It’s no secret that some Black women avoid the gym like a plaque. Not because they don’t like or want to workout, but because of a more vain reason: their hair.
For women who spend hundreds of dollars for their ‘do, the idea of sweating it out for fitness is a frightful concept.
The numbers don’t lie, either. A 2012 study published in the Archives of Dermatology found that two out of five African-American women avoid exercising because they worried about their hair.
But fitness is something women of color should not forgo in the name of hair. With obesity and heart disease being among the many health issues that face Black women, taking good care for the body is essential.
If you’re one of the many sistas out there who just don’t see it for the gym, follow Centric’s guide to working out without messing up your ‘do.
Protect Your Hair. There are very few effective workouts you can do without having to sweat. But that doesn’t mean you have to sweat out your hair in the process. This is where protecting your hair comes into play. Products like Nicole Ari Parker’s Save Your Do gymwrap are perfect for keeping the hair tamed and dry. According to its website, Save Your Do™ GymWrap is a stylish headband developed with a patented revolutionary “Edge Control Technology” that minimizes sweat absorption through a unique blend of materials that allows heat to escape while letting cool air in. The moisture ‘wicking’ process occurs at the molecular level within the fabric resulting in drier flat hair. But don’t take our word for it, try it out yourself at www.saveyourdo.com.
Moisturize Your Hair. Believe it or not there are actually products out there designed to keep your hair moisturize and minimize the exposure to sweat. Rihanna‘s personal hairstylist, Ursula Stephen, recommends Motions Hydrate My Curls Pudding. Other products you can use are dry shampoo, spritz with natural oils (spray after working out).
Get a Brazilian. It’s not the type of Brazilian you’re thinking, however. A Brazilian straightening treatment is a keratin treatment that takes about 90 minutes in a salon and costs $200 or more but lasts up to three months and could give you the freedom of working out without worrying you’ll ruin your hair.
Embrace your natural. If you really want to avoid the stress of maintaining your hair, why not simply embrace your natural curls? Learn to manage your hair without chemical relaxers so you can have the freedom to exercise whenever you want. It will be a liberating experience. Though “going natural” is seen as a trend these days, it’s a cultural shift that sees many African-American women letting go of all those hair hang-ups and embracing their God-given tresses.
(Photo: BUCK Studio/Corbis)