Living with curly hair is like adopting a beautiful, but high maintenance, pet. Let others take their pet poodles for elaborate grooming appointments – you already have one on your head.
Unlike friends who boast bedhead waves or pin-straight layers, there's no easy way to be a curly girl, and no place are curls more difficult to master than after the gym. An early morning workout can mean an entire day of hair that looks as if it's been blown-up by a bicycle pump.
The ultimate enemy of curls is humidity, and moisture-thick air is particularly prevalent in the weight room and on the treadmill. If "toy poodle at a dog competition" isn't the work-appropriate style you're planning to wear all day, it's important to have a strategy for wrangling curls after your workout.
Pack a few bobby pins, hair bands, and a little hair spray. We're tackling the great ringlet beast head-on with a few time-tested strategies.
The Not-So-Basic Braid
Game plan: Slightly dirty hair can often seem chic in the right plait. Because frizz usually begins at the hairline, a braid that picks up those strands will immediately create the illusion of style. If you missed the french-braiding lesson at some middle school sleepover, here's your chance to brush up on life skills:
Beginning above one ear, braid across the crown – picking up more strands as you go. By the time you reach the second ear, you'll begin to feel as fierce as Katniss Everdeen. Pull the remaining strands into a traditional braid.
Don't be afraid to practice a few times in front of your bedroom mirror before taking it into the real world.
The Whatever Waves
Game plan: Begin this easy post-gym style with a twisted ballerina bun, crucial in keeping sweaty hair from falling into your eyes while you kill your last set of squats. While those muscles tone up, hair has the time to set into loose waves. After the workout, release your locks from the bun and spritz roots with a volumizing spray.
Instead of limp, greasy curls, you'll have hair with body and lift. These may not be your mother's nicely organized curling-iron ringlets, but they're certainly eye-catching.
The Post-Pineapple Curls
Perfect product: L'Oreal Paris EverCrème Nourishing Leave-In Spray
Game plan: The “pineapple” technique, developed and popularized by members of the natural hair movement, is a way of preserving curls for second day wear. Instead of just sleeping on the ringlets, however, hair blogger Petra Johnelle uses this style to save curls for after the gym.
To copy her style, bend all the way forward and loop curls into a top-of-the-head ponytail secured with a loose scrunchie. After your workout, let the curls out of their binder. Using a spray bottle filled with water, gently spritz hair until damp.
Follow with a light pat-down of leave-in conditioner, just to keep frizz at bay.
The Patterned Head Wrap
Game plan: Some sweat sessions use up all your extra energy, and that's perfect okay. Reward yourself after the gym by allowing your hair to flow freely, even if it's expanded a little from all that humidity. Instead of fussing over style, just pull a boldly patterned head wrap over your hair and forehead.
The combination of added volume and Coachella-chic style with have coworkers thinking you're a fashion blogger instead of a post-workout peer who didn't have time to wash her curls.
The Easy Updo
Game plan: After a tough kickboxing class, it's sometimes more efficient to pin curls back from the neck than try to perfect them once more. Instead of relying heavily on product, turn to hair bands and bobby pins for a chic updo that will hide any imperfections.
Twist and pin face-framing pieces away from the face, pushing up for a little volume at the crown. Then, bring your hair into a high ponytail. Make sure to leave ends partially free of the binder, resulting in a modern look nice enough for casual events.
Spray a light coat of hairspray over top to prevent flyaways, and don't think about your hair for the rest of the day.