The Lazy Runner Girl’s Guide to Hair

For as long as I’ve had hair, I’ve struggled with what to do with it, because it’s always been greasy. I’d wash and “style” each morning, only to throw it up in a ponytail by the end of the day because it got too dirty and flat. I was SO envious of girls who claimed a simple spritz of dry shampoo and blast with the hairdryer gave them the perfect “second day hair”. Then I took up running and it all went downhill. After my morning wash and “style” and the evening’s run, I’d have to wash my hair again – ouch!

But we live in a world where we’re told to exercise daily but only wash our hair every other day. How does that make sense??

It all came to a head back in 2013, when my knee surgery meant that I couldn’t shower for 3-4 days after the procedure – no hair washing either. And I learned something amazing: my tresses were like some captive animal, rebelling against the angry onslaught of blow dryer and shampoo by overproducing oil and grease. Because when it was left alone for 72+ hours, my hair went from greasy, to super greasy, to “Hey, this isn’t so bad”! And when I finally showered on day 4 (PS: best. shower. EVER.), I let it do its thing again for another 2 days, and wouldn’t you know it, it was like my hair’s reset button had been hit. I could let my hair go for a day – or even 2! – before needing to start all over again. My hair had returned to its natural state!

This is all to say that, when it comes to hair issues, I’ve been around the block. Once I really got back into running after my surgery, I had to learn how to treat my hair kindly both before, during, and after a run so that it stayed happy enough to go without washing every 24 hours. I had to experiment with different headbands, clips, and styles to tame my mane on the road, and tried about a dozen dry shampoos before finally finding a brand that works for me. So now I’m here to share all of those little tips and tricks that allow me to say that I am officially a recovered hair-washing addict – because I know I can’t be alone here!

1. Products

This has become my absolute go-to. I use it every other day (and then some), and have probably used 4 cans in the past year.

P0252_packshotSeriously, if they stop making this, I’m just going to shave my head and wear a wig.

It instantly dries up any grease and lifts my hair up just a tiny bit, and it’s impossible to use too much of it. The number one selling point for me though, is that it doesn’t make it stiff or gritty like some other dry shampoos I’ve tried. Plus it smells delicious and it’s only like $4 a can at Target. I buy two every time I see them!

If I’m feeling especially lazy – or my hair has been a little overworked – I skip the drying process, throw a tiny bit of this goop in my hair (skipping the roots), chuck it all in a braid and call it a day. Let it air-dry, finger-brush and floof as desired, and voila: deliberately messy hair don’t care.

How about you: are there any products you can’t live without? Share!

2. Styles

  • Daily/Non-Running Styling

My hair hasn’t ever had a style. If I were to hop on the therapist’s couch, I’d have to say it stems from my very first hair fail at the age of 7, when my mom decided to give in to her crazy daughter and get her a PERM. At age SEVEN.

photo

My heart hurts just looking at it.

The perm finally grew out when I got to middle school (praise Jesus), where I continued to make even more questionable – but less permanent – choices like Manic Panic, Kool-Aid hair dye, and the like. Cut to my high school and college years, where I basically went for a longer version of The Rachel, in either a pony or down, depending on my mood.

A few years ago I learned how to “curl” my hair with a flat iron (which also taught me that, in moderation, hair spray is my friend), and wouldn’t you know it, I had a new “going out” hair style!

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And then along came this magical hair tutorial:

No-heat styling? What is this madness? I suddenly don’t even need to blow dry the ever-loving hell out of my hair! I’m hooked, and have worn my hair like this at least once a week since I discovered this video. I’m also going majorly crazy over all the other easy-to-follow tutorials they’ve got there.

Do you have any go-to styles that you want to share?

  • Running Styling

Similar to my every day hair, my running styles are basically non-existent. I stick with a headband and pony and it seems to work.

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But sometimes, I like to get a little creative – especially on race day. That’s when the braids come out:

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I’ll admit: my race-day hair style is dependent more on the cute factor than any weather forecast or logistical need. For example: the hat/braid combo you see up there is because I ran my last race in a pair of cheap ray-ban knock offs and looked like a fool in all my race photos. So since I hadn’t found the right running sunnies by race day, I opted for a hat. Not my best sartorial choice, but whatevs.

But aside from the pony and the braids, I’m hopelessly out of ideas. Due to an abundance of layers and lack of practice on any siblings for the first 15+ years of my life, I cannot french braid my hair to save my life so that’s out. And I am SO envious of girls who have those fantastically swishy ponytails that trail forever and never get tangled. You are all witches, and I wish I were you.

How do you wear your hair for a run vs. race-day?

3. Tips and Tricks

  • My number one tip to save post-workout hair from needing a shower is this: as soon as you’re done working out, get ye to the nearest hair dryer, STAT! Take out your hair tie/ponytail/headband/clips, and blast your hair with cool air to dry all the sweat from your scalp. Then once it’s dry, do the dry shampoo thing.
  • Try to stay away from heat styling as much as possible. I know it’s pretty unavoidable, especially in the winter months when going out with a wet head of hair is an old wives’ worst nightmare/recipe for your death by cold, but all that extreme heat can’t be good for your locks day in and day out.
  • If you’re desperately greasy like I was (and you’ve got a full 2-3 days to swing it), try doing the hair reset thing like I did! Just take a page from our Frozen gal-pals and Let it Go. You may be surprised what your hair will do when you leave it the hell alone for a while!

How about you? Do you have any tricks of the trade that you swear by? Fun race-day styles? Headbands that you adore? Let’s spread the hair love!

5 thoughts on “The Lazy Runner Girl’s Guide to Hair

  1. Sorry, but your hair always looks fantastic! Your tress troubles seem monumental to you, but the reality is you have absolutely gorgeous hair so you must have been doing something right all along. BTW — that perm picture is adorable. What a pretty little girl!

    • lol aww thank you Jo-Ann! I’m so glad that I’ve managed to put my best hair forward.
      And thanks for the compliment on my perm! Being that it was 1989, I like to think it was part Shirley Temple and part Motley Crue 😉

  2. Sounds odd but I swear by baby powder. I have yet to find a dry shampoo I like but baby powder works like a charm for post run hair or next day hair. As for running, I usually always wear my hair the same way, a little bump in the front and a ponytail. Boring but easy!

  3. I finally managed to switch to an every other day washing schedule, and I credit finding the right dry shampoo for me. It smells like crap, but it works. And I also try not to blow dry every time I wash, but alas, I live in the frozen north, and in the winter time I pretty much have to.

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