When I tell people that I ride to work in professional clothes I get a lot of questions, starting with “don’t you get sweaty and need to shower at work?” I explain that since I ride at an easy pace for only 25 minutes, I sweat less than I would if I walked. That seems to satisfy most people, except women, who inevitably ask: “What about helmet hair?” This question is harder to answer.
The short answer: helmets don’t mess up my hair. Whether I leave it in its naturally wavy state, pump it up to super curly or iron it straight into submission, I can fluff or brush my hair at my destination and it’s no worse for the wear. Like riding in street clothes, excessive sweating is the problem, not the helmet per se.
Still, it took a professional to convince me I didn’t need to wash my hair every time I got a little exercise. I once had an afternoon hair appointment and at the end my stylist (and fellow mountain biker) gave me a fabulous blow-out. Silky and straight with a flip at the bottom. I loved it. “Too bad”, I said, “I’m riding tonight and will wash it all out later.” “Don’t wash it,” Kelly said, “just brush it out when you get home and put it up in a scrunchie at night. It will still be great in the morning.” She was right.
Now I’m so confident that my hair will recover post-ride that I take my bike to hair appointments, like I did last Saturday. Kelly O’Dea gave me a great layered cut, then styled it curly by adding a hefty amount of product, scrunching it and blowing it dry with a diffuser. The result: super-super curly and so full I wondered if my hair would fit under the helmet.
It did, of course, fit under the helmet. And even after the making a few stops on the way home, my hair was still full and curly. Thank you, Kelly! So, here are my DO’s for keeping your hairdo intact when you ride:
- DO Take it easy on the bike. It’s not a race or a training ride.
- DO Pull over and take a layer off if you start to sweat.
- DO Take your helmet off and remove any elastic headbands or ponytail holders as soon as you arrive.
- DO Brush, comb or shake your hair out. Fluff and go ahead on with your fabulous self!
- DON’T Let fear of helmet hair keep you from riding. If my DO’s DON’T work for you, tweak your technique and try again.
What do you do to keep your ‘do from being a don’t after you ride?