How to Prevent Hair From Sweating While Working Out

Hair tied up in messy bun for a workout


Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to exercise AND keep hair looking fresh, so how can you prevent hair from sweating while working out?

It’s your scalp and forehead that sweat during exercise.

And it’s annoying, sure, but sweating is how the body regulates its temperature and without it, we’d literally overheat and die. When our bodies heat up, the brain’s hypothalamus sends a signal to the pores in our skin to start producing moisture: sweat. Sweat is made up of water, salt, ammonia and sugar, and it's the process of this moisture evaporating into the air that keeps the body at a safe temperature.

Dirty hair seems a small price to pay in the face of all this lifesaving body chemistry, right? 

To Wash Hair or Not to Wash Hair?

The problem for many people is that we’re all living increasingly busy lives.  Some people fit the gym in on a lunch break or between meetings. Some might go for a jog before the school run.  Maybe the yoga mat can only be rolled out when a small child is sleeping. Some people have hair that’s difficult to manage and it might take a long time to wash, dry and style. It’s not always possible, practical or ideal for people to shampoo and condition their hair after each workout especially if they’re exercising multiple times a week.

Of course, some people will say that not washing your hair after a workout is disgusting.

It might come as a shock then to hear that most of us shouldn’t even be washing our hair every other day.  Shampooing strips hair of its natural oils and if done too regularly can leave hair damaged and dry.

How regularly you need to shampoo your hair will probably depend on your hair type. If you have normal hair (most people do) then the general recommendation is to do it once or twice a week.  

But if you exercise every day, then what gives? Do you cut back on shampooing or do you cut back on exercise? Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to keep your hair looking clean even when you’ve hit the gym.


Woman in gym tired leaning on brick wall

Spray dry shampoo on the roots of your hair BEFORE you start exercising. This helps the product absorb moisture as it appears.

Dry shampoo is an absolute lifesaver.

It soaks up the oils in your hair and can buy you time between washes.  If you don’t have any to hand, then talcum powder can work just as well but be careful not to be too over-zealous as it can take some rubbing in.

You could rock a sweatband like its 1985. Okay, hear us out!  There are a few brands who are doing their damnedest to make sweatbands fashionable again. Gone are the neon colours and thick towelling of VHS fitness era. Instead, there’s the Fly Away Tamer Headband II Luxtreme from Lululemon which is sweat-wicking, too, and will remove sweat away from your hair as soon as it appears.  These are also really useful for women with long bangs or fringes as it’ll keep the hair out of your eyes. You could also try the Nike Training Swoosh Headband in white which isn’t wicking but is towelling.

Avoid using hair products containing silicone.  Silicon is a polymer that's found in A LOT of shampoos; it coats the hair and can be difficult to remove.  Giving the illusion of shine and gloss, silicon actually prevents natural oils and moisture from penetrating the hair shaft and repairing it.  Chicago based stylist, Adam Bogucki, told that “silicone-based hair products...can attract dirt and sweat, making hair look dirty, fast.” Your usual shampoo may very well contain silicone; most of the big brands use it so it’s a case of checking the label.  

Gym shampoo on red flower background

On the days you want to exercise but have other plans, it’s worth switching to a lower intensity workout. Perhaps something like yoga or low-impact resistance. Sweating isn’t always an indication of how hard you’re working out, but by slowing down the pace, you can still get your workout in and protect your hair from being too saturated by sweat.  

Wearing a hat is only going to make the problem of sweating worse so leave the baseball cap at home.

Secure your hair with clips, pins or elastics to keep it off your face and to stop you touching it.  Oil on hands is easily transferred onto hair and you’ll only keep touching it if you have flyaways in your face.

If you wear headphones for your workout, then you’ve probably noticed how damp the cushions are once you’re done. This is bad news for your skin as it can cause acne and it’s bad news for your headphones, too, as sweat damage kills headphones.  We’d recommend adding a pair of sweat-proof covers to your headphone cushions as it’ll not only save your headphones from an early death but its sweat-wicking fabric will remove any moisture and prevent it from creeping into your hairline. EarHugz fit almost all headphone brands and makes including Beats and Bose.



How do you keep your hair fresh after the gym? Are you a religious shampooer or are you too busy to keep it clean after every workout?

Let us know in the comments below.

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