Ask the Experts: How to Maintain Hair During Exercise

If you're hitting the gym hard this spring, these 20 tips will keep your tresses in tact.
Nicole Marie Melton Jan, 09, 2012

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“A braid-out is an easy and cute style to maintain during your exercise routine,” advises Rouse. Get Beyonce-like waves by braiding your hair before your workout and unraveling the braids once you’re done with your gym session.

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This moisturizing souffle will keep your hair moisturized and help create perfectly crimped, wondrous waves after you unravel your braids.

$16, available at

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$13, available at Carol’s Daughter.

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If you want to add a bit of versatility to your post-workout hair, don’t be afraid to experiment with hairpieces. Clip-in and drawstring ponytails are so cute and so easy too! For a sexy spiraled look like Alicia Keys’, slick your hair back into a high bun, attach your ponytail and go.

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“This gel helps my hair stay smooth around the edges and does not flake up at all,” advises Rouse.

$3.50, available at Sally Beauty Supply.

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“Rod sets and twist-outs are perfect for women who work out because they work well on hair of all lengths,” says Rouse. Get Corinne Bailey Rae’s lush curls by two-strand twisting your hair prior to hitting the gym. Once your hair has dried post-workout, untwist and fluff with your fingers.

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“No matter what style I’m wearing, the key is to deep condition, deep condition, and then deep condition some more,” says Rouse. “Strong, well-moisturized hair is able to recover post-workout more quickly.”

$5, available at Sally Beauty Supply.

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$9, available at

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“Cornrows are another wonderful alternative for women who go to the gym often,” advises Rouse. “I wore these a lot during training and would jazz them up with big earrings and accessories.” We love Tracee Ellis Ross’ pretty pixie braids as a quick ’do for a girl on the go.

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Slick down your edges with this Edge Holding Gel before securing your cornrows. Add a bit more right before you bust a sweat and tie a scarf around your hair to prevent frizz.

$5.50, available at

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The good thing about cornrows is that you can be as versatile as you like! We love Selita Ebanks’ fresh French braid along her hairline, which leads into her loose, braided bun.

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“Since I swim often, I wash my hair several times each week. This oil really helps maintain moisture despite the chlorine-filled pools and frequent washes which can be damaging if you’re not careful,” says Rouse.

$10, available at Sally Beauty Supply.

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Buns are perfect for the frequent exerciser because they look professional to wear at work during the day and can also be jazzed up for a night out on the town. We adore Sanaa Lathan’s oversized bun that she accentuated by wrapping a braided piece around the base. So elegant!

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“My number one trick is to wear a headband while I’m working out and leave it on until my hair is completely dry,” says Rouse. “A tight ponytail also helps tremendously because it concentrates the sweat into the crown of your hair and your edges stay smooth.”

$20, available at

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Naturalistas can always rely on the good ole’ wash-and-go to look fab after a hard workout. Get actress Annie Ilonzeh’s frizz-free curls by saturating wet hair with your favorite defining lotion and allowing the hair to air dry.

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This Defining Pudding can be used on wet hair to define your wash-and-go, or on dry hair to tame any flyaways and frizz.

$8, available at

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This Defining Pudding can be used on wet hair to define your wash-and-go, or on dry hair to tame any flyaways and frizz.

$8, available at

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“A lot of women with short, relaxed hair will wear it sleek on workout days which is perfect for in between salon visits,” says Rouse. Get Janet Jackson’s cute coif by wearing a headband while working out which will collect excess sweat and help your hair lay smooth post-workout.

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“I’ve had the best results with these headbands,” says Rouse. “They keep my edges super sleek!”

$12, available at

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If your hair is naturally curly, a loose, messy updo is the perfect style to rock after your workout. Get Tamera Mowry’s look by simply adding in a leave-in conditioner, pulling your hair into a high ponytail, and pinning sections into a loose, layered bun.

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“Whether I’m wearing a curly topknot or a loose wash-and-go, I get the best results with this leave-in repair cream,” says Rouse.

$6, available at Target.

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“If all else fails, you can always dress up your hairstyle with a fun, printed scarf,” says Rouse. Take your cue from Rihanna who sported an artfully messy updo accented with a kooky, polka-dotted ribbon.

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“I get a lot of stylish and inexpensive accessories from Forever 21, H&M and even the thrift store,” says Rouse.

$4, available at Forever 21.


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