On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ladies: I need your (hair) help

This past weekend, I indulged in my twice-yearly beautification ritual, meaning I got a haircut (and highlights, but shhhhhh I'm really that light haired naturally).

I don't blow dry my hair, ever. I condition it every day. I'm not rough on it. For the past few years, I've gone to the same stylist. I'm very used to her gushing over how soft and healthy my hair is. I mean, I'm basically a Pantene commercial - except I use Garnier Fructis.

So that's why I was shocked when my new stylist told me that my hair was actually unhealthy. She pointed out that there is a line where my my hair was broken all along, midway up my head. Skeptically, I checked it out and I could clearly see the wispy, broken hairs. Suddenly I was the before scene in that Pantene commercial.

She said, "Do you where your hair in a ponytail a lot?"
Uh, yeah. You know, every time I run.

She said, "Can you wear your hair down when you run? Or just wear a headband to keep it off your face and wear the rest down?" Yeah, no. Not only is that objectively weird, but oh! the sweat!

So what should I do? What do you do?

Edit: Long-haired gentlemen or anyone else with suggestions, feel free to reply.

22 comments:

  1. Are you using ponytail holders or rubber bands? I'd swap to a larger holder (I have a metric ton of hair, so I always use the super thick ones) and stay away from the ones with the metal claspy things, (those always tangle/rip my hair, and I break them w/in like 3 uses). I normally do a messy bun, but with 2 holders so it stays in place.

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    1. Oh, this is good! I typically use the non-metal clip hair bands, but I have SUPERFINE (as in, thin - not as in fine/sweet) hair so it still gets tangled up in it. I think I'll start by looking for some even bigger hair things... oh, god, maybe even a scrunchie.

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  2. There is NO way I could/would run with my hair down. No way.

    I am really good about NOT wearing my hair up unless I'm traveling or exercising. So... just start there maybe?

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    1. That's a really good idea. I do typically pull my hair back during the day when it starts to annoy me. Maybe I'll try to either ignore that or to find some non-elastic clip type things.

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  3. Maybe try a lower ponytail or a low bun and use some clips to secure the sides/top?

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    1. If I do a lower ponytail, won't that just break MORE of my hair?!?

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  4. In my mind unhealthy hair frequently has breakage, but if you have breakage doesn't mean you have unhealthy hair... just that the sharp "corner" hair turns at a holder has broken it off. Meh, semantics.

    Try varying the ponytail - high, medium, low. Two, one.
    Try braiding, starting at the nape with no ponytail by your scalp, so it's gentler on the hair.

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    1. I like what you're saying! I think my hair IS ultimately healthy, I just wish that it looked smooth and silky. Braiding is a really good idea, and I'll start varying the ponytail.

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  5. I'm not sure if my hair is healthy or not (although I only heat style it maybe once a week on average) (I'm about due for my semi-annual hair cut as well), but I vary between a low ponytail and a braid, so that might help to get some variety, instead of always putting stress on the same spot of your hair.

    I don't understand the concept of exercising with your hair down, even with a headband, unless it was really quite short. Even when I had a chin-length bob, I still pulled as much of it into a half-ponytail as possible. It irrationally bothers me to see women running around in action movies/shows with their hair down. So unrealistic (compared to the overall premise of such shows, like Alias, which are totally realistic).

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  6. Yes!! I don't understand it, either! I mean, I sort of maybe get the whole idea of one's hair flowing dramatically behind you as you run. Except that 1) no I really don't get it, and 2) mine would be a gross, matted, sweaty mess within a few minutes. Not hot. I used to have a bob, too, and you and I were right on the same page: mine got tied back into three smaller ponytails.

    Sounds like alternating where my ponytail is and braiding is the way to go.

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    1. And wait, Alias is unrealistic?!?

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  7. Have you tried SweatyBands? I have two from Another Mother Runner, but I suspect they are available elsewhere too. I would recommend using a SweatyBand to keep your hair off your face and then a gentle, loose ponytail holder to keep your hair off your neck.

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    1. I (still) wear hats every time I run, so the issue isn't keeping the hair out of my face. I have to figure out the "gentle, loose" part - my hair is SO fine that loose ponytail = no ponytail in about three steps. The holders just glide right off if they're not tightly secured.

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  8. I like Becky's comment - your hair isn't unhealthy. Is it broken in places, sure - but that's because you pull it back a lot to suit your life. For a runner lady that has her hair in a ponytail a lot, I'm sure your hair is super awesome. If you want completely unbroken, perfect hair, quit running :-)

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    1. Yes! Battle scars! I like it. "My hair would look way nicer, but, you know, I'm a runner." I already use that line with my toenails, why not also my hair?

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  10. I agree---try a softer/thicker hair tie, that should help. And also maybe varying it--low pony/high pony/bun, also, dare I say...BRAID?!?! It makes me shudder to think how awful my hair would look after 5 minutes of running with it down. Just one giant poofy, frizzy, sweaty mess.

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  11. I was going to say braid too. A friend with really long hair runs like that and it helps the hair from tangling too!

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  12. I run with a ponytail, and I'd never be able to run with my hair down. Eeew. My hair also has the breakage about a 1" from the roots, it's done this for YEARS, my stylist tells me it's just normal and has never mentioned that it's from wearing a ponytail.

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  13. Haha, I would never be able to run with my hair down. Mine gets ridiculously tangled after a sweaty long run, but I just deal. I also use a leave-in conditioner spray before brushing it out post-shower...maybe that would help!

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  14. Gahh! Hair stylists have told me to stop wearing ponytails too. I just smile and nod and continue on in my running, ponytail wearing ways. I think it's worth it. I'd rather look like Kara Goucher than a chick in a shampoo advertisement anyway.

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