prevent them from becoming damaged during your workout. If you're struggling to put your curls up in a hairstyle, try using a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush designed specifically for curly hair. 


6) Additional Tips


In addition to the tips mentioned above, here are a few additional tips that can help you care for your curls during exercise:

  • Avoid touching your hair too much during workouts. This can cause breakage and frizz.
  • Try to avoid working out in extreme temperatures, as this can cause your hair to become excessively dry.
  • If you're working out outdoors, be sure to protect your curls from the elements. If it’s sunny, wear a scarf to protect your hair from UV rays. Additionally, avoid tight-fitting hats or caps as they can cause your hair to flatten and lose its shape and curl pattern. 



    Post-Workout Care for Your Curls


    Taking care of your hair after your workout is just as important as prepping it before you exercise. Here are some hair care tips to help you manage your curls after your workout:


    1) Co-wash Your Curly Hair After Your Workout


    woman applying shampoo on hair

    Credit: Envato Elements/ Sonyachny


    While washing your hair every day can be damaging to your curls, you'll still want to remove sweat and dirt from your hair. That's where co-washing comes in handy. Co-washing, or using a cleansing conditioner instead of shampoo, can help to remove build-up from your hair without stripping it of its natural oils. It's a great way to clean and hydrate your curls after a workout. This method is ideal for use on alternate days or after you have already shampooed your hair.

    When co-washing, focus on massaging the conditioner into your scalp and roots to remove any grime that may have accumulated during your workout. Rinse thoroughly and follow up with a moisturizing conditioner to keep your curls hydrated. 


    2) Use Scalp Oil on Your Curly Hair


    Caring for your scalp is just as critical as caring for your curls. A post-workout scalp routine can include the use of scalp oil to soothe and nourish your scalp. Sweat and friction can cause scalp irritation and inflammation, resulting in dandruff and hair loss over time. Applying a few drops of scalp oil to your scalp and gently massaging it can help to reduce any irritation. It also promotes healthy hair growth and restores moisture to the scalp. To get the best results, look for scalp oils that are light and non-greasy, like jojoba or grapeseed oil.


    3) Try Steaming Your Curly Hair


    woman with towel on hair blurred image

    Credit: Envato Elements/ KYNASTUDIO


    Steaming your hair is an excellent way to nourish your curls after a workout. The heat and humidity from the steam will help to open up your hair cuticles, allowing moisture to penetrate your hair. To steam your curls, you can either use a handheld steamer or create a DIY steam treatment. 

    If you choose the DIY method, start by applying a deep conditioner or hair mask to your hair. Then, take a damp towel and heat it in the microwave for a few seconds until it's warm, but not too hot. Wrap the warm towel around your head, covering your hair, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. The warm towel will create a steam effect that will help your hair absorb the product. After 10-15 minutes, remove the towel and rinse your hair with cold water.


    4) Avoid Towel Drying Your Curly Hair


    When it comes to drying your curly hair after washing it, it's important to avoid using a traditional towel. Rubbing your hair with a towel can create friction and cause damage to your curls. To gently absorb excess water from your strands, choose an old t-shirt or a microfiber towel. These materials are much gentler on your curls and can help to reduce frizz and prevent breakage.

    As an alternative, you can use a diffuser attachment to dry your curls without causing damage. A diffuser works by distributing air evenly throughout your hair while keeping its shape intact. Be sure to use a low heat setting and avoid overheating your curls.


    5) Consider a Curl Refreshing Spray 


    curly woman applying spray on hair

    Credit: Envato Elements/ YuriArcursPeopleimages


    After a workout, your curls might feel a little lifeless and flat due to sweat and humidity. A curl refreshing spray can be a quick and easy solution to revive your curls on days when you don't feel like treating them to a mask or wash. You can make your own refreshing spray by mixing water and a few drops of essential oils of your choice, or you can purchase a pre-made spray that is specifically designed for curly hair.

    To use a curl refreshing spray, lightly mist your hair and scrunch your curls to help reactivate them. This will add some volume and definition to your curls while also leaving them feeling fresh and clean. However, be careful not to overdo it with the spray as too much product can weigh down your curls and cause build-up.


    6) Additional Tips


    In addition to the tips mentioned above, here are a few additional tips that can help you care for your curls after exercise:

    • To prevent your hair from becoming frizzy or tangled while you sleep, consider using a satin pillowcase. These materials are gentle on your hair, reducing friction and helping to preserve your curl texture. 
    • Regular trims are essential for maintaining healthy curls. Split ends and breakage can occur over time, and trimming your hair every 6-8 weeks will help prevent these issues and keep your curls looking their best.
    • When styling your hair after washing, consider using products like curl gels, curl, activators, curls creams, and curl leave-in conditioners enriched with shea butter, argan oil, coconut oil, or other nourishing ingredients.



      Exercising with curly hair can be a hassle, but it doesn't have to be. By following the above hair care tips, you can protect your curls and keep them hydrated and healthy during and after your workout. 

      For extra hold and protection during your workout, try Burlybands hair ties. These strong and durable hair ties are designed specifically for thick, curly, and unruly hair. They provide a secure hold without pulling or causing damage to your hair. Say goodbye to flimsy hair ties and hello to a confident workout with Burlybands. Shop with us today.

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