If you are an African-American female athlete, trying to keep sweat and oil out of your hair during physical exertion is a never-ending battle. Not only is this an annoyance, but the sweat and oil can sometimes clog the pores in your scalp, which can inhibit hair growth. But don't worry, you can style your hair in ways that minimize the sweat and oil build-up. (Read up on the benefits of natural hairstyles for African-American female athletes.) These hairstyles can be done at a salon, by a friend, or even by yourself.
Most African-American women have a curl pattern to their hair. The curls are good for putting in braids. The best type of braid for athletes will be lightweight and easy to manage. Therefore, try individual 1/4-inch braids on your natural or relaxed hair. You can also add extensions to your braids. The extensions should be made of lightweight kanekalon hair, marley hair, or even yarn. Also, braids are easy to wash—but do so immediately after playing your sport or working out.
Cornrows are small French braids secured to the base of the scalp. Ask your stylist or a friend to do this style on your hair. You can make your cornrows go straight back, to the side, or spice things up with a funky pattern. The cornrows allow air to hit your scalp when you are running. This will keep you from overheating during a tough game or hard workout.
Dreadlocks are tightly coiled twisted hair. An African-American woman with very coarse textured hair will do better with this style—rather than an African American woman with very loose curls—because the hair will lock better. Dreadlocks are permanent, so think it over before you make your decision. Dreadlocks move freely during physical activity, giving your scalp the ability to breath. Dreadlocks are also very low maintenance so you don't have to worry much about the upkeep.
When push comes to shove, wear a ponytail. A ponytail will make sure that no hair gets in the way when you play your sport. Clear vision will increase your efficiency in any game. Ponytails also allow the sweat and oil to stay on your hair instead of running down your face, which can result in acne. Also, because you can take a ponytail down and comb the hair, you will minimize residue sticking to your hair.