How to protect curly & afro hair whilst working out

Gyms re-opened today and we’re ready to shake off that lockdown body. 45% of people with curly and afro hair avoid exercise and working out because of their hair. Finding the strength to commit to a regular workout session is already a lot to contend with, having afro or curly hair to worry about too should not be the barrier to health and fitness that it is.

This has shaped the mindset of many curly haired women and men who believe that working out is not for them. Some will easily tell you "working out is not for curly girls and men with curly hair need to keep it short". Well, they’re so wrong! And so, what’s the best approach to take care of your curls and workout? That’s the question we have the answer to.

Six Protective hairstyles for any workout

There are many hairstyles to choose from, but I will focus only on style patterns that are suitable for men and women and can conveniently be carried to the gym and get you through your workout with no worries at all. We added a pre-workout checklist for your hair and 3 post-workout treatments so you know exactly what to do to look after your hair and get the best out of your workout. Let’s quickly see a few of them;

1. Top knot

Protective hairstyles for men and women
Top knot

Loved by men and women the top knot is a dynamic look that keeps your hair high and away from your body to keep you cool during your workout. Achieve this look by using a leave-in conditioner and securing your hair with a snag-free or seamless hair band. The sides and edges can be smoothed with an alcohol-free edge balm or covered with a sweat-wicking headband. This style is best for mat workouts to keep your hair off the ground. Avoid this style if you are running or doing high intensity training as the knot will have to be tighter to resist the movement and this can damage your curls.

2. Ponytails & Pigtails Braids

Ponytails & Pigtails

Parking your hair in a ponytail is one very easy way to prevent or at least reduce sweat intensity. This can be done easily by using a ribbon or snag free band to hold your hair in place firmly and securely. You should also ensure that the hold isn’t too tight, or you'd be at the risk of scattering the set patterns of your naturally curly hair. This option is best for women and men who prefer to keep their hair bone straight after a blow dry, perm, sew-in, or silk press. Apply an humidity resistant serum to ensure your hair does not revert, especially from its root.

3. Buns & Man Buns

Buns & Man Buns

Probably one of the most popular hairstyles common with gym enthusiasts. It’s easy and can be done within minutes. All you have to do before hitting the gym is, mist your hair, preferably with mist or spritz sprays or a conditioner that does not require washing or combing. You can as well apply serums, edge creams, or balm for a sleek look and to stop any movement, but those are not essential; they will only make your bun last long enough till after your gym session. Wear your bun high or low.

4. Braids


So working out with freshly braided curls can be scary, but you have nothing to worry about. You can easily apply serums, edge balm, or pomades to prevent and treat frizz if it occurs. Try not to use an oil before a workout as your scalp needs to breathe during a workout and oil and sweat do not mix and can lead to an itchy scalp. Instead try a light-weight root