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4 Hair Styles for Naturals Who Work Out

• Sep 14, 2013

Are you the girl that goes in to the gym works on every machine, knows her muscle groups and strength trains them? Or, are you the girl who prefers to glow rather than sweat it out? Are you recovering from injury and require only low strain work outs? No matter what your personality, there is a natural hair style that will work for you. Here are some examples:

1. The girl who MUST wash her hair after a work out

I have previously suggested that it is not necessary to wash your hair after every work out. However, I do know that there are some of you who would consider that sacrilege. I also know that there are some who really do not like wearing twists or braids to work out and also do not feel that the hair and scalp get clean if hair is in twists or braids.

If you are this girl, then you have to work out with your open hair, probably in a bun if you wish to keep it off your neck, shoulders and back. One function you may require is quick heatless drying for which I recommend an old 100% cotton t-shirt (soaks up water like a charm!). The second function you may find useful is a style which can be done easily on damp hair. For this, I recommend a quick jumbo twist pin up which requires little time and effort especially if you need to go straight to work after.

2. The girl who glows — regular exerciser but not strenuous, workouts last 30–40 minutes or less .

If you are the girl who likes to do some exercise but are not keen to sweat, you may find that your hair may not require regular washing and a rinse every now and then is sufficient.

There are many styles that can work for low rinsing because issues with moisture related shrinkage are minimal. One style that can work is loose twists which can be styled in multiple ways including buns and updos for workouts. The versatility of styling of loose twists may appeal to people who like to regularly change their hairstyle.

3. The gym bunny — high sweat, heavy hard-core exercise, 4 times or more per week

The gym bunny is a dedicated exerciser who will sweat fairly heavily with every work out. Functionally, a gym bunny with natural hair will require a style that will withstand regular washing and resist frizz formation afterwards.

The perfect style for this personality is small twists or braids. If your hair has a tendency to shrink in twists then braids are preferable unless of course you prefer the look of twists. A style that can easily be mended for example medium-sized cornrows or flattwists in the front can also help refresh the style and extend its wear.

Ladies, what styles are most suitable for sweat sessions at the gym!

About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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26 Comments on "4 Hair Styles for Naturals Who Work Out"

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nappy headed black girl

Yep, I was just about to say twists worked for me. I fit the bill perfectly: worked out at least 4 days a week and a heavy sweater. Total wash-n-go style for me.


Love this article. I am at the gym 6days a week!!!love cardio so it’s all about sweating! I don’t need to wash my hair everyday…I wear my hair twist outs everyday and so far so good before and after my hour long sessions!

My hair takes between 2–3 days to dry if left to its own device and I’m not trying to walk around with wet hair like that, lol. I wash and condition once a week, and I work out at home or go for a run. When I work out at home, it’s just a high ponytail or bun just to keep it off my neck and also a cotton stretch headband to keep the sweat from my head getting to my scalp. For runs, I put a satin bonnet on and put a hat over it. That way may hair… Read more »

Do you dry it at all with anything else after you wash? I squeeze with a towel, by the time over woken up the next morning my hair is ready dry. It’s starts drying pretty quickly as I have to rewet my hair some while detangling.


I sweat heavily. So I must rinse or wash my hair daily when I go on my exercise crazes. During these times I wear wash n’ go’s or a puff on top of my head. I know for some people that means tangle city, but the pressure from the water helps detangle my hair, and instead of shampoo I use a little ACV to clarify my scalp then follow up with some tea tree conditioner. In-fact I actually get less breakage and shedding when I am doing this. (Its most likely because of the exercise though lol)

La Tina

WnG on short, tapered hair. I work out 4x a week doing bootcamp, and run 3x a week. At my length, I co-wash 3days a week. Leave-in condish and rake some gel thru, and I am good. Dries in 2 hours.


I am definitely a gym bunny and a heavy sweater. 15 minutes into my workouts, I’m already dripping. I wear twists primarily and work out at least 4 days/week. I do not rinse or wash everyday. I tried that before. All I got was matted twists, which were a detangling nightmare. So, now, I just wash once a week. I do, however, clean my scalp + condition/seal in between workouts. And, my hair does not smell funky.


I am 1 year into my natural hair journey and prefer doing twist outs because it stretches my hair. After my workouts my hair always revert back to its natural curl. I think I will have to stick with wash and goes because they seem to be the most convenient for my active lifestyle and I must learn to embrace my shrinkage. Thanks for sharing this article!


I work out and sweat a lot. I usually have my hair in single twists. Does anyone know of an effective way I can wash my hair without it being tangle or frizzy and still be NEAT?



