How Tying Your Hair During Workouts Affects Your Hair Health

woman working out
  • Tying your hair too tight during a workout can cause breakage, split ends, and even baldness over time. 
  • Long-term effects of too-tight hairstyles include traction alopecia, which is permanent bald spots on the scalp or thinning around the edges of the forehead.
  • To protect your hair while working out, use a soft, non-elastic material like a scrunchie or silk scarf to tie up your hair.
  • Naturally store your hair health by applying natural oils, using heatless straightening techniques, and giving it a deep conditioning treatment. 

Working out is great for your body and overall health but can have unintended consequences on your hair. If you’re someone who ties their hair back for workouts, you may be unknowingly causing damage to your locks. Don’t worry—there are ways to keep your hair healthy and strong while still looking cute at the gym! Here’s a dive into the effects of tying your hair during workouts and what you can do to keep it healthy and reverse the damage.

The Effects of Tying Your Hair During Workouts

Tying your hair tightly during a workout can cause breakage, split ends, and even baldness. This is due to the constant tension caused by tight elastic bands or ponytail holders that can pull on the scalp or break off hairs at the roots. Additionally, tight hairstyles stress the strands themselves, leading to weaker hair and more breakage.

Additionally, if you’re sweating heavily during a workout, tying up your hair can trap sweat against your scalp, leading to dandruff and an itchy scalp. It also prevents air from reaching the scalp, further aggravating skin issues like eczema or psoriasis. Here are other effects of tying hair during workouts:

Traction Alopecia

Every time you tie your hair into a tight ponytail or bun, tension is applied to the scalp, and these areas of tension are known as traction alopecia. Over time, this excessive strain on the hair follicles can cause damage that leads to permanent bald spots on the scalp or thinning around the edges of the forehead.

Traction alopecia isn’t just caused by constantly tying your hair during workouts—it can also happen if you wear tight hairstyles like braids or cornrows too often. Additionally, using chemical treatments and heat styling tools too frequently on your hair can contribute to traction alopecia over time.

Wavy, Frizzy Hair

Tying your hair while still wet or damp can also cause it to become wavy, frizzy, and unmanageable. This is because the tension caused by the elastic bands will stretch out the hair follicles and cause the cuticle to lift, resulting in an unruly texture. Over time, your straight hair may become permanently wavy due to continually tying it back for workouts, making it hard to style and manage.

frizzy hair

Protecting Your Hair

Fortunately, there are ways to protect your hair and still look cute at the gym. Here are some tips for keeping your hair healthy during workouts:

Using Non-Elastic Hair Tie

Always tie your hair back with a soft, non-elastic material like a scrunchie or silk scarf. This will prevent tension from pulling on the scalp and ensure you don’t cause any breakage or split ends.

Looser Styles

Avoid wearing your hair in tight styles like high ponytails and buns during workouts. Opt for looser, more relaxed hairstyles with less tension on the scalp and strands. If you’re doing hard cardio, try wearing a low ponytail instead of an updo.

Styling Before Your Workout

Always ensure your hair is completely dry and styled before you begin any physical activity. This will help prevent excessive heat or sweat from making your hair frizzy or unmanageable. Plus, it’ll give you one less thing to worry about during your workout!

Reversing the Damage

If constantly tying your hair has caused frizz and waves to your hair, there are still ways to restore its natural texture. Here are ways on how to straighten your hair naturally:

Using Natural Oils

Applying natural oils such as coconut, jojoba, and avocado oil can help strengthen your hair, making it more resistant to damage and breakage. Additionally, these oils will help nourish the scalp and protect against dryness, making your hair look healthier and shinier.

woman showering

Heatless Straightening

Try stretching your hair with heatless techniques such as pinning and wrapping it around your head. This will help smooth out frizz or waves while giving your hair a soft, natural-looking straightness.

Deep Conditioning

If you’re looking for an extra boost of hydration and nourishment, give your hair a deep conditioning treatment. Use products with nourishing ingredients like shea butter, avocado oil, and almond extract to help lock in moisture and strengthen the strands. This will help restore moisture to the scalp and strands, leaving a softer, smoother appearance.

Don’t let a good workout come at the expense of your hair health. By following these tips, you can keep your locks looking and feeling healthy for years!

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