How Bad Is It to Not Wash Your Hair After Working Out?

June 02, 2020
Samantha Holender
By: Samantha Holender | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
do i really have to wash hair after workout

In a dream world, we only wash our hair three times a week. But pair that wish with a workout a day (#fitness) and our thrice weekly washing seems unattainable. Sweaty strands necessitate a hair washing sesh, right? Upon further thought, we started questioning our logic. Is it actually bad to skip the shower post-workout? Does a little sweat mean your hair is officially dirty, or can some dry shampoo do the trick? We weren’t sure, so we turned to an expert. Ahead, Ron Lopez, a L’Oréal Professional national artist, breaks down what you need to know about how your workouts can affect your hair-washing schedule

Do You Need to Wash Your Hair After Working Out? 

Here’s the good news: You don’t always have to wash your hair after sweating. The bad news? It pretty much depends on your hair type and how much you sweat. “If you’re a heavy sweater, then a good rinse is great to remove the excess sweat,” says Lopez. “Too much sweat can give the hair a dry appearance.” That said, if your hair isn’t drenched in sweat (think: Pilates, yoga, lifting), then it’s totally OK to forgo washing your hair. He explains that for people who have straight or wavy hair, the salt in the sweat can actually add a nice bit of texture and body to the touch. 

Does the Sweat Affect Your Scalp? 

It may seem counterintuitive, but letting little extra oil build up (to a degree) after sweating could actually be beneficial to  your scalp’s health. “Your own natural oils are always best to maintain a healthy scalp,” says Lopez. “The being said, an excess of buildup over time could potentially block follicles, not allow the scalp to breath and create scalp acne.” He suggests that if you do skip the shower for a day or two after working out, cut back on everyday styling products like leave-in conditioners or creams and make sure to exfoliate the scalp when you do wash your hair. “Sometimes exfoliating the scalp with conditioner and your fingertips, rather than shampoo, is great to remove buildup. The concept being that oils remove oil,” says Lopez. “A good scalp scrub is a must, too, because not only does this clean the scalp from excess oils, but it also increases circulation.” One of our favorite scalp scrubs is the Ouai Scalp and Body Scrub


You Didn’t Wash Your Hair Post-Workout — Here’s How to Hide the Sweat 

While not washing your hair isn’t necessarily bad for your hair or for your scalp, it sure as hell can make your hair look dirty. But don’t go grabbing the dry shampoo just yet. “Dry shampoo on wet hair will literally turn into paste,” says Lopez. “The action of dry shampoo is to absorb excess oils on dry hair!” The solution is simple, though. To transform your post-sweat, wet, flat hair into a fresh looking style, Lopez recommends first towel-drying your hair as much as possible to absorb excess moisture. Then, once your hair has air dried for a bit, grab a blow dryer to smooth out ends and remove any remaining dampness. Finally, take horizontal sections of hair and spray dry shampoo directly into your root. “Allow the dry shampoo to sit — I call it cooking your dry shampoo,” he says. “After five or so minutes, rub the dry shampoo into the scalp and brush through to remove excess powder.” This will give the hair body and help eliminate odor. Need to add a dry shampoo to your hair-care arsenal? Give the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo a try.