You know that "drenched after a hard workout" isn't the most flattering hairstyle. (Although it can be, if you try out one of these three Cute and Easy Hairstyles for the Gym.) But as it turns out, perspiration can actually damage your strands.
"Sweat is a combination of water and salts, plus some protein. When hair gets wet, it's easily stretched and damaged. And the salts in it can cause hair to lose color faster," explains Eric Spengler, the senior vice president of research and development at Living Proof. "Sweat can dry out your scalp and prevent new hair growth," adds Christie Cash, a cosmetologist and the co-founder of weight-loss supplement company BikiniBOD. You'll know your workouts are affecting your mop if you notice breakage, fast color loss, or changes to the texture of your hair.
Before Your Workout
To protect your hair, start with a leave-in conditioner. This will create a barrier between the sweat and your strands. Or, Cash says, you could sleep in a deep conditioner, then just rinse with cold water in the morning.
During Your Workout
When you're ready to workout, avoid pulling your ponytail too tight, which can accelerate breakage. (Psst... Check out the Worst Hairstyles for Hair Health.) Also smart: wearing a clean cotton headband to pull sweat away from your hair, Cash advises. (Or try one of these 10 Workout Hair Accessories that Actually Work instead.)
After Your Workout
But the most effective way to protect your hair from sweat is to finetune your post-workout routine, Cash says. Ideally, you'd be able to get into the shower, or even just rinse your roots with cold water immediately after each workout. When that's not an option, though, try Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo ($22, livingproof.com). It's made with fast-absorbing powders that specifically target sweat as well as oil. So you and your hair can continue to love your gym habit. (And are you doing these 3 Things You Need to Do Immediately After a Workout?)