Most Black Women Don’t Preserve Their Hair When Working Out, Says Study

March 12, 2016  |  


A Black woman’s struggle with keeping her mane maintained and edges laid while putting in serious work at the gym has been on going since what seems like forever. Some ladies have even felt forced to choose between working out and having great hair, which shouldn’t be the case, but it definitely happens. Whether you opt for a quick updo or a fashionable, gym-appropriate scarf to protect your situation, sometimes preserving your ‘do just doesn’t always happen like you’d like. And a new study proves this notion right.

According to JAMA Dermatology, when majority of Black women work out, we don’t actually protect our hair. The study pulled this conclusion after administering a 70-item questionnaire to a group of women at the completion of a 12-week community physical activity program featuring biweekly seminars and group exercise sessions. In addition, the questionnaire included 61 questions regarding demographic information, hair-and scalp-related symptoms, hairstyles worn, and hair care in relation to physical activity.

Approximately one-third of the women that participated in the study said they modified their hair to accommodate their workout with natural hairstyles or protective styles like braids. 38% protected their tresses during exercise by wearing a ponytail or bun, while 31% opted for a scarf or hair wrap. In addition, after completing their work out, 46% of women chose these same hairstyles to easily style their hair or didn’t style their hair at all.

In that same group, 18% of women copped to the fact that they willingly exercised less than they would like because they would sweat out their hairstyle, and 13% said the time they needed to restyle their hair was an inconvenience. Nevertheless, nearly half of the women stated that they didn’t do anything in particular to protect or preserve their hair during exercise. Interesting. 

What are your thoughts about this study? Is protecting and preserving your tresses a major deal when working out?

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  • Dee Dee Moor

    My hair is natural so after a workout I shower, condition and go!

  • Fi

    I don’t understand this article. Why didn’t they explain what they mean by “protecting” your hair.? With what? How? Is this necessary?

  • rainbow

    Black women are just too water phobic when it comes to hair. If you’re doing the right thing to your hair, it should not fall out if you wash it often.

    • Meka

      I didn’t say often I said everyday. Remember there is a difference.

      • rainbow

        Even if you do it everyday, it should not break if you’re doing the right thing and avoiding the wrong things like heat styling.

  • rainbow

    I’m so tired of hearing about black women’s hair and working out. It’s not a big deal.

  • Meka

    Personally, I wrap my hair with a satin scarf if I’m not wearing braids. A lot of stylists suggest you wrap your hair while working out. Either let your hair dry completely before unwrapping it or blow dry it while it is in the wrap. This helped me out a lot when I work out and my hair is flat ironed. Also, we are not suppose to wash our hair everyday because we’re stripping the natural oils so NO I wouldn’t wash my hair after every single work out (6 days a week).

  • BNYC

    Well my hair is natural, so, it’s not an issue for me.

  • Secret87

    Where are finding these women at? Off the set of Maury? It’s just hair.

  • GymJunkie43

    I have never been that concerned with hair and I sweat it out all the time. The way I see it, I can fix the hair with 2 hours and $80. But I cannot fix a potbelly in that time.

    • JP

      Exactly! My hair will never stop me from working out regularly. I’d rather have a little frizz over fat.

  • Lisa

    Protects it from what, may I ask? Fresh air?

    • esh

      the dirty gym equipment mainly for me.

  • sash

    there’s no need to do any special type of protection SMH. I just put my hair up in a ponytail. I have arm pit length relaxed hair too. It’s just like, if you wrap your hair at night and do a touch-up every 6-8 weeks you’ll be fine.

  • Masterpieced


    • Catherine

      AGREE 1000% PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!! (in my James Brown voice) STOP TALKING ABOUT HAIR!!!

      • with sprinkles


  • Lisa

    I don’t understand the need to “protect” hair while working out, aside from maybe wearing a hat in strong sunlight/UV rays or a swim cap to keep out chlorine/salt. I would think that washing the sweat/salt/dirt out afterwards would be more important. By the way, who would actually wear a headscarf in the gym? Wouldn’t that create more heat and sweat? yuck.

    • Masterpieced

      Exactly. I see women in scarves over weaves on the treadmill for hours and sweat is dripping down their faces. so… WTF is going on under those tied down weaves? Yuck!

      • Lisa


      • heyheyno

        so is your problem with the weave, the scarf, or the workout?

      • Electric Relaxation

        I wonder the same thing. And unless they’re bald or have some medical condition I don’t understand women who wear wigs to the gym.

      • Free_Is_Me

        hahaha, working out/dancing is actually one the main reason I decided to be natural as a teen. Too much work trying to keep a relaxed mushroom style or bob while dancing everyday.

    • esh

      i do because my natural hair will definitely “puff out” as i have 4cccc hair lol. yes you sweat but i dont think i sweat any more than i would anyway. plus i dont want my already damp/wet hair on the overused equipment anyway.

    • Maranica

      There’s no way I could wash my hair every other day, which is how often I work out. Washing it that much would be horrible for my hair. I don’t use a scarf- keep it in braids or twists

    • A. V. Green

      i’ve actually seen lots of people wear one. i just figured they were doing more damage, since the sweat is building up. interesting topic.