How Often Should You Wash Curly Hair When You Work Out?

african american woman in white shirt touching curly hair

How Often Should You Wash Curly Hair When You Work Out?

For those with curly or wavy hair, finding the perfect hair care routine can be a challenge. This gets even more tricky when you throw regular workouts into the mix. Sweat, oils, and the rigors of exercise can make you feel like washing your hair every day. But should you? Let’s dive in.

Can You Wash Curly Hair After Every Workout?


woman in white shirt touching her short curly locks
Credit: Envato Elements/ simonapilola

Definitely not. Unlike straight hair, curly hair is unique, and while the post-workout sweat might make you want to jump into the shower and give those locks a good scrub, here are compelling reasons why washing curly hair after every workout might not be the best idea:

1) Natural Oils Are Your Friend

Curly hair tends to be naturally drier due to its structure. Washing it daily, especially with shampoo, can strip the hair of the natural oils produced, which are essential for maintaining its moisture and sheen.

2) Causes Over-Drying

Regular washing can over-dry the hair, leading to increased frizziness, breakage, and even scalp irritation. Maintaining the hair's natural moisture balance is vital for the health of curly hair.



3) Damages Hair Cuticles

Curly hair has a raised cuticle layer which makes it more porous. Overwashing can damage this cuticle layer and even the hair shaft, leaving your curls vulnerable to external factors like pollution and UV rays.

4) Causes Tangles and Breakage

Curly hair is prone to tangling. Wetting and washing it daily can increase the chances of tangles, which can lead to breakage when combing or styling.

How Often Should You Wash Curly Hair?


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Credit: Envato Elements/ Mint_Images

How often you need to wash curly hair depends on several factors, including hair type, intensity of workouts, and personal preferences. As a general guideline, consider the following:

Light Workouts (Minimal Sweating): If your workouts are relatively light and don't result in excessive sweating, you can stick to your regular washing routine. This might involve washing your hair every 3-4 days.

Intense Workouts (Heavy Sweating): For more intense workouts that cause heavy sweating, it's advisable to rinse your hair with water after exercising to remove sweat and salt. Alternatively, if you're hair is very grimy and sweaty, you can consider using a co-wash (conditioner-only wash) to cleanse your hair. It's gentler and will not strip your hair's natural oils.

How to Protect Your Curls During Workouts


woman with curly hair on jog with headphones and hand in pocket
Credit: Envato Elements/ peus80

To reduce the need for frequent washing, here are some tips to protect your curls during exercise:

1) Wear a Sweatband

A sweatband isn’t just a retro accessory! It can work wonders on your curls during workouts. By wearing one, you effectively soak up sweat and save your curls from potential damage and frizz. This tip is especially important if you have oily hair.

2) Opt for Gentle Hairdos

Think about how you tie your hair during workouts. Loose pineapple updos, soft buns, or even braids can reduce sweat contact. Plus, these styles are great for avoiding unwanted tangles and potential breakage.

3) Dry Shampoo to the Rescue

For those days when you can't wash your hair but need a refresher, dry shampoo is your best ally. A light spritz can absorb extra oil and give your curls a new lease on life.

4) Silk or Satin Scrunchies

Traditional hairbands can pull and stress curly hair. Instead, use satin scrunchies or creaseless hair ties. These hair ties are gentle, reduce breakage, and prevent hairband-induced dents in your curls.

5) Hydrate Your Hair

Consider using a lightweight leave-in conditioner or hydrating mist before working out especially if you have coarse hair. This can act as a barrier, locking in moisture and preventing excess sweat from causing frizz.

Weekly Hair Care Routine for Curly Hair


woman with short curls and grey sweatshirt with headphones
Credit: Envato Elements/ wayhomestudioo

Establishing a weekly hair care routine is essential for keeping your curly hair in optimal condition, especially when you're frequently working out. Here's a simple and effective routine to follow:

1) Pre-Shampoo Treatment (1-2 Times a Week)

Before shampooing, consider applying a pre-shampoo treatment, such as a nourishing hair mask or oil. This helps to provide deep hydration and prepare your curls for cleansing.

2) Shampoo (1-2 Times a Week)

Use a curly hair shampoo that is sulfate-free. Allow the lather to work its way through every inch of your hair while giving your scalp a gentle massage.

3) Condition Curly Hair (Every Wash)

After shampooing, apply conditioner to the lengths and ends of your hair. While the conditioner is in, detangle your hair with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb. Thoroughly rinse.

4) Co-Wash (As Needed)

On days when you're not using shampoo, opt for co-washing to refresh your hair. Apply a cleansing conditioner, massage your scalp, and distribute the product through your curls before rinsing.

5) Deep Conditioning (Once a Week)

Incorporate a deep conditioning treatment into your routine to provide intense moisture and nourishment. After regular conditioning, use the deep conditioner, leave it on as directed, and then thoroughly rinse.

6) Detox (Once a Month)

Once a month, consider using a clarifying shampoo to remove any stubborn buildup from styling products or sweat. This helps your curls maintain their bounce. This step is important if you have coarse curly hair. You can skip it if you have fine curls.

8) Trimming (Every 2-3 Months)

Regular trims are important for removing split ends and promoting healthy growth. Aim to trim your hair every 2-3 months to maintain its shape and vitality.


Balancing workouts with curly hair care doesn't have to be a puzzle. Remember, it's not always about how often you wash, but how you care for your curls before, during, and after your workouts. Prioritize your hair's health, listen to its needs, and adjust your routine accordingly. With the right approach, you can maintain both your fitness and fabulous curls!

Looking for hair ties that perfectly complement your active lifestyle and curly hair care routine? Check out Burlyband Hair Ties! Our premium hair ties are designed with durability and comfort in mind, providing exceptional hold without causing damage or tangles. Shop with us today.

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