It’s no secret that exercise is a key ingredient in any beauty routine. The fat-burning, toxin-flushing, blood-circulating routines we follow help keep our bodies toned, our skin tight, and our hair growing. But increased exercise also calls for different details in your hair and skin care regimen. Here are just a few tips to help you get started on your exercise resolutions and routines without sacrificing your already-fabulous look.
- Start cleansing your hair and scalp more often, up to three times per week. Your scalp sweats when you exercise, and this salty residue must be washed off regularly, to prevent odor and buildup and to remove hair-shaft-weakening acids. (Think of soaking your hair in salt solution and then letting it dry on your scalp – you’d never dream of doing that, but that’s exactly what leaving hair sweaty is like!)
- Use gentler products to wash and condition your hair. Shampooing more often means that harsh or full-strength products will only strip your locks dry and brittle. Use a mild shampoo designated for daily use, or dilute your usual cleanser with water and/or conditioner. Also make sure to condition well after every wash, deep conditioning once a week.
- Wear a thin scarf beneath biking or skateboarding helmets to keep the foam insulation from snagging at and drying out your hair. Also make sure your helmet fits, but not too tightly, as too-snug helmets will crush, pull out, and damage hair.
- Similarly, avoid too-tight fabrics in your workout clothes. Not only does tight clothing impede circulation, but it can cause rashes, chafing, and bumps at the seams and hemlines.
- Opt to work out in clothing made of natural, breathable fabrics. Make cotton the fabric of your life and shy away from 100% polyester or Lycra getups. Clingy, shiny workout gear may attract the male eye, but it also helps dehydrate the body, wrinkling and brining the skin. Let it breathe!
- Keep hair away from your face and neck to avoid the aforementioned salt bath. Sweep your tresses into a ponytail, chignon, wrap, or bun, or clip short hair away from the face. It will not only keep you more comfortable, but keep your hair strong.
- Avoid severe ponytails, though, as these will pull hair out at the root. Keep things loose!
- Always remove makeup BEFORE working out. Not only is it dangerous to wear makeup while you exercise – as you sweat, the products could run into your eyes, blinding and disorienting you – but it’s very unhealthy. Exercise opens the pores, allowing products like blush, foundation, and powder to seep in, possibly causing acne, irritation, or illness. Combine that with sweat, and you’ve got a break-out-causing cocktail right there on your face!
- Wear a swimming cap to prevent chemicals or salt water from getting into your hair in the first place. Swimming shoes or Aqua Socks will also help keep your feet from getting roughed up on pool bottoms and concrete.
- Go for a dip right before it’s time for a manicure or pedicure. Pool water is hell on nail polish. Why ruin a fresh new set in harsh water? Instead, let the pool do its worst when you’re just about to get professional help for your nails anyway!
- If you find that chlorine or sea water has discolored your hair, use this recipe to bring back the natural hue of your beautiful locks: crush four aspirin and mix with 1-2 ounces of water, then pour over hair and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Shower and wash your hair immediately after swimming, to remove drying chlorine or ocean water from your hair and skin. Nothing causes dryness, breakage, and discoloring faster than pool water or salt.
- Always follow up your post-swim shower with a thick, moisturizing lotion. This will keep your skin from drying out from too much water and help it regain smoothness and elasticity.
- Always wear sunscreen for outdoor activities. Get a waterproof formula with an SPF of 15 or higher.
- Keep feet pretty by buying athletic shoes that fit properly. Try them on and make sure they are not too tight or too big by squeezing the tip of the shoe with your thumb. You should be able to fit your thumb between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
- Hydrate your body, inside and out. Sip water throughout your workout, but also keep a spray bottle handy to spritz your skin with moisture, remove impurities, dilute sweat, and cool yourself down.
- Use towels at the gym. Place them between you and any surface you sit, lie, or lean on, since countless people have sweated on that equipment, and who knows what germs they’ve left behind.
Follow these hair, skin, and nail care tips, and you’ll be bikini-ready in no time – and in more ways than one!
Take care of yourselves,