Is the gym ruining your hair?

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  • Your workout, plus strain caused by the most popular gym hairstyles, could be damaging your strands. Here's how to swish your way through your next spin class...

    Believe it or not, ‘gym hairstyles’ is a much Googled thing now that the need to share glamorous gym selfies on the Gram are an increasingly common phenomenon.

    But let’s face it, wet-look gym hair is only cool if you’ve styled it with a heap of gel and shine spray. Drenched in sweat, it could actually be damaging your strands.

    ‘Sweat contains salts that can dry out hair,’ says Michael Lendon, creative director at Aveda. ‘Salt is osmotic, meaning it will leach moisture out of strands. These same salts can contribute to the break down of pigments in your hair colour, too, resulting in premature dulling.’

    Added to this, the water in sweat can cause strands to stretch and easily snap.

    Handy then that we’ve got the solution for how to sweat-proof those gym hairstyles…

    Before Your Workout

    Start by raking a leave-in conditioner through your hair. This will create a barrier between the sweat and your strands.

    Olaplex No 6 Bond Smoother, £26, Cult Beauty

    gym hairstyles Olaplex No 6 Bond Smoother, £26, Cult Beauty

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    During Your Workout

    Pull your hair away from your neck and forehead to avoid contact with sweaty skin.

    ‘But remember, hair elastics can tear strands especially when you’re working out,’ says Lendon. ‘Excessive and repeated use of tight ponytails can also cause too much strain on the hairline and may result in something called traction alopecia, or hair thinning.’

    Fabric hair ties or an Invisibobble are safe options for gym hairstyles as they won’t get caught in strands.

    Slip Twist leopard-print silk headband, £69, Net-A-Porter

    gym hairstyles Slip Twist leopard-print silk headband, £69, Net-A-Porter

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    Silke London Emerald Silk Hair Ties (6 pack), £39, Net-A-Porter

    gym hairstyles Silke London Emerald Silk Hair Ties (6 pack), £39, Net-A-Porter

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    Invisibobble Original Hair Tie (3 pack) in Pretzel Brown, £4.99, Lookfantastic

    gym hairstyles Invisibobble Original Hair Tie (3 pack) in Pretzel Brown, £4.99, Lookfantastic

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    ‘While buns, top knots and high ponytails are all practical gym hairstyles, make sure you vary where you tie your hair up for each workout to avoid putting too much strain on the same spot,’ explains Lendon. ‘Switch things up, too – plaits are a great option and kinder to hair.’

    After Your Workout

    The most effective way to protect hair from sweat is to re-think your post-workout hair regime.

    Dry shampoo is a great way to avoid an oil-slick, but the key is to apply it before you start sweating—not after.

    ‘If your hair is drenched with sweat, the starch in dry shampoo will cake on the scalp and strands as it airdries,’ says Lendon. ‘This can contribute to the growth of unwanted bacteria, resulting in an itchy and flaky scalp.’

    Plus, the alcohol content of many dry shampoos mixed with sweat will seriously dry out strands. ‘Alcohol is used to ‘carry’ the product out of the can and onto your hair. The trouble is, alcohol evaporates very quickly and as a result can also whip moisture from your hair, leaving it rough, brittle and lacklustre,’ adds Lendon.

    Instead, find an alcohol-free dry shampoo and spray it throughout your roots before you workout to mop up excess sweat before it can do any damage.

    Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo, £24, John Lewis

    gym hairstyles Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo, £24, John Lewis

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    Poppy Delevigne’ s hairstylist Larry King also recommends leaving a custard-thick hair mask on for at least five minutes when showering off.

    ‘Most contain around 25 per cent more moisturising ingredients than daily conditioners,’ says King.  ‘Only coat the weakened ends to avoid weighing strands down.’

    Another good option is a hair sheet mask as it is occlusive, meaning all those good-for hair ingredients seep directly into strands with a little help from your body heat.

    Redken All Soft Mega Mask, £7.70, Lookfantastic

    gym hairstyles Redken All Soft Mega Mask, £7.70, Lookfantastic

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    Don’t have time for a full-on deep conditioning treatment? ‘Simply mix a small amount of conditioner with water, pop it into a spray bottle, spritz it into your hair after your workout and then rinse out,’ says Lendon.

    So now there’s no excuse for hitting the gym, not even a ‘bad hair day’.

     

     

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