Saturday, 2 March 2013

Swimming with Natural Hair

Swimming is my workout of choice. I hate getting sweaty on the basketball court, I feel stupid running on treadmills, and I can't stand lifting weights.

 I workout at LA Fitness in Atlanta. LA Fitness is the Mecca of in-shape black people. I pass the weights, treadmills and basketball court and see my fair share of black people enjoying their workout.

I go to my workout station of choice, the swimming pool...not a  chocolate bunny to be found. Then it hit me! I'm the only black person that I've ever seen swim at this pool. I am more likely to see Joseline Hernandez doing her squats at this gym (she has great form by the way) than another black person swimming.

There could be multiple reasons why not many black people swim at my gym, but to prevent hair being one of the reasons, I have compiled some tips on how to keep your natural hair healthy if you swim regularly.

  • Braid your hair into smaller sections. I choose two braids because they lay flat and make it easy for me to wash my hair when I get out of the pool. 
  • Wet the perimeter of your head to ensure that the swim cap stays securely on your head. Note: Some swim caps suggest that you wet your hair and apply conditioner. I have not had luck with that because the conditioner makes my cap slip off my head and the water causes heaps of friction when I try to take the cap off. 

  • Swim to your heart's content.

  • After swimming, wash and condition your hair to remove chlorine as soon as possible. The swim cap works to prevent the hair from getting extremely wet, but it is does not prevent all moisture from reaching your hair so do what you can to remove any chlorine that may have wet your hair. I buy another set of shampoo and conditioner and keep them in my gym bag so I don't forget. 

  • Dry your hair. Turbie Twists are amazing at getting my hair dry quickly. I take two with me to the pool  to dry my hair as much as possible before leaving the gym.

  • Cover your head. Unless you blow dry, your hair may still be a little damp and disheveled after washing. I like to braid my hair back into the two braids and cover it with my favorite hat. 

Sometimes, you just got to keep it a  little gangsta:P



  1. Same with me,I've been swimming since middle school and stopped once I got to college,but recently picked it up again, though I can tolerate running on a treadmill, I swim between 3-5 times a week. I usually swim in the morning before work, which I find myself running into problems because we are not allowed to wear hats, scarves, etc. But I currently live in a less black area then I use to, so seeing a black person is a rare event, and seeing a black swimmer is like seeing a penguin sun tanning in the desert. So I get a lot of stares.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this blog :) I tried water aerobics today and fell in love! With exercising, nothing has ever kept my attention or desire to try again, LOL... until now. I've NEVER enjoyed a workout more! Can't wait to get back in. I was wondering how to keep my natural hair healthy with the amount of time I plan to spend in the pool. Your tips will be very helpful in the coming days. Thanks again!

  3. Thanks. I find your tips to be the most practical and simple.Some of the frequent suggestions I see about wetting hair thoroughly before getting in the pool and loads of leave in wil not work well for everyone if having constantly soaked hair makes it weaker and tangly. I pretty much do what you do except a I prep my french braids with some aloe vera and Oyin hair dew the same as I would before shampooing. It dampens but does not water log my hair. The hair dew also has some coconut oil in it and that is good for keeping too much water from weakening the hair . I find my cap stays on and my hair isnt drenched and tangled. I wash and condition and bun it and thats is it.