I sweat rivers, but my stink comes from my armpits, not my head. I do not rinse every workout. Granted, right now I only get to the gym once a week, and I wash my hair monthly (I want try every two weeks, though).

The lengths some people go through just not to wash or rinse their hair, is amazing. I’ve been natural all my life and I could never wash my hair only once a month or twice a month, despite exercising 4 days a week. I live in a tropical climate, if I did that my hair will smell funky. I wash my hair with diluted conditioner every time I workout, I towel dry my hair, put some coconut oil or pomade on it and put it in a low ponytail and I am ready to start my day. People fuss over… Read more »

I am with you on that one, for me it is really personal hygiene; People do shower their their body after working out why is the hair exempt from it?

Sorry, but I just feel your comment is really condescending and ignores the fact that no two women have the same head of hair. It may be easy for you to wash your hair daily, but for others, it may do more harm than good. When hair is wet, it is more susceptible to breakage and tangles, so if you can avoid that on your wash days, great. But that isn’t true for so many other women. Also, not everyone’s hair smells bad after a workout and other women live in significantly cooler climates. I live in the northeast and… Read more »

Thank you.

I agree. I work out several times a week but I’m one of those folks that don’t sweat much . I can be in a high intensity step aerobics class & sweat will be pouring off everyone but me. I also wear cooling bands to cool off. & sweat very little in my head, so my hair gets washed once a week or maybe twice. If twice or more , one will be a co wash or an ACV rinse . I have fine 4 ab hair that I’m trying to grow out & the less manipulation I do the… Read more »

I live in Texas and its summer for most of the year. I sweat everyday I got outside, but I’m don’t sweat that much in my head to warrant a wash everyday. The majority of my sweating is in and around my armpits. I shower at least once a day and have great hygiene. My hair doesn’t stink after a workout, my hair and scalp aren’t even wet


I’m a gym bunny (high sweat, heavy hard-core exercise, 4 times or more per week).

When I work out: I wear my kinky, Afro-textured hair in 10 braids (w/ satin scarf & a bandana), a high bun (w/ a cotton stretchy, headband), an updo (w/ a cotton stretchy, headband) or a puff (w/ a cotton stretchy, headband).

After I work out: I shower with a shower cap. Then, I style my hair: unravel braids for a braid-out or lightly re-gel and re-smooth my bun/updo/puff.

I cleanse my scalp and hair with shampoo once a week.


I work out 4–5 times a week and sweat pretty heavily. I primarily have my hair in twists during the week so that’s how it is during my workouts in the morning. After working out I either rock a twist out for the day or just leave my hair twisted. I wash my hair once a week and don’t find that my sweating makes my hair smelly in between wash days. I do make sure to really cleans my scalp with shampoo every week to get rid of any buildup.


A new location of my gym just opened by my job, so I am definitely about to get back into gym mode. I’ve been keeping it simple with two strand twists and then updo. I will likely keep continue doing that.


I’m a dancer. I just bun it up :-). Very quick and easy.

Hey ladies, Do you oil our scalp or do a hot oil treatment? I am asking because I noticed that my scalp gets really dry after a workout. I tried a hot oil treatment by Carol’s Daughter. My scalp gets sweaty even if I am walking for 10–15 minutes. Love how CD’s oil smells but it made my scalp smell funny the next day. What do you ladies do or recommend for the scalp? I would like to try a light oil with a light fragrance. I use witch hazel to clean my scalp in between washes. I wash my… Read more »

I do yoga 5 days a week. I sweat like crazy during practice. I usually wear my hear with a flat twist on each half of my head and pin both twists into buns on the side of my head. This style keeps my hair stretched. It’s very easy do. I usually wash my hair twice a week. I use a very clarifying shampoo when I wash my hair. I MUST get my scalp clean.

I am a strenuous exercises, and sweat heavily. I’ve tried twists before, but they end up smelling rancid by the end of the week, and certainly by the end of two weeks. Not only that but the detangling in and of itself was horrific. Perhaps my fine 4a hair would do better if I could get it to retain moisture. Any suggestions? I don’t have time to do my hair that often, so I guess braids are my recourse. However, I have fine 4a hair, and when I braid it, my actual braids are tiny. I’m not sure it’d look… Read more »

i think you should water rinse often


Im a gym bunny. In the m 6–7 times a week sometimes twice a day. I sweat heavily in my head. I have my hair twisted in updo i feel it dries a lot faster since i go to work after my workout. I wash my hair once week. My hair does better when left alone anyway.

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