Working out with long hair

Keeping it Clean: Working Out With Long Hair

In Educate by El Rubio29 Comments

By now you know you shouldn’t shampoo your hair every day. If that’s shocking news to you, start with this post.

But if you have a regular fitness or workout program, you might be wondering, “what the hell should I do with it then?” If you’re a guy who works out regularly, you may need a little more guidance on working out with long hair.

Your first question might be how to deal with long hair while exercising. While some longhairs are savage like this guy and this guy and just let it fly, I prefer to keep it out of my face when I’m at the iron factory. For this task my go-to is a standard foldover, stabilized with a championship headband to keep the tail end in place for rigorous activity.

Long hair head band

Braids and other tie ups are good options too, but here we’re talking more about post-workout regimen. You workout, you sweat, your hair gets sweaty/grimy/oily faster than if you just lounge around all day, not to mention tangled and ratty.

Here’s a few techniques you can try and see what works best for you.

Assuming you still plan to shower after working out, you have a couple options to start with.

If you feel you have to cleanse, just use water. Massage your scalp with your fingertips the same way you would if you were using shampoo. Get in there, break up the oils and sweat and give it a good clean rinse.


While it’s true you don’t want to shampoo more than once or twice a week, you can (and should) use conditioner more often. In this case, if you’re cleansing with water, just use conditioner as you normally would.

Your second option is to simply leave it tied up while showering, trying not to get it wet. It will get a little wet, and it might be damp from sweat already. Stay calm.

All is fine and good until you finally let it down and it’s a sweaty, unsightly rat’s nest. You can still condition at this point, which can be very helpful for the next step. Use a spray bottle to get the tips wet then apply conditioner to the ends (it’s ok to leave it in).

Here’s where combing and brushing daily is important. Since you’ve worked out and you’ve sweat through the top of your head, this has released some of the natural oils from your scalp. That oil is good for your hair, but you want to distribute it evenly.

Comb first to get the tangles out. Use a wide-tooth comb, starting with the tips and working your way toward the scalp. If it’s really tangled you can use a de-tangling spray like this one.

Once you’ve detangled you want to brush thoroughly. And really, brushing is more about massaging the scalp than anything. Here’s a little more on brushing.

This is where the cleansing happens. Even though you’ve sweat, brushing properly will exfoliate your scalp while distributing all that oil throughout your hair, coating, protecting, keeping it healthy and giving it a nice shine. Especially if you find a spray you like, this routine will have your scalp and hair feeling fresh and clean and looking $$.

If you’re saying to yourself, “DUDE, my hair is just TOO greasy and grimy after I work out, this ain’t gonna fly,” here’s another option for you: dry shampoo.

combing long hair
brushing your hair for men
brushing your hair

Dry shampoo is a spray-in product that absorbs the excess oil from your hair and scalp and freshens you up. Simply spray it onto your scalp and hair roots and brush it through.

You’re dialed boys! Now you know what to do when you’re working out with long hair. Stay on the workout train and keep lettin it ride.

And of course, you can always find more in our Quick Tips.

man with long hair


  1. Ha, writing my question seemed to trigger my brain to find a solution. I realized I can move the fold-over higher up AND reverse it so the pointy part points up/forwards rather than down and back. That leaves the back of the head clear for lying down exercises like bench press.

  2. Hey, do you bench press or do any back lying exercises in your workout? I found the bun or foldover really annoying having to lie on a bench and balance my head on the knot. The thing that’s worked for me for a while is to pony tail it then clip the pony tail on top of my head like a forward pointing mohawk. However, my hair has gotten so heavy especially when sweaty that I’m finding lots of broken hairs on top of my head seemingly where the clip is placed from the ‘mohawk’ flopping around. With the foldover the tail end also gets in the way of the barbell bar for squats and plus I hate the feeling of having the hair stuck to the back of my neck. My hair is a bit thicker and a few inches longer than yours so that may be the reason. I’m still looking for a decent option. Right now my best hope seems to be this

    1. Author

      Looks great on you man! Lol

      I see you’ve answered your own question, but it’s a good one nonetheless and a pain to deal with. I’ve found it a problem doing yoga myself. How I’ve dealt with it is tying a super high-ball, where it’s high enough to rest my head against the mat laying down on my back. This also comes with the benefit of not having the tail-end of your foldover flopping around or getting stuck to the back of your neck, but rather everything contained in a nice tight little ball. It’s been my go-to for the last six months at least!

