Monday, 23 January 2012

Your Hair or Your Health?

I had to put up this post after a conversation I had with my friend, T. I asked her to take part in my Sunday class here in Lagos and her reply was "No I can't, I don't want to mess up my hair!".

I'll give her some credit because she attended the class the week before but only because it was right before her visit to hair salon.

This isn't a first, and neither will it be a last. I've been told by many ladies that they don't want to mess up their hair... I can, kind of, relate because I've had relaxed hair and I've had a weave (only once, haha). Friends tell me I'm lucky my hair is natural because it seems I can do anything without worrying about my hair. I've started swimming lessons and it is true - it's easy because I just wet my hair and get in the pool.

Another friend A, who is very into exercise (and lives in Lagos), didn't want her hair to affect her workout routine so now she usually  has her hair in braids. With braids, you can't mess up the style and you can actually rinse/wash your hair and know it will be okay once it's dry.

The easiest thing I'd suggest is to get your hair in braids (extensions) if you don't want to deal with your hair (natural or relaxed) after a workout. It works for A and I'm sure it'll work for you :)

Natural Hair?

If you wear your natural hair 'out' or in twists/braids, like I do:
  • Try conditioner washing or rinsing your hair at least once a week. Also shampoo wash once every 1-2 weeks, preferably with a sulphate free shampoo to prevent drying.
    One thing I learned the hard way years ago is - sweat can dry out your hair! Do not go weeks without cleaning your hair especially if you live a very active lifestyle.
  • Post-workout, lightly spritz your hair with a spray moisturiser and seal in the moisture with a butter (eg shea) or an oil.
  • Don't comb your dry natural hair, it's really coily and is best manipulated when it's loaded with conditioner and/or wet.

If your hair's in Extensions (Braids/Twists):
  • When you wash your hair, make sure you dilute your shampoo. Apply it to your scalp only and the length of your hair will be cleaned as you rinse it off. 
  • The best way to dry your braids is under a hood dryer or with a blow dryer. This way you ensure your hair isn't damp for a long time before it dries. 
  • Always moisturise your hair with a liquid/spray moisturiser, this will help avoid product build up which you can get from cream moisturisers when used on braids/twists.
Is your hair relaxed?

I used to exercise regularly when my hair was relaxed, I sent these tips to someone last year:

I washed and deep conditioned my hair at least once a week (still do).
I sweat a lot on my scalp so a tip I read somewhere about wrapping my hair then laying down with a scarf resulted in very wet, sweaty hair = NEVER again.

Next thing I tried which totally worked for me was - putting my hair in a very high (and loose) ponytail ensuring my ends didn't touch my neck (to avoid them getting sweaty and then drying out). My scalp was sweaty ofcourse but 3/4s of my hair still stayed nice and dry. Right after my workout, before my shower - I'd take my hair down from the ponytail and moisturise *very* lightly (make sure your moisturiser doesn't have glycerine as the 1st few ingredients) especially on the ends, I used elasta qp mango butter but now I use organic shea butter mixed with oils and then put my hair back up in the loose ponytail before showering. One thing I didn't like was sweating on my scalp because of my body temp still regulating after my workout + my hair being covered with a shower cap.

This technique worked on my hair even when I was 4 months post relaxer and I straightened my hair, it stayed straight for a whole week until I washed it.
Sometimes when I couldn't salvage the hairstyle, I put my hair up in a bun (I have so many hair accessories).


Remember - if anything is important to you, you will make the time and necessary changes to ensure you can do it.

Your health should be important to you so try to find what hairstyle works for you to make sure you get your exercise on ;)


9jaFOODie said...

Hahaha.. I have been there, I still find the difficult to work out when i have weaves in. o well

Afropinay said...

Totally agree with this post, used to use my hair as an excuse, but now, I don't care. My health, workout is more important than the hair. I've got relaxed hair and I agree with having ur hair very high in a loose ponytail..