Having a good hair day can be a challenge at times, and “after a sweaty workout” sits at the top of that list. A shampoo and blow-dry are an easy solve, but what do you do on days you don’t want to wash? It’s a question our Members ask again and again. Some need to get on with their day quickly after their workout. Others want to spare their hair from frequent shampooing. We’ve heard about people planning their workouts around their hair-washing schedule, doing lower-intensity activities on days they don’t wash, and even those who aren’t exercising as much as they would like because they don’t have a solution to this hairy situation.
For answers, we reached out to some of the savviest sweaty-hair pros we know—our Members and instructors. And as with many things in life, we discovered that preparation is the key to success.
“Styling post-workout hair can be as difficult as the actual workout,” admits Melissa Pecoraro, colorist at Salon SCK in New York and Peloton Member (#melly_tap_backs). “For me, the best strategy is to plan in advance, starting with the shampoo I use. My all-time favorite is Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo. It sounds crazy to use an oil-based shampoo, but oils attract oils, which will help leave your hair squeaky clean.”
When it’s time to work out, the cycling and strength-training fan preps her hair with dry shampoo then opts for a bun secured by a scrunchie, which won’t leave a crimp mark in hair. “When your hair is in a ponytail, the tips tend to get wet while grazing your back, which just adds to the chaos of post-workout hair,” she says. “I recommend twisting your hair into a tight bun or top knot because when you release your hair from the bun, it will be transformed into soft, natural waves that still have a lot of bounce.”
After exercising, Pecoraro, who colors instructor Emma Lovewell’s hair, allows her hair to air dry while getting dressed, then again reaches for dry shampoo to absorb any leftover sweat and add a fresh scent. She’ll quickly finish her style with a blow-dryer or put it up.
“My #1 speedy-yet-stylish hairdo is a slicked-back bun or ponytail,” she says. “No matter your hair texture or length, this is a great go-to hairstyle when you’re in a pinch. Give yourself a deeper side part than usual and use a strong-hold hairspray to make it look polished. If your hair is on the curly or frizzy side, add gel before putting it back to tame the frizz and unruliness.”
Along with a scrunchie, a wide, sweat-wicking headband, like this one by Temple Tape, is an accessory worth adding to your arsenal. “Temple Tape has been a game changer for me,” raves Jessica Baran (#jessbaran), from Torrance, CA. “It absorbs sweat better than anything I’ve tried.”
Baran, a fan of cycling, strength training and yoga, aims to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day and wash her hair just twice a week. “I had to figure out a way to make it work,” she explains. “Before I work out, I dry shampoo, Temple Tape and bun. I still need to blow-dry a bit afterwards, but not nearly as long as I used to.”
Temple Tape co-founder Isaac Zaga echoes Baran’s sentiments, saying, “Our fabric is designed not only to hold moisture but to actively draw-in sweat. By drawing-in sweat, we can ensure the moisture is not sitting atop your scalp waiting to be absorbed by your hair.”
Accessories can be a lifesaver (or should we say, hairsaver) after a workout, too. “The trick to getting away with post-ride hair is all in the accessories,” states Tunde Oyeneyin, Peloton Cycling instructor. “I tend to wear my hair up with a bandana or headband to give a sleek, finished look after class.”
Oyeneyin keeps hats and headbands in her locker and gym bag for “emergencies,” ties colored scarves around her head “because she loves rocking the Afro-chic look” and swears by bonnets, too. “For curly or coarse hair, a silk bonnet is a must!” she insists. “I usually wrap my hair in a bonnet between classes to keep my hairline looking smooth and sleek.”
Instructor Rebecca Kennedy is equally enthusiastic about headwear, a stylish yet practical solution. “Hats are our secret-keeper!” she confesses. “I love a beanie. I’ll take my hair out of a ponytail, brush it, spray some dry shampoo and fluff it with my fingers, then lightly pull a beanie over.”
Because our instructors are unofficial authorities on how to rock sweaty locks in style, we asked Oyeneyin and Kennedy for their advice to Members who have only 10 minutes after taking a Peloton class—and don’t want to look like they just took a Peloton class.
Says Oyeneyin, “Braid it and pin it! Messy hair is in, so just ride the train. You can use bobby pins to make it cute and add some funky style. If you are not a great braider, don't worry about it. The messier the better!”
Kennedy, who relies on Aveda pomade for men to tame her flyaways, says, “Find ‘your’ updo, a pulled-back hairstyle that complements you and is easy! For me, it's my bulb braid. Or, I’ll just let my hair dry naturally curly after a super-quick rinse/condition only. It takes me about two minutes to do my hair curly. Otherwise, when in doubt, dry shampoo it out!”