I recently started working out at the gym each day after work, so I’ve been giving some thought to the best and worst natural hairstyles to wear while exercising. It’s pretty much given that wearing your hair in a protective state – versus in a blowout or twist out – will least obstruct your ability to get that cardio in, but which protective style options are the best? I’ll break it down below:
Weaves are a super cute way to change up your look, but they are terrible for people serious about exercise because they give you very little scalp access. What’s worse, a sweaty scalp is not only smelly but also itchy – you might get an arm workout trying to get the itch out, but not much more.
Not so good: Wigs
So my Fingercomber Kinky Kurl Out half-wig largely inspired this post, because I wore it to the gym one day and said never again. Wigs may seem like a good options because your hair is cornrowed underneath, but they’re too unstable to leave on for burpees and crunches. Especially if you’re using a kinky or curly wig, it’s hard to pull the hair back away from your face and into a ponytail without exposing yourself.
Better: Cornrows/Twists/Flat Twists (No Extensions)
If you take your wig off between work and the gym, you’ll have a protective style that also gives scalp access. Though you might not want to wash every other day, you can at least get some tea tree and peppermint oil on your scalp to soothe, refresh, and hydrate if you have flat twists, cornrows, plaits, or two stand twists.
Best: Braid or Twist Extensions (including Crochet Braids)
Why styles like box braids, havana and marley twists, and crochet braids make the best protective style choices for people serious about their exercise is because they give you access to your scalp with minimal manipulation of your own hair. While you risk ruining a perfectly good hairdo if you wash your sweaty flat twists, you can easily dab a washcloth or soaked cotton ball throughout the scalp of your protective style to keep your scalp fresh. Or go ahead and shampoo weekly, you won’t damage your hair by frequent detangling since it’s all out away!