      Thanks for writing in hombre, glad you’ve got a working solution going.

  3. So I am a hairdresser and I kidnapped my hubby’s phone. He is very active and has been growing his hair out from short military style cut to now shoulder length. The main issue I’ve been noticing for a lot of men is not using the right products for their hair type. Curly and waved use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner and other should use a different type. Always towel dry your hair with the cuticle going down. Try not to use hair ties since they can put extreme tension on the hair and cause breakage. And for god’s sake brush and trim your hair! For chlorine use a clarifying shampoo like Paul Mitchell shampoo two or Malibu swimmers pack. Also please please do not use dandruff shampoo if you do not have dandruff. Dandruff is a bacterial infection and using this shampoo drys the hair more. Switch to a good moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, the flakes should go away after your hair gets used to not having the natural oils ducked dry. Should take around two months. Another good tip is to use what’s called a scalp brush to lightly exfoliate your scalp and get all the build up off. I cannot stress enough the importance of good product. Good luck in your hair gain ha ha!

  4. @El Rubio and Joe Mac:

    Baking soda is a farce when doing no-poo. Natrium isnt made to clean human hair. Its way too alkaline and while it’s not as harmful as shampoo, it still takes a toll on your scalp and will damage your hair after a certain period of time.

    I’d suggest you guys to try to wash your hair with cold water exclusively for a while. It’s the best thing one could do for his hair.

    1. Author

      Yo yo! Thanks for the tips man! I’m gonna try the cold water routine.

    2. Hey Ilja! Indeed… I already thought so… I have been using this method for over a year, and indeed I feel it has been in a long term damaging my scalp, with the consequences of thinning my hair. I have already stopped for a month, but now I am looking for other natural methods on how to keep my scalp and hair healthy. I will indeed try the cold water for my hair, since I used to do it and definitely could see great results.

      Any other tips on this one?

  5. Nice post guys! These past weeks you have been answering questions that have been in the back of my mind since I’ve been growing out my hair.
    One suggestions for a future post, though:
    I’ve done a little research about a “no-poo” method of cleaning hair, which is basically not using shampoo and/or just using conditioner and instead using natural ingredients like baking soda and apple cider vinegar. It would be really cool if y’all could look into it and inform the rest of the longhair fam.
    Anyways, keep up with the great work! SEE-AH!

    1. Author

      What up Joe Mac! Thanks for always tuning in man, we see you reading and commenting on all stuff. A couple other guys have commented on the “no-poo” method, and we’ve been reading up on it. Have not tried it yet, but appreciate the suggestion. We’ll do a little more research and do a post on it. Thanks again man keep lettin’ it ride!

  6. Hey dudes, great article, I read em all, love you guys.

    I’m a young longhair preparing for my very first job interview. Question is, do I let it flow? If not, what should I do with my locks?

    1. Author

      Yo Shane Train!

      This is a great question to ask, and we’ll answer more in-depth another time. The fact is, right or wrong, long hair is generally viewed as less professional. Some jobs will literally not hire you if you have long hair. In a scenario where you are trying to portray yourself as professionally as possible, this presents a very real ethical vs. economic dilemma.

      Are you willing to miss out on a job to keep your long hair? A lot of men have faced this question, some women too.

      In your case you’re not talking about cutting it, rather to tie it up or not. Not as dramatic, but the same concept. The truth is, no one can answer that question except for themselves.

      Being a young fellow you could probably use some extra cash. Rather than risk it, why not tie it up during the interview, get the job, then be the best damn employee that person has ever hired. Show that the length of your hair doesn’t dictate how good of job you can do. And maybe that will help turn the tide of perception.

