Meet RUNGRL's #MyRunningHair Ambassadors

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Story and photos by Na'Tasha Jones

As part of RUNGRL's #MyRunningHair initiative to break down the barriers Black women face in maintaining healthy haircare while living an active lifestyle, our #MyRunningHair Ambassadors share their stories and routines, giving a glimpse into their personal lives and how they manage to stay active and healthy while still maintaining their varied and beautiful hairstyles.

Tulani Elisa

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Tulani is a busy professional who teaches FlyWheel 5-7 times weekly and runs at least twice weekly.

She started running after college, when she realized she no longer had team sports to play. She began running and signing up for half-marathons whenever she could. "That was 12 years ago and I still love to run as often as I can," says Tulani. 

Her preferred style is natural hair with loc extensions.

Explaining her choice, she says, "Running and working out pushed me to find a hair style that was easy to do, maintain and have look presentable as often as possible. I decided to get loc extensions based on my personal style and those needs. It's been almost 2 years and I would change a thing!"

Go-to hairstyles when working out: "Usually a high ponytail, but if it's just been done, a lower ponytail with a hat."

Favorite products: "Thayers Alcohol-free Witch Hazel to clean my scalp between washes and Haku Holistics Moisturizing Nectar."

Tips for women with hair like Tulani's: "1. Keep your scalp clean 2. Let go of a needing your hair to be perfect all the time!"

Follow Tulani's hair and fitness journey on Instagram @tulanielisa.

Jasmine Nesi

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Jasmine is marketing account supervisor who is currently in marathon training mode, as she prepares for the Berlin Marathon in September 2018. She runs at least three days per week, plus two days of cross training.

She first got into running when a bunch of her friends signed up and started training for a half marathon in the spring of 2014. "I was looking for a hobby, and decided to join them," she explains. "I went from couch to half marathon in 3 months and haven't looked back."

She has transitioned to natural hair because of her newly-active lifestyle. "I used to wear my hair straightened all the time. I had no idea what my curls looked like. I tried and failed at working out 3-5 days a week and straightening my hair when I first started running, so it gave me a reason to start my journey into natural hair," she says. 

This has had a major impact on Jasmine, who now finds that her workouts have become the priority. "Transitioning has given me the freedom to run without (mostly) worrying about my hair. I plan my wash days around my workouts rather than the other way around," she says.

Go-to hairstyles when working out: "A high puff or half bun, anything to keep my hair off my face, and on hotter days, off my neck."

Favorite products: "Too many to name. I love experimenting! But these are constantly in my rotation: As I Am Leave-In Conditioner, Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Hair Masque, Cantu Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse, Camille Rose Naturals Moisture Milk, and Lotta Body Coconut & Shea Oils Hydrate Me Moisturizing Shampoo."

Tips for women with hair like Jasmine's: "1. Keep your scalp clean with lavender or tea tree oil. 2. Don't compare your hair or hair journey to anyone else's, but do ask for tips! I get the best advice from my curly girl running friends."

Follow Jasmine's hair and fitness journey on Instagram @j_nesi.

Stephani Franklin

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Stephani is also a busy professional currently in marathon mode, training for the Berlin Marathon this September. She runs 4-5 days a week and adds cross training sessions each week that include yoga, HIIT, spinning or swimming.

Running is not new for Stephani. "I've always been an athlete and played sports that required running but not distance," she explains. "I got into distance running in 2014 when I signed up to run my first half marathon in Washington, DC. I was looking for a new challenge and running seemed accessible and something I could improve upon at my own pace."

Running has forced her to rethink her short, natural, curly hair on numerous occasions. "Before embracing the 'curly' life, I had weekly standing hair appointments just to maintain my blow out. As I advanced in the sport, I've tried protective styles such as faux locs and I'm now venturing into the land of natural, wash-n-go hair," she says.

Go-to hairstyles when working out: "These days, it is a simple weekly wash-n-go with a refresh after every workout." 

Favorite products: "I use Kevin Murphy Re.Store Repairing Cleansing Treatment, Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner and rotate Curls Blueberry Bliss Jelly and Matrix Biolage Curl Defining Butter." 

Tips for women who have hair like Stephani: "1. Find a great stylist and talk to them about how to best maintain your hair or for suggestions on more manageable styles that you can do yourself at home. Apps such as Bonnti and Swivel can help you locate salons and stylists that focus almost exclusively on hair care for Black women of all hair types.
2. Leave-in conditioner and YouTube are your friends."

Follow Stephani's hair and fitness journey on Instagram @stf4short.

Fallon Jones

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Fallon is a school administrator who stays very active throughout the week, with Crossfit Bootcamp (HIIT Workouts) four days per week, and runs two-to-three days per week. 

She began running when a friend invited her to run with District Running Collective, a local D.C. running crew, in April 2017. "Although I was a college athlete, I was very scared and intimidated by the idea of running multiple miles with experienced runners," she says. "but the vibe and energy helped me push through my first run."

Fallon prefers to wear weave while running. She explains, "I have '4C' hair that I typically braid down to put weave in my hair. It has been helpful and efficient to just put my hair in a ponytail or high bun while running, and then take it and down and go on with my day. I have been able to maintain just about any hairstyle with weave, regardless of the level of impact of the workout."

That hasn't been the case for her with other natural styles such as flexirods, etc., which she says don't hold for her after a heavy sweat. "With my protective style, I can place pin curls in my hair, workout, and take my hair down to a head full of bouncy curls, or put my hair in a high bun (if I am wearing a straight look)," she says.

Go-to hairstyles when working out: I either put pin curls in my hair or I do a high bun. This helps to make sure that my ponytail does not get wet from sweating during the workout. 

Favorite products: I use Garnier Sleek and Shine Shampoo for wash days. This product really helps strip the oils from the weave hair for a lighter look with the hair that is bouncy and moves. I also make sure the shampoo gets under my braids, using a comb with a rat tail. This really helps get to every area of your scalp that is braided down. I also use Cantu's Refresh Apple Cider Vinegar Dry Co-Wash for under the braids. I do not put any additional product on my hair after a wash day. I typically just wash and blow dry my hair, then use a flat iron. For minor fly-aways, I use Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Hold & Shine Mist. I spray a little of this is my palm and place it in the area of the fly-away hair. 

Tips for women who have hair like Fallon: 1. Understand that wearing weave can be high maintenance depending on the type of hair that you choose (i.e. straight, curly, wavy). The different types of weave require different types of maintenance. Just try and see if the regimen works for you. 2. After you work out, please make sure to DRY YOUR SCALP as much as possible. Because the hair braided down is not exposed to much air, not drying your hair properly can result in mildew or an odor. (This is where the vinegar wash for under your braids comes in.) Ensure that you use a good blow dryer to dry your scalp as well.

Follow Fallon's hair and fitness journey on Instagram @hollywood721.

Share your own hair and fitness journey with us by posting your own photos and tagging us on Instagram (@rungrlco) using the hashtag #MyRunningHair.

Read more about the #MyRunningHair initiative on our #MyRunningHair campaign page.

*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