How to Maintain Healthy Hair for Female Fighter
Yolanda Schmidt

As a female fighter with long hair, I can confirm that healthy hair is high maintenance.

“Lady boxers should have short hair.” This has been a common response when others become aware that I’m a fighter.

Female fighters, with long hair, generally don’t walk around with corn rows and braids unless they are in a training or fighting environment. Therefore, it is important to maintain healthy hair, so that we don’t always have to look like a fighter.

Clinch hair!

Nothing more flattering than the bird’s nest we have after a clinch session. However, it doesn’t seem to matter what hairstyle you choose, clinch hair is inevitable.

Perspiration leads to a salt build up in your hair and on your scalp. This not only blocks the pores, but the scalp absorbs the salt which leads to damaged dry hair.

Hence, the solution is the post training care regime. Various factors impact the health of your hair such as hair ties and products you use, the frequency of washing, the style you train with, and of course, sweat.

Select hair ties that are near seamless such as Sephora Ribbon Hair Ties which are less damaging to the hair. Vary your training style to minimize breakages from the placement of the hair tie being in the same spot repeatedly. A moisture wicking sweat band also decreases the rate at which your hair becomes greasy by absorbing the sweat.

Think about the feeling you have when sweat dries on your skin after a workout. You can barely wait to jump into the shower to freshen up.

Wash your hair using a clarifying shampoo with a balanced pH level, preferably sulphate free. The frequency of washing depends on how much you sweat throughout your workout as well as your hair type. The specialists recommend three times a week for very active individuals.

In addition, treat your hair weekly with hot oil, and monthly with a mask. Lastly, ensure you rinse thoroughly to avoid protein build up.

Hair stylist to Rhonda Rousey, Abraham Esparza, recommends coconut oil for rehydration. Leave it in the hair for an hour and then wash and rinse it well.

As for styles, while braids are my personal preference, the can still cause insane knots and breakages from the clinch. Not to mention time consuming and they tend to whip you in the face every so often. My second option would be a bun so that there is no hair hanging on my neck or any bits to soak up the sweat and accumulate knots throughout the session. The next option would be a ponytail with a plait. Sweat can dry out and strip away the natural oils that keep hair healthy.

Indeed, training consistently leads to greasy hair. However, you should be mindful of how you utilize dry shampoo. Most dry shampoos are high in alcohol and when combined with sweat, will dry out your hair even further. If you use dry shampoo, it is recommended to apply it to the roots before a workout.

Why do I still have long hair? Because it is healthy, there is nothing worse than long hair that is dry and unhealthy!

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Yolanda Schmidt
Yolanda Schmidt, from Sydney, NSW is the Australian national champion in Muay Thai. In addition, she is a two-time bronze medalist at IFMA world championships. She is also a teacher at Menai High School in Illawong, NSW. Schmidt is a regular contributor to FIGHTMAG, where she covers women's kickboxing and Muay Thai.

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