      Here are a couple of great podcasts with two highly successful longhairs in business:

      Gudmundur Heidarsson, CEO of eDataSource

      Dave Littlechild, former Executive Vice President for dotmailer

      Use the Force, amigo.

      1. What’s the easiest way to wear your hair while lifting? I find it near impossible to put my hair up and be able to do things on bench because of my bun. Should I put the bun higher? Thoughts comments?

        1. Author

          Yes man totally. I have a whole new system, need to make a video on it still. But yes the short answer is I tie it up higher on the top of my head, so that I can still rest the back of my head on the bench.

  7. Yo dudes do yo guys have any recommendations on dry shampoos/conditioners the leave in types? Much love

    1. Author

      Yo El Beardo, I have used One n Only (same brand as the spray linked in this post) shampoo, conditioner and dry shampoo, and I’ve been happy with them. There are plenty of others out there, I see a product review in the future.

      Now get out there and kick some ass.

  8. I was wondering when you’d get around to mentioning dry shampoo in one of your posts. About 3/4ths of the way through my awkward stage, several of my female friends (including at least 4 that are hairdressers) told me about dry shampoo. I honestly wish I’d known about it YEARS ago, even when I had short hair! Since including it in my cleansing arsenal, it’s allowed me to go down to the “once or twice a week” that you guys advocate, without getting the itchiness and dandruff that previously affected me if I didn’t shampoo at least every other day. Personally, I’ve been using Tigi Rockaholic Dirty Secret for the last 10 months or so. It’s kinda pricey, but I’ve been able to find a twin-pack at Target for just a couple bucks more than a single bottle.

    1. Author

      Dude sick. Appreciate the comment as a few other guys are asking. Have not tried this one yet, but like I said elsewhere I see a product review in the future.

      Thanks man, keep lettin it ride!

  9. I wash my hair with a baking soda mixture. I add 2 TBS. baking soda to 16 oz. of water (most water bottles) and use that to rinse my hair. It gets everything out out your hair and makes it super soft!

    I use that instead of shampoo and do it every three days??

    1. Author

      Duuuude, I’ve heard about this method, have not tried it yet. We’ll have to give it a shot. Thanks EL SCORCHO, appreciate the contribution!

    2. I have been using that method for over a year now. It indeed gave great results with cleaning completely my hair. Afterwards I have been using diluted apple cider vinegar on water to condition my hair, and it just work wonderfully. I I would wash my hair once every week to a week and a half with The baking soda, and apply the ACV conditioning method three times a week. Now the only thing I have been noticing in the past 2 to 3 months is that my hair started to thin out (never the less, preserving the nice and healthy looks), and have the impression i’ve been loosing more hairs than normal (not excessively) specially at the front part of my scalp notice less density than in other areas. I must also add that in my family there is no history of bald people, and I eat quite healthy, including lots of seeds and nuts everyday. For this reason I have a couple of reasons I suspect could be the cause of this issue:

      – Wearing my hair very thigh on a bun, most of the day almost every day.
      – Sleeping wearing a bun often.
      – The baking soda while natural a natural method and very effective to clean the hair, might actually be quite aggressive in a long term use.

      Any comments on this one? Anybody else experiencing the same?

  10. Article was perfect for me man. I’ve been working out a lot more recently. So this helps so much. I’m down to try that dry shampoo too. Thanks again Longhairs. Longhair JEET out!

  11. Thanks for the tips – was wondering what suggestions you might have for folks with long hair and swimming pools. We just moved to a new house, and I’ve been using the swimming pool pretty much everyday. Any recommendations for cleaning/rinsing my long hair.?.


    1. Author

      Yo dude! Quick tip: always rinse with fresh water after getting out of the pool, especially if you’re going to be staying out in the sun. You don’t want all those chemicals staying in your hair. If you’re swimming every day you’re also going to have some moisture issues. You may want to condition a little more offer or look to some other options for maintaining moisture balance.

      Now do a gainer man!

      1. Lol! Already did the gainer! Thanks for getting back at me, and for the advice.

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