Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Workout Hair...Don't Care?

If you have easily knotted, damaged hair, I feel you.

Even though it's usually in a ponytail, braid or bun to keep it out of the way, I really love having long hair. I didn't always have long hair though.

When I was a kid I was SO bad at combing out the knots and tangles that would accumulate in the hair at the back of my neck; they were these big, huge bird's nests' of knots made even worse by the constant bike riding and playing outdoors I was doing. Running a comb or a brush through it made my eyes water and my mouth grimace and I would have just rather ignored the problem than tackle it head on (pun intended ha!). When I was around 7 or 8 my mom would get so mad at me for having knotty hair she would threaten to cut it all off if I didn't keep it combed, and one day despite my protests, she did.

This was taken a year or two AFTER my hair was cut to my ears

My entire childhood after that I had short hair, complete with Alfalfa type cowlick. I was SO cool. I hated it but didn't know what else to do. Then when high school and hair straighteners and blow dryers came along, so did the relentless heat damage. I straightened and (temp) dyed and blow-dried to my heart's content, determined to have beautiful hair, and for awhile it did look good. Eventually the heat was too much for it and it just wouldn't grow much below my shoulders, just break off.

The longest my hair would ever go. It was straightened and washed EVERYDAY
Dallas, TX for the Cottonbowl

I thought it would grow if I dyed it brown and got rid of the highlights, but the heat tools were still used everyday.
Madrid, Spain @ the stadium watching Real Madrid take on Equador
During the Summer it would grow a little, only to break off again in the winter
Gruene, TX shopping
My hair was beyond dry and damaged. I had no idea how to take care of it. 
Houston, TX at the movies

Finally, in my last year or two of graduate school, I became determined to get longer hair. I swore off any heat tools, which was SO hard for about a year or two. When you're in the habit of having shiny straight hair and it stops looking what "good" should look like, it's tough. My hair would dry looking very frizzy thanks to the years of abuse it had gone through, but eventually it began to dry nicely, and look shiny on it's own for the first time since I was a kid. I continued with the highlights, but other than that and using masks, leave in conditioners and hair oils, I left my hair to dry on its own. I learned how to do up dos and braids to make it look cute without heat styling, and 8 years later my hair is much longer and SO much healthier.

SO much healthier now! 

Running over 5 or 6 miles still leaves my head in a rat's nest of trouble, but I've recently been playing around with how I fix it pre run, and have found some tricks that actually work.

Here is what I have been doing, and some of my favorite things to use in it:

1. Ponytail holders

When I braid my hair before a run or BMX practice, it can still get knotted up. To help prevent this, I make a low ponytail by the bas of my neck, then braid the ponytail and finish it off with another ponytail holder. It tends to keep things from rubbing and I haven't had any more huge knots. I love the ponytail holders without the metal part. Those can sometimes pull and hurt!

2. Leave in conditioner

Before or after I braid my hair I like to spray some leave in condition all over my head. It helps make the tangles manageable to brush out, and also helps protect form the sun's heat. My favorite brand hands down is the It's A 10 leave in. It's slightly pricy, but I haven't found anything as moisturizing as this.

3. Braiding

When I make a pre-run French braid, I put a ponytail holder around it right after I have all the hair braided in, usually right at the base of my neck. From there I continue with a regular braid. I feel like breaking long hair up with the ponytail holders helps with the knots.

4. Hats

Sometimes wearing a hat can help. Granted, when it's taken off you will have sweaty hat hair, but the brim around your head helps your hair not to bounce around so much and rub against itself. Therefore, less tangles, not to mention it's good to use a hat when you're in the sun. Sunglasses as well, but those don't prevent knots. If a company invents a pair that does though, I'm alllll over that. 😎

5. Post run

Post run or ride I like to take my gross sweaty braid down in sections, and lightly brush it out. When I'm in the shower rinsing out the conditioner, I like to comb through it with a tangle teaser, and again when I'm out of the shower and my hair is towel dried and has some leave in conditioner and/or hair oil in it. Tangle Teasers are amazing; they don't pull or hurt, they get those knots out and they also won't break your hair like other brushes. Then air dry!

If you have tough to manage hair post workout, what do you do for it? 

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