I was flying back from L.A. a few months ago and sat next to a very friendly and astute African-American woman around my age.  She and I started talking about my blog and spoke almost the entire trip home.  She clued me in something interesting: I’m not very likely to see African-American women in the gym or outside jogging.  And if I do, look at their hair.  They probably have short ‘dos.  Why?  Because of the time, effort and cost of weaves and hairstyles, many African-American women don’t want to exercise and sweat, and then risk ruining their hair.  Turns out she’s not the only one whose said this.  Even surgeon general Regina M. Benjamin warned attendees of the Bronner Hair Show in Atlanta (a humongeous, international hair show for Black hair) “that women who skip exercising in order to protect their hairstyles should focus more on their health.” (Do Women Choose Beauty Over Health?  The Surgeon General (And Advertisers) Say So)

While I balked initially, I then recalled how I felt after getting my occasional blow-out.  No way was I going to throw away $50 plus tip, let alone gorgeous hair, to work out. But even so, it’s not that hard to make my hair look close enough to the way I want it when styling it myself.  But for many others, especially my African-American friends,  it’s damn hard to style their own hair and do it “just so” EVERY DAY.

So what do we do?  Are people going to just throw in the towel and look like crap so that they don’t feel bad about exercising?   There’s a new website called YouBeauty (one of the founders being Dr. Oz) that connects beauty with health.  They suggested sweat bands, hair extensions that you can clip in and out or braids.  Hmmmmmm….

Another solution is to cut your hair very short or go completely natural.  But that’s not for everyone either.

So what do we do?  I think its time for some MAJOR tech-y inventions here.   Perhaps we can create cool caps that ensure we don’t sweat too much on our heads?  Or maybe someone could invent an “after exercise” spray or device that will vacuum out the sweat?

Any other suggestions? Comment or tweet me your thoughts @beautyskew

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