Fro vs. Foe: The Battle Between Hair and the Gym

The old myth of working out ruining your hair is just that, a myth, an idea of the past. Now that hair, especially natural hair is becoming a recurring theme in the realm of fitness. I love to workout. It takes the stress of the day away and it keeps me healthy, and my body looking and feeling right. Many naturals also attribute part of their hair growth to fitness and eating right. Now, why should your hair prevent you from getting in shape, and having that great body to match that amazing head of hair? Here are a few tips that might help with your hair and working out.

1. Pull your hair out of your face

Whether your hair is long or short, having your hair flying all over the place while you’re working out is no fun, and distracting. Use a headband (thick or thin) or a “hair tube,” as I like to call them. An example of a hair tube would be a Loc Soc or Sue Maesta hood. I personally use and prefer a “hair tube.” Mine is a Garnier “hair tube” that I received for free at an event I attended.

Another option, whether your hair is straight or in its natural state is Nicole Ari Parker’s Save Your Do GymWrap. It’s especially designed for the gym. And as the name suggests, it saves your hair from looking a mess after a good workout. It’s features “Edge Control Technology,” which minimizes sweat absorption and allows heat to escape while letting cool air in.

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If headbands aren’t your thing, you could also do a cute and effortless hairstyle to hit the gym. A bun keeps your hair out of your face while protecting your ends. Also, a high ponytail is another option. It might be boring, but it gets the job done. Or you could go for milkmaid/goddess braids which are flirty and stylish.

2. Use the right products

Products are essential when it comes to preserving your hair while working out. Using the right products can maintain and eliminate frizz, and have your hair looking sleek.

A product I like to use not only for the gym, but on a daily, is EcoStyler Gel. I’m telling you, this stuff is a holy grail product; I use Krystal or Olive Oil. EcoStyler Gel will always have your edges laid (what more could a girl want). This gel comes in eight different varieties. There’s even EcoStyler Sport! The Sport gel retains moisture, imparts shine and gloss, and maximum hold for active lifestyles.

Also, any anti-frizz products should work well to help maintain your hair, and reduce the chances of it becoming frizzy and puffy while working out.

3. Be Free

And so what if all this fails. You got a good workout, and health is more important that poppin’ hair, right? Maybe your hair didn’t hold up like you wanted it to, but it wouldn’t be natural if it didn’t do its own thing. So just let it rock. Curly girls can be fit too!


Top Misconceptions About Natural Hair

I keep hearing misconceptions about natural hair and false beliefs about all of the new things one can do with natural hair – well I’m here to set the record straight! Here are 5 things that most naturals hear about natural hair:


  • – Natural Hair Is Stronger Than Processed Hair
  • – Good Hair vs. Bad Hair
  • – To Have Hair Types 3c & Above, One Can’t Solely Be African – American
  • – Natural Hair Can Handle More Chemicals Since It’s Not Relaxed
  • – Natural Hair Isn’t Seen As Acceptable In The Workplace



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Natural Hair Is Stronger Than Processed Hair

There is a technicality when it comes to this subject. Natural hair is stronger than processed hair simply because the protein in processed hair strands is broken down – therefore making the hair straighter. Natural hair, however, is not strong itself. It takes great attention and proper hair care for natural hair to nourish and grow. Natural hair in its dry state can be very fragile if not properly moisturized and sealed with some sort of oil or cream. On a hair strand, there are places where each curl begins and ends. Each place on the strand where the curl begins and ends, is a point of potential breakage. That’s why different hair types have to be treated differently.

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Good Hair vs. Bad Hair

Since slavery, there was always a dispute about which hair had less kinks and which hair “resembled” the heads of those in Africa more. I’ve heard of some hair shows that wouldn’t allow naturals with certain patterns to model hair products because it’s not “natural enough” or it was “too nappy.” Whether your hair texture can’t hold a curl, or can mold to a 2-strand twist in an hour… CurlyInCollege believes that your hair is beautiful and don’t you ever forget that!

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To Have Hair Types 3c & Above, One Can’t Solely Be Of African Descent


A lot of people – even some naturals – believe that to have a more defined curl pattern where the curls are elongated and more visible, one MUST be mixed with other races besides African- American. Although your ethnicity can affect your hair’s texture and curl pattern, it doesn’t always. Sometimes DNA just predetermines things for us. Whether it’s your skin color, curl pattern, eye color, etc., some things you just have no control over. It’s our differences that make each and everyone of us special. Be proud of your hair pattern and texture, and never let dissatisfaction ruin your happiness on your natural hair journey.

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Natural Hair Can Handle More Chemicals Since It’s Not Relaxed


Just like we discussed earlier, natural hair is only stronger because unlike relaxed hair, it’s not processed- however, that doesn’t mean that you can flat iron your hair everyday and color it 20 times in a year. A little hair dye or heat here and there won’t harm at your hair, but try to limit things things that chemically alter or dry out  your hair.

