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Why Does My Hair Frizz When I Exercise?

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
Why Does My Hair Frizz When I Exercise?
Shower after your workout if possible. Photo Credit Paul Burns/Blend Images/Getty Images

While the gym is no place to worry about your looks, you may notice that after a strenuous workout, your hair becomes frizzy and unmanageable. Frizzy hair develops because of your workout environment, pre-workout hairstyle and sweat output. Post-workout hair may also limit when you can exercise; you may opt to work out at night to avoid having to do your hair before taking on the day. By understanding why your hair frizzes, you'll be better equipped to prevent and smooth out your frizzed locks.


A few factors contribute to frizzy post-workout hair. The first is the amount of sweat output you experience. As you exercise, your body releases sweat to cool your body down. That sweat often seeps down into the hair, causing moisture to roughen the cuticle, which results in frizzy hair. Quick movements and changing positions can also ruffle your hair. Finally, the type of environment in which you exercise is also a factor. Working out in hot, humid or damp conditions can lead to excess frizz.

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Workout Hairstyles

Taming your hair after a workout starts with the right hairstyle. Enter any fitness center and you'll see a myriad of women wearing the prerequisite ponytail, which allows hair to stay out of the face and off of the neck. Unfortunately, a ponytail holder can often leave a crease in the hair. Try tying your hair with mini bungees, or using a soft headband to keep hair off of your forehead. The less your hair interacts with your skin, the less frizzy it will become after a workout. French braids or a bun can also help keep your hair tamed during a workout.

Taming the Frizz

If you've caught your reflection in a gym mirror and see uncontrollable hair, tackle the problem by keeping a mini bungee or soft headband handy so you can tie up your hair halfway through your workout, if necessary. If possible, avoid hot and humid areas when exercising. If it's too warm outside, try running on a treadmill indoors. Prepare for the risk of frizz by running a lightweight serum through your hair before your workout, which can weight down hair and saturate the strands so they are less likely to absorb sweat.


Tame your frizzy hair after a workout by taking a shower and using a cleansing shampoo and conditioning treatment. The sweat in your hair can make your hair unmanageable and cleansing the hair completely is the best way to get rid of frizz. If you don't have time to shower, pack both dry shampoo and serum in your gym bag. Sprinkle dry shampoo near your roots and comb through your hair to absorb sweat and oil. Then, use the serum to define your texture and restore shine to disguise the fact that you were just sweating it out at the gym.

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