Turbo Jennie calls it her splash zone. Not because she has any resemblance to Shamu – quite the opposite – but because anyone within a certain radius of her gets sprinkled with her sweat as it gets flung off the ends of her hair as she teaches TurboKick. Admittedly cardio kickboxing is a very sweaty endeavor but Turbo Jennie is not alone in this problem. Another instructor has to wipe the mirrors in front of her off when she’s done teaching, so prolific is her sweat flippage. As for me, I routinely whip myself – or on the odd occasion some poor gym soul who dared to stand too close – in the face with a sweat-soaked pony tail. It stings! Especially if it gets me in the eye.
The problem is not that we are all super sweaty girls. The problem is our hair. Despite what TV and fitness mags would have you believe, us girls do not show up to workout with long flowing locks swinging happily in the breeze. Unless you like the taste of sweat and dirty hair, you have to restrain those suckers. The issue is how.
A ponytail is generally the first solution. Of course you have to have hair long enough to pull back into a single rubberband. Then you have to deal with layers or bangs that won’t pull back. And then you have to check the mirror for “bumps” (at which point I think I just lost all the men reading). And then there’s placement of the pony: the right-in-the-middle-of-the-back-of-your-head look favored by fitness models only works if you will not be laying on your back. Ab work, weights, yoga, and Pilates all hate that ponytail. So do you move it up high to the top and feel 5 again? Or do you ride it low and endure the feeling of so much hair on your neck? And what to do with the resulting ponytail “dent” when you’re done?!
You may decide that the ponytail just won’t work. There are still lots of options: pig tails, french braid(s), head bands, sweat bands, do rags, barrettes, scrunchies (seriously??) and the ever-popular scaffolding of bobby pins. One of my personal faves: crazy buns a la Gwen Stefani:
Each method has its pros and cons. Headbands – the elastic kind that go all the way around – pop off my head like they’re spring loaded. (Speaking of head bands, have any of you tried that hair wrap stuff? I bought a roll and cannot make it work! If I tie it on my head I end up tying my hair into it which really hurts. If I tie it off my head it’s never the right size. Once I get it on my head, it twists and pulls my hair. What’s the trick? 10,000 high school soccer players can’t be wrong…) Do rags keep all your hair down but they also make your head hot. And bobby pins, while very effective at holding hair, can pinch, twist, pull hair and sometimes sproing across the room at inconvenient moments. I’m just waiting for somebody to lose an eye in a group fit class.
My current fitness hair regimen involves a high-ish ponytail (that I can loosen and push up if I have to lay on my back) and my bangs pinned back with X-ed bobby pins. This works okay except I have to readjust several times, especially if we do headstands in yoga. Between all the hair fussing and the constant pulling on my bra straps (love the pregnancy rack, hate the double-bagging), I’m adjusting myself more than a male teen-aged swim team in their first Speedo uniforms.
One Solution – Hair Zings
Billed as “the original double comb hair accessory,” the Hair Zing is a contraption made up of two hair combs (yes just like your granny used to wear) held together by a web of beaded elastic. According to their promo materials, they won’t fall out, pinch your head, pull your hair or leave a crease. Ponytail dent solved! Even better is they lay flat against your scalp so you can lay on your back. You can even wear them swimming. And I got to try one out!
So how was the Hair Zing in practice? The first issue is figuring out how to put it in. It looks really simple which is why I didn’t read the directions first. I’m telling you now: read the directions first. Once I got it down though it wasn’t too tricky. But then I couldn’t figure out how to get all of my hair into it. No matter which way I stuck it in, there was always some hanging down on my neck. I hate hair on my neck. Hate. But I’m game for anything so I went ahead with my workout. It was a good thing I had my ponytail holder on my wrist for backup though as the Hair Zing slid right out of my hair. To be fair, I have really fine, thin hair. Headbands, barrettes, clips and even rubberbands also slide out of my hair so this probably wasn’t the failure of the Hair Zing but rather my head. My real beef with the Hair Zing as a fitness accessory? It was so pretty! I know! It was all beaded and cutesy and made even a simply pull-back look like an elaborate do. The fitness downside was an everyday upside though as I did enjoy wearing it as I ran my errands. And it didn’t fall out during normal daily activities.
My verdict: the Hair Zing doesn’t doesn’t solve my fitness hair problems but then not much does. It was really pretty and fun for everyday use and I’m excited to see what other hairdos I can do with it. (Want some ideas? Check out their website for tons of gorgeous hair pics.)
Want to try one yourself? I have THREE to give away. Leave me a comment telling me what your current strategy is for managing your fitness hair. Or tell me a funny story about your gym hair. The random number generator will pick three winners to be announced Friday.