How to Work Out Without Ruining Your Hair

Aly Walansky
Woman running

Photo: Getty Images

How do we get the most bang out of our fitness buck – but not blow that blowout during all that sweat?

Nick Penna, Creative Director of Boston-based Be Styled blowdry lounge, says while in the chair, ask for volume. “Let’s face it, the bigger the hair, the better! Don’t be shy to ask for additional volume, it will be worth it! Plus, it will withstand the pressures of being put up at the gym longer,” says Penna.

Pre-workout: Preserve and Protect

1. Spray on a little dry shampoo to help absorb sweat, it’s a great preemptive strike.

2. “If you are trying to preserve a bouncy blowout then rolling your hair into a sock bun or hair donut would help keep the shape,” says Andrea Claire, celebrity hairstylist & makeup artist. The problem with using pins is that they will leave indents on the hair — not to mention pins are not the most comfortable if you’re laying on a Pilates reformer or mat.

3. Always lay a towel on the mat or equipment you’re using to rest your head on. Your body sweats, and if you lay your head directly on sweaty equipment, you’re not doing your blowout any favors. Make sure when doing bench presses or similar moves to rest your head on the towel, which will help absorb excess moisture from your hair.

4. Avoid tight hair ties. Don’t put your hair up in a ponytail with a tight band because it will cause a crease in your hair. “If you must put your hair up for your run, use a large clip and clasp it on top of your head, or a soft tie,” Penna says. Or…Believe it or not… the scrunchie! “I think the only acceptable comeback is in the gym,” says Claire. Scrunchies are not tight bands therefore they don’t leave a hair dent when used to tail or bun.

Post-Workout: Repair

1. After your workout, “If you resemble a drenched rat, then you may have to hit the showers,” says Claire. “But if it’s a minimal amount [of sweat], then toss your head upside-down and using only the cool air setting on the hairdryer, blast the sweat away.” Heat makes the hair malleable so blasting a dryer with the warmer settings on any blowout post-workout would then flop any hope of recovery.

2. Dry shampoo is your best asset. Once the sweat is dried up, use a little dry shampoo at the roots to absorb any more excess oils that may be lingering. “Apply a generous amount,” advises Penna, who recommends Kérastase Powder Bluff ($36, The spray helps absorb oil for long-lasting blow-dry, is an instant style refresher and smells amazing — perfect for post-workout!

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