So you’re comfortably on the seat of your couch, scrolling through your phone knowing should be using that time to probably work out. Then you remind yourself that you had a good reason to stop: the working out thing was messing with your natural hair. It happens to me, too.  If you have an inkling of desire to work out again (or keep working out), here are 5 tips to keep your natural hair fresh while you get fit.

The Problem: You like sleeker styles, and your workout frizzes your perimeter and edges

1. The Solution: If I am trying to maintain a sleeker style, I use a sweat-absorbent, headband or head tie while I work out. Then I leave it on after I work out. It will help absorb the sweat, but leaving it on after the workout helps my hair dry in place with less frizz.


The Problem: Your sweat leaves your style drenched and shrunken after your workout.

2. The Solution: The heat from exercise triggers your body to cool itself down, and sweat comes in the save the day. It can saturate your scalp in the process. Your hair soaks up the moisture like a sponge, which is a great way to prevent sweat from seeping into your eyes. It can also change your look completely.

To help my scalp stay cool and maintain more control over my look, I use styles like twists or braids. If my hair is not braided or twists, I try to keep my scalp open and ventilated. So, hats don’t work as well for me.  To avoid getting the ends of my hair wet, I pull the ends of my hair up and away from my scalp and neck, in puffs, ponypuffs or buns. Using a relatively smooth, absorbent material as a headband or headtie absorbs the sweat, but still allows for your scalp to breathe.

The Problem: You want to swim, but you are worried that the chlorine will damage your hair.

3. The Solution: Growing up I swam quite a bit. Thankfully, my mom always moisturized my hair, put on a swim cap and cleansed afterward. This is a little prevention and treatment. The swim cap creates a barrier between your hair and the chlorine. To treat hair that may have been exposed to chlorine a post-swim cleanse with warm water helped to remove residual chlorine.

The Problem: Your scalp gets super itchy more frequently.

4. The Solution: The sweat and buildup from working out can do a number on your scalp.  If I have braids or twists I rinse my scalp in between cleanses/shampoos. Whether my hair is twisted, braided or free, I really like Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Oil Conditioner for these rinses. My scalp feels so refreshed. These days I follow the rinse with Alikay Naturals Essential 17. It does all the right things.  (Like in Tip #1 to avoid frizz as the twists or braids dry, I tie it down as it dries.)


The Problem: You think braids and twists will give you more freedom to work out. However, you are worried about losing your edges.

5. The Solution: My edges came into this world wanting, so I feel your pain. I recently found out that I can have braids and twists without losing my hairline if I make some changes. You can find a complete list of things that worked for me here when I did twists. In short: they aren’t as small, tight or plentiful.

I appreciate you so much for reading. Share with me in the comment below your tips to keeping your natural hair fresh as you get fit.

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Chantal Kamya

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Chantal is a project manager by day, writer/graphic designer by night, and a former business school career coach and career development professor. Through her writing, one-on-one coaching and group classes she strives to give practical, thoughtful and inspiring tips/ideas on communication and personal branding, to encourage purpose-driven women to achieve their professional and personal goals. She is the founder of, a website with everyday products with African-inspired designs. She shares thoughts on life as a Congolese-Ugandan American, with mild obsessions with hair/beauty, family, healthy living, good food and African clothes at and
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