Our relationship with our hair has been historically complex – everywhere between school, to the water cooler and even the gym.
Although our hair grows from our own scalps, it’s still perceived as a peculiarity. For many years, mainstream media has cast black hair as ‘unattractive’ and ‘unprofessional’ in the eye of European standards of long, straight hair.
For black women, achieving straight hair comes with an arsenal of products including chemical relaxers, hot combs and straighteners. These require money, time, careful maintenance, consistency and sometimes pain.
More and more black Brits, however, are becoming accepting of their natural texture, swapping perms for puffs and putting down the straighteners. So much so, that relaxer sales are estimated to see a 45 percent decrease before 2019, while sales for natural hair products have seen growth.
Although great for stimulating hair growth amongst other benefits, the quest for exercising and upkeeping black hair still stands. Some black Brits might find themselves skipping exercise to avoid sweating or getting their blowout/pressed hair wet. On the other hand, black Brits with curlier or kinkier textures might avoid exercise because there isn’t always time to wash, condition and detangle hair after a workout.
While we all have our own unique hair experiences, here are some tips to encourage you towards the finish line of your exercising goals, however big or small and with the hair texture that suits you.
1. Create an exercise schedule that works for you:
Plan accordingly – it makes sense to do the more taxing workouts on wash days, rather than at the beginning of your fresh hairstyle.
2. Protective styles:
If you’re keen to get exercising regularly but you’re not down for the upkeep, try lightweight braided styles such as French braids, straight-backs or a high ponytail. You can also opt for a wig which you can whip off while you exercise. These low-manipulation hairstyles will ensure your hair is done without having to sacrifice time between maintenance or exercise.
3. The bun:
Ah, the classic bun. Timeless, some might say. This can be worn high or low, loose or slicked back with Eco Styler gel and will make sure every last strand is kept away from your face. Although this style may require more upkeep and time, you might find it gives you more cost-effective flexibility if you are exercising more often, particularly when it comes to washing and styling.
Not into the bun? Vernita Ivelina has 5 easy styles to get you through gymming with natural hair.
4. The wrap
A bad hair day can be turned around with a good headwrap and it can also be used to hold your style in place while you sleep and also while you exercise. It’s also great for minimising friction between hair and fabrics, which are known to break hair. You can also opt for a sweat-wicking headband Try not to tie it too tight!
Shampooing your hair too often after exercising isn’t always the best solution, but it’s key to keep hair moisturised between workouts and wash days. If you feel the need to rinse, co-washing is the best way to cleanse after exercising. Create a mix of essential and carrier oils to spritz into your hair to lock in moisture.
Exercising is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, so it’s important to make your hair work for you. Got any go-to styles or tips for exercising? Let us know!