Hair

Headed To The Gym, Here’s The Best Hairstyles and Tips For African American Women

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Some days it can feel like you have to choose between your body or your hair: You can go for a run but sabotage the awesome blowout you just got or skip the gym to avoid a potentially bad hair day but miss out on all the muscle-toning, calorie-burning, health-boosting benefits of a workout.

While this choice affects every woman, African-American women in particular may forgo their spin class for fear of ruining an expensive straightening treatment or time-consuming style, a recent study found.

Forty percent of black women have at one time avoided exercise for fear it would mess up their hair, researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine report. One reason may be pricey treatments: Sixty-two percent said they regularly had their hair relaxed, a chemical process that straightens tresses to make them more manageable but also makes them more fragile, especially when washing. Women also expressed concerns about sweating out their hairstyle; the time to wash, dry, and style their hair; and scalp itching.

While the study didn’t look into solutions for these worries, lead author Amy McMichael, M.D., offers a few suggestions: “There are various hair wraps that can be used to hold hair in place during exercise to help preserve the hair style,” she says. “Fitness programs can also be scheduled to include more strenuous exercises at the time when hair washing is eminent.” And if itching is a concern, a visit to a dermatologist can help to clear up any underlying scalp problems.

You can also try sporting a bun (Gabrielle Douglas may have gotten flak, but what’s easier and more efficient?) or a low ponytail secured with shine-inducing hairspray, says L.A.-based celebrity hairstylist Frank Galasso, who’s worked with Vanessa Williams and Kelly Rowland. And of course textured hair is great for holding a braid or cornrow, adds Michigan beauty salon owner Athena Solomon.

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151 Comments

  1. Dee

    December 30, 2012 at 1:13 am

    I am so thankful that I decided to go through the transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. That helped me to make the decision to cut all of the relaxer out my hair, and embrace my beautiful, natural, curly hair. Not only does this save me so much money, but also it ultimately creates a holistic healthier me. I am thankful that I no longer have excuses to not exercising.

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