How To Keep Your Hair Looking Fresh And Clean Post-Workout

There are post-workout blues that everybody talks about. We've all faced the struggle of climbing up the stairs after a leg day because our quads just can't take any more. At some point, we've all suffered from stomach aches and nausea because we didn't hydrate enough or overate before/after a workout. We all know that hydration plays a key role in our workout and recovery, but sometimes, we're lost in the moment and forget to drink enough water during the workout, which leaves us feeling queasy. 

But the one thing that a lot of people don't talk about is pesky post-workout hair. As soon as we finish, we realize our hair is tangled, greasy, smelly, and sweaty. At that point, we're probably too tired to care, so we just let it be in the hopes that everything will return to normal when the sweat dries out. But we already know that's not going to happen. 

It's most likely going to stay with you until you wash your hair, and then the cycle repeats. One of the main reasons people choose to ignore this problem is because they assume there's no helping it. After all, the primary cause of post-workout hair is sweat, and you can't control that. But there are a couple of things you can do to minimize its impact and keep your hair looking fresh post-workout. 

Pre-workout haircare can make all the difference

Start by taking care of your hair during your workout. Leaving it undone or tying it up in an overly tight pony are two uncomfortable options that might lead to hair breakage down the road. Try to keep things nice and loose but well-secured in a bun, ponytail, or braid. For a little extra hair love, switch out your standard hair tie for a gentler option like a scrunchie that holds everything together without causing strain. 

If your go-to solution for greasy post-workout hair is to wash it immediately, you might be causing more harm than good. Washing your locks every day isn't a good idea because it can strip your hair of its natural oils and make it more prone to breakage. Instead, use dry shampoo before your workout to help your hair stay dry and grease-free. It's also imperative that you apply dry shampoo the right way too. 

As hairstylist Juan Carlos Maciques explained to Real Simple, "Prior to exercising, focus only on the roots when applying dry shampoo. Then after a workout, run your fingers through your hair and over your scalp to disperse the powder, which has now grabbed onto any moisture in the hair." If you forget to spritz it on beforehand, wait for your hair to dry completely post-workout for the dry shampoo to work its magic. When you do wash your hair, use a hair mask beforehand to maximize the nourishment from the shower. 

There are several ways to reduce sweaty hair

Once you've turned up the heat in your workout, you can keep things cool with your hair dryer. As stylist to the stars Paul Labrecque told Real Simple, "Before you take your hair out of a ponytail or topknot, let your strands cool down. The cold setting on a hair dryer is an excellent way to achieve this goal." He added, "Simply run cool air over your hair and scalp for two to three minutes until you've removed any moisture, and then release." 

You can also spray on a delightful hair perfume to keep your locks extra fresh through the workout. If your sweaty scalp is giving you grief, keep things nice and dry with a scalp antiperspirant. For extra sweat relief, wear an absorbent and cooling sweatband during your workout, or try a microfiber hair wrap to cool down afterward. To help curb the issues associated with a sweaty scalp, you should also regularly moisturize it. 

When she spoke to Today, Dale Borchiver, co-founder of fitness and lifestyle site Sweats in the City, shared another great hack that might help your hair look livelier after a workout: "I like to use a trick where I put the majority of my hair in a shower cap and pull out any pieces that frame the face." As Borchiver elaborated, "I shampoo those pieces and then blow-dry it back — this way I can avoid washing my entire head of hair."