How to Preserve Straightened Hair Through a Workout

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By Na'Tasha Jones

The situation is all too familiar: You spend so much time blowing out, flat ironing and otherwise pressing your hair into a spectacularly ‘LAID’ style, and when it’s time to work out, all you can think about is how much work it will be to fix it once you’ve sweated it out.

At RUNGRL, we know this struggle well, so we asked some of our favorite runners how they continuously slay their pressed or blown out hair and still have time to work out regularly. Here’s what they told us.

Brandi F.

Brandi Fields, Quality Assurance Manager

Relaxed hair

“Managing healthy hair while working out is extremely hard. When my training schedule picks up, I typically keep my hair in protective styles such as sew-ins and braids to maintain a healthy crown.

I usually choose a wide headband or a hat to wear for my runs. During the cooler months, I avoid using rubber bands to prevent frizz and tangles and opt for the hat alone. Most think this is counterproductive because it results in more sweat, but I have found that tying down the root of my hair actually helps with the post-run styling. Once the run is complete I remove my headgear and allow my hair to naturally dry for about an hour or pull out the dryer for a quick blow dry.

When blow drying, I typically use my fingertips to work through my roots so that I avoid using a comb which of course contributes to more breakage. Once dry, I use the Oribe gold lust dry shampoo to absorb the dirt and oil which revitalizes my hair and gives it more body. A quick run through with my flat iron for a soft wave or a silky straight finish usually does the trick.

I’ve always struggled with keeping my hair moisturized. It wasn’t until I took the advice of a dear friend to make more frequent stylist appointments and begin using more expensive hair products that I began to have positive results and healthy hair growth.

Between salon visits, I wash my hair with Pureology Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner. This cleans my hair without stripping it of all of its moisture. I also use the Joico K-Pak Intense Hydrator Treatment and apply it just as I would a conditioner. After applying the mask I sit under the dryer for 15-20 minutes for a deep condition. After washing out the products and blowing my hair dry, I work in the Redken Extreme Anti-snap Leave-in Conditioner. I then flat iron my hair and finish it with the Mizani Supreme Oil.

Outside of my washing routine, I work in a dime sized amount of Mizani H2O Intense Strengthening Nighttime Treatment to my scalp before wrapping my hair for bed. That helps lock in the moisture."

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Natalie, RUNGRL Co-founder and Project Manager

Natural hair

Exercise headbands are a must for me to help preserve my straightened hair during a run. A wide, sweat wicking headband, such as the Edge Activewear Headband helps keep the edges from frizzing during the run. Depending on how my hair is styled, I might wear a band and place my hair in loose ponytail (not too tight, ladies), or a clip, or pin curl it.

Post workout, I touch up my roots with a light blow dry and only flatiron the parts that really need it. I run a drop or two of argan oil through my hair and scalp and, before I flat iron, I use Creme of Nature Argan Oil Anti-Humidity Gloss and Shine Mist. This serves as a heat protectant and fights humidity. I tame my edges with Hicks Total Transformations Edges. As a finishing mist, I've more recently been using The Light by The Doux, a weightless shine mist. The mist leaves my hair smelling amazing.

Laid Hair Takeaways

These ladies both had amazing tips for keeping straightened tresses manageable during and after workout time? Here are our takeaways:

  • Wrap it Up - Using a scarf or head wrap is a great way to preserve a style and keep edges laid. Try a wrap or twist under a scarf to keep ends smooth and avoid frizz around temples and other sweaty areas.

  • Focus on the Roots - Most of us sweat in our scalps during vigorous exercise. Show extra love to your scalp when treating and blow drying hair afterward. If you don’t have to blow dry or flat iron your entire head afterward, don’t. Simply focus on the areas that need to be touched up.

  • Try a Dry Shampoo - Finding the right one for your hair type can be tricky, but dry shampoo is a great way to extend your hair's freshness an extra day or two without sweat taking over.

  • Refresh, Refresh - Use your preferred method to get your hair looking and feeling up to par until your next wash. Whether it's using a protective style or a fragrant, cleansing product, you can maintain your healthy hair and still get your sweat on.

What are your favorite ways to preserve your press while running or working out? Share with us by posting your own photos and tagging us on Instagram (@rungrlco) using the hashtag #MyRunningHair.

*Note, the recommendations in this post are from the participants’ own experience. Each person’s own results may vary. Their preferred products are linked in this post as RUNGRL affiliate links.


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Na'Tasha Jones

Chief Content Officer