In my novel Life in Spades, Gina expresses annoyance at not only training for a marathon with her boyfriend but now she also has to rearrange her salon appointments to make up for all the sweating and unstyling her hair is going through. The boyfriend is white, he doesn’t understand her hair struggles, she whines. How many of us go through this same balance – physical fitness training and keeping a good looking hair style?
According to a 2012 study at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, hair styling and maintenance is a predominant reason for African-American women exercising less than prescribed. There’s of course, implications for general health and weight maintenance issues when we neglect some sort of exercise regimen for the sake of our locks. But it makes sense – who wants to spend hours at the hair salon, spend a good piece of your paycheck, and then go sweat it all out? Is it worth a few pounds?
My hair is naturally curly, and admittedly, relatively “easy” as hair goes, but I still think about the hair styling issue when I’ve taken the time to flat-iron it or need to plan doing my hair into my schedule for the day. Running or weight-training isn’t too bad – a ponytail, a headband, a bandana can keep the strands pretty orderly. But a swim or even a stop in the sauna and I’ve got to start all over. I’ve found, however, that a rinse with water and a dollop of conditioner will hold a pulled back bun just fine until I settle down and wash my hair properly.
Thus, Gina faces the same question. Her boyfriend is sure that running this marathon will convince Gina’s mother about their commitment to each other. But Gina’s hair appointment schedule is suggesting maybe there’s a better way. Granted, the workout outfit is cute, but still – the hair!
This all brings me to the Philly Natural Hair Show this weekend. I’ll be in the Literary Nook with Gina, Cookie, Sherry, and Laura enjoying Life in Spades – and hopefully picking up a few hair tips for us all!
Share in the Comments: How do you manage your hair and your workout?