I would say that one of the primary reasons black women don’t run is because we don’t want to sweat out our hair. Ashley recently told me about one of her male friends who applauded Black Girls Run! for reassuring black women that it is okay to get their hair sweaty for the sake of working out and running. I’m not sure at what point black women became convinced that our hair must be perfect at all times, but while in the process of dispelling myths, we might as well dispel this one too.
A few years ago, I began experimenting with what I now know as co-washing. Co-washing is a technique used by women that gives them the ability to wash their hair without shampooing it. There’s several products on the market and different techniques to do this. I’ve had the most success with Matrix Curl Life and Redken Fresh Curls. When using the co-washing technique, it’s important not to wash your hair more than twice a week.
To co-wash use the following steps:
1. Shampoo your hair as you normally would
2. Apply conditioner to your hair. I recommend using Queen Helene mixed with 100% protein. You can find both at your local beauty supply or Sally’s. Apply the mixture to damp hair and cover with a plastic cap. Sit with the conditioner on your hair for approximately 15 minutes. If possible, sit under a dryer.
3. Rinse hair thoroughly.
4. Comb out hair using a paddle brush.
5. Once you have combed through your hair, apply either Matrix Curl Life or Redken Fresh Curls according to the instructions on the packaging.
6. Either blow dry your hair with a diffuser or let it air try. Try not to apply too much heat because it will make your hair frizzy.
7. Instead of shampooing your hair after each run, simply rinse and condition and style hair using the technique above.
There’s a couple of things to keep in mind about co-washing. You won’t nail it the first time you try it. Each person has a different grade and/or texture of hair. What might work for me, might not work for you. It truly is trial and error, but don’t give up. Also, it’s best not to use oil when styling your hair with the Redken or Matrix products. The oil will make your curls limp. Also, be sure to sleep with a satin scarf on your hair which will help prevent breakage.