Hair and Working OutQ: I work out at least 2 to 3 times a week and work up a pretty good sweat. I sweat in my head and my hair is normally dried out by the end of the week. I have pretty coarse hair and wanted to know, as an African American, what measures should I take to care for my hair while working out and thereafter? Thanks, in advance.
A: You need to make sure you are cleansing the hair and neutralizing the pH of the sweat being left on the hair and scalp. The salts and proteins in sweat can break down as they dry becoming acidic and can result in drying out the hair and sometimes irritating the scalp. Even in the best of cases, unless you do something to remove the sweat build-up after a workout, you can have some pretty bad odors as a result.
One thing I can recommend, since shampooing frequently can be a problem is that you try using a rinse-through conditioner. The formulas of conditioners are usually alkaline enough to strip away the daily accumulation or production of sweat and oils, and it will help to keep your coarse hair soft and manageable.
If using the conditioner after working out isn't sufficient for cutting the sweat and oil build-up, try using a watered-down shampoo rinse to strip away the offending sweat and salts. This only applies if you are dealing with unbound hairstyles. If you wear your hair in braids of locks, you will want to consult with your stylist about what methods to use so that you can prevent unraveling your hair.
Another idea for dealing with post-workout hair is to use light spray oil shine enhancers with a pleasant fragrance to "freshen" the hair. Some makers even have new hair freshening sprays for people who work in polluting environments to help them eliminate the problem odors from working in bars and restaurants and other places where there are specific smells associated with the locale.
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