Bikini season is upon us, which means my love handles are trumping my usual excuses to ditch the gym. Whether I'm tired, feeling lazy, or crazed at work, the mere thought of my cute new suit inspires me to show up for spin class these days.
But I'm embarrassed to admit there is one exception: I bail on my exercise plans if my hair looks amazing.
Call me the girliest of girls, but nothing ruins a great blowout faster than a sweat session. Which leaves me with a choice: toned abs or sleek hair?
It turns out I can actually have both. Celebrity stylist Angelo David says there is a way to salvage your blowout after a hard workout. Here are his 6 clever tricks to gym-proof your blowout:
Tip No. 1: USE DRY SHAMPOO
Dry shampoo has become wildly popular in the last few years and for good reason: When you don't want to wash your hair but probably should, a few spritzes can make it look fresh and grease-free. David recommends using Redken Powder Refresh 01, $14, to absorb sweat and oil. When you're going to the gym, spray some on before you work out (as well as after), and it will help prevent the moisture from transferring from your scalp to the rest of your hair.
Tip No. 2: PUT YOUR HAIR UP (THE RIGHT WAY)
Kattia Solano, owner of Butterfly Studio Salon in New York City, developed the perfect workout topknot: You flip your head upside down and divide your hair into two sections, parted down the middle. Twist the sections around each other, and roll them into a bun on top of your head. Secure it with bobby pins. The style should be loose with a lot of volume around your face -- this lets the sweat evaporate through the hair, rather than getting trapped in your style.
Whatever you do, don't put it up in a ponytail. "You'll inevitably end up with a line of demarcation in your hair," says David. And the sweat will make your hair even more likely to hold onto the ridge.
Tip No. 3: WEAR A HEADBAND
According to Stephen Ratliff, stylist for the hair care line Bangstyle, wearing a sweat-absorbent headband while you work out can go a long way towards saving your blowout. It's inevitable that your face, neck, and scalp will all sweat -- the trick is to keep that moisture away from your hair as much as possible. The headband will absorb the sweat from your forehead and the back of your neck (the two spots that generally sweat the most) before your hair gets soaked.
Fortunately, not all sweatbands look like terry cloth relics from the '80s. We like the Pilayo Braid Headband, $12, which is made of a moisture-wicking spandex.
Tip No. 4: MINIMIZE YOUR PRODUCTS
Hair product overload can seriously cut down the staying power of your blowout, and the problem gets even worse if you exercise. Ratliff suggests asking your stylist to use very little (if any) product when she's blowing out your hair; a light volumizing mousse (for fine hair) or a drop of smoothing lotion (for thick hair) is plenty. You should also avoid anything that contains silicone, says David. It can weigh down your hair and attract dirt, oil, and sweat, making it look dirtier faster. Plus, when you're airing out your hair after a workout, product build-up will keep it flat instead of letting it get bouncy again.
Tip No. 5: HANDS OFF!
We're all guilty of twisting, twirling, and patting down our hair -- you might not even realize you're doing it. While it seems like this will help keep your blowout smooth, too much touching will shorten its life. "The more you touch your hair, the greasier it's going to get," says Ratliff. Not only are you spreading the oils from your scalp through the rest of your hair, you're also transferring dirt and moisture from your hands. This is especially true when it comes to sweat -- you can dab it with your hands or a towel, but you definitely don't want to pull it through your hair.
Tip No. 6: BLOW DRY YOUR SCALP
After your workout, absorb as much sweat as possible with a towel. If you followed all the precautionary steps, Ratliff says you should be able to quickly revive your blowout with a dryer -- even a mini one in the gym locker room. Flip your head and use the cool setting to dry your scalp (hot air will just make you sweat more, which would obviously be counterproductive). Then add more dry shampoo if necessary.
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