Love running but don’t want it to ruin your hair?
When you’re running you don’t want to be constantly pushing your hair out of your face or worried that weather exposure and sweat will turn it to a frizzy mess. The experts at All Things Hair have put together hair care advice and styling tips for runners.
How running can damage your hair and what signs to look out for
When you’re outside running, you’re exposed to the elements, and your hair often bears the brunt of intense weather conditions – whether that’s cold, dry air making it brittle, or hot sun having a drying, bleaching effect. What’s more, despite being a natural process, sweat can also damage the hair because it has a high salt content. If you leave sweat in your hair to dry, it can potentially clog your follicles and irritate your scalp. It can also impact dyed hair color.
As well as this, runners will often tie their hair back tightly to keep it out of their face, which can put tension on the hair follicles and lead to thinning. And if the hair is worn in a low ponytail that trails down the back, it ends up soaking up the sweat from the shoulders and back, leaving it tangled and matted after the run. All these factors can all lead to hair becoming stressed and weak, meaning it’s more prone to breakage.
Healthy hair has an intact cuticle layer which gives it a smooth and shiny appearance. You can tell if your hair is becoming damaged if it looks dull, limp, frizzy or has lots of split ends. If it’s knotted and hard to comb through, this could also be a sign of hair damage. It means you’ve probably lost part of your hair cuticle layer.
Top tips to protect hair when running and prevent breakage
- Choose what you tie your hair back with carefully – fabric hair ties, headbands or ribbons work better than elastic.
- Wear a hat to prevent your hair from the effect of intense weather conditions like strong UV rays or high winds. Using leave-in conditioning spray on your hair before you go for a run can also help to protect it.
- There are a few things you can do to minimize sweat, you don’t necessarily have to wash it after every run – absorb as much sweat as you can with a cotton headband, pull your hair back and away from your face to stay cooler, use dry shampoo to remove excess wetness from the scalp and drink lots of water before during and after your run.
- If your hair is matted, use a professional detangle brush to work through the knots, don’t yank at it and break it.
- Regularly use conditioning and keratin treatments to keep your hair strong, healthy and hydrated.
- Wear a different hairstyle every time you run so you’re not stressing the same spot every time.
The best styles to keep your hair out of your face
- A high bun – will keep your hair off your face and prevent any strands from flying around and getting tangled up.
- A braid – this will put less stress on the hair than a high ponytail and keep it neat and untangled.
- A top knot – this will distribute the tug on your hair evenly so that it isn’t too tight.
- Pinned back – bobby pins work well for shorter hairstyles that can’t be tied back. A good tip is to spray bobby pins with hairspray before pinning your hair back, so they don’t slide out.
- Pigtails – these also work well for shorter hair styles, use fabric bands and secure them near your ears, as well as being functional, they’ll look cute!
For more expert hair care hacks and inspiration visit All Things Hair.