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Natural Hair Isn’t Seen As Acceptable In The Workplace

A lot of college freshmen are in school getting an education so that they can one day work in corporate America, and a lot of naturals already work in corporate America. Somehow they all seem to have one common question – “Will my hair be accepted in corporate America?”  I can’t 100% guarantee that your hair will be accepted by EVERYONE at your job, but I can guarantee that most of the time, the only person that’ll initially look down on your hair is YOU. Most of us are so paranoid of people’s initial opinions about our hair, when in reality they might not even notice our sudden change of style. If you are proud of your hair, others feed off of your positive views on your hair and will begin to love it as well- but the love of your hair starts with YOU.

Tips For Transitioners

Transitioning can be the hardest phase when going natural. Here are a few tips to keep you encouraged along your natural hair journey.

– Line of Demarcation Definition

– First Look At Your Natural Hair

– Don’t Join The “Natural vs. Relaxer War” Train

– Accepting Your Hair Pattern

– There ARE An Abundance Of Transitioning Styles


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Line Of Demarcation

The point where natural hair and relaxed hair meet is called the Line of Demarcation. At this point lies the weakest part of your hair. Don’t be freaked out when your relaxed hair starts breaking off from your natural hair. Some people can keep their relaxed hair throughout their natural hair journey until they’re ready to cut it off, and some can not. The way to cut down on this type of breakage is to treat your relaxed hair just like your natural hair. Deep conditioning treatments will especially help! Your natural hair needs this much attention and your relaxed hair will benefit from it as well.


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Don’t Join The “Natural vs. Relaxer War” Train

Countless times, I’ve heard “ natural isn’t for everybody.” Now does this make any sense? How can something that naturally grows out of someone’s head not be for them? Even if you’ve said this without intentionally meaning to tarnish someone’s view on their own natural hair, don’t discourage others who are trying to go natural or are considering it. Also, whether you’re a new natural or a long time natural, don’t talk down on people who choose to wear their hair in a processed state. Everyone has a choice and as a natural hair community, we should support each other no matter what.



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Transitioning Styles

There are plenty of styles to test out before you fully go natural (meaning to big chop or occasionally trim off your relaxed hair.) I recommend you to actually wear your hair in natural styles so you can get a glimpse into what being natural is all about. It’s better you know before your natural hair journey what you’re getting into instead of finding out later and becoming discouraged on your hair journey.



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First Look At Your Natural Hair

You’ll never be able to fully see your natural hair until your relaxed hair is cut off, although you will have a good idea of what it’ll look like. When your hair still has relaxed hair attached to the ends of it, the relaxed hair weighs down the hair therefore stretching the hair pattern out making the curls look more elongated. The fact that the relaxed hair weighs down the natural hair is a reason why the hair experiences breakage sometimes. Also, a lot of new naturals want to see their hair pattern immediately and choose to big chop. Not every natural wants to big chop their hair – which means cutting off all of the relaxed hair – but some choose to.



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Accepting Your Hair Pattern

This subject may be touchy, but it needs to be discussed. When some people go natural, they have expectations of how they want their hair to be and how it should be. They see other family members and think their hair will turn out just like their family members’, etc… Don’t be discouraged when you don’t have the kinkiest or curliest hair. All textures of hair can achieve the same styles, even if different methods have to be performed.


Should You Totally Ditch Shampoo?

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Constantly I hear the pros and cons of people raving about co-washing your hair vs. shampooing and conditioning your hair. In this article I will discuss the my point of view on co-washing your hair vs. shampooing your hair.

Why I Support Shampooing Natural Hair


  • Some people only wash their scalp with shampoo and allow the shampoo to clean the rest of their hair when they rinse their hair and the water/shampoo slides down the hair shaft.
  • Eventually you have to do do something to decrease product build up on your scalp whether you use shampoo or a cleanser.


Why I Support Co-Washing Natural Hair


  • Who doesn’t love the idea of constantly conditioning their hair?
  • With this method you may not experience that squeaky clean feeling you have after washing your hair with shampoo because the essential oils in your hair, produced by your sebaceous glands, didn’t get removed.
  • Might promote hair growth by increasing length retention.


People On YouTube That Only Use 1 Of The Methods Above & Their Results


Jaleesa Moses:

Alicia James:

Yolanda Renee:

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Using the Co-Wash Method only or the 2 step process of using Shampoo and Conditioner, is completely your choice. Some people experience product build up quicker when using only cowash method and some people experience tangling and more knots when using shampoo. As long as you keep your hair’s moisture and protein levels balanced, choose whatever method suits you best.

Natural Hair Stylist: First Visit Tips

There comes a point in every natural’s journey where they must visit a salon. Some people choose a salon that offers Dominican Blowouts, some choose all natural salons that cater specifically to naturals, and some will only enter a salon just to get their ends trimmed. Whatever the reason may be, knowing what you want when you walk into the salon is key.
Continue reading Natural Hair Stylist: First Visit Tips

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