A Naturalista’s Guide to Working Out and Keeping Her Scalp Clean

Remember when I talked about the best protective hairstyles for working out? Well we have a follow up post by Udodiri about how to keep your scalp clean while getting your workout in!

I can’t count the number of times of times in the past I tried to justify not working out because (1) I didn’t want to mess up my hair (2) I didn’t feel like washing my hair afterwards or (3) just plain old laziness (probably the case 90% of the time to be 100% real). Maintaining a clean and healthy scalp is an important aspect of promoting, strong, healthy natural hair that grows. The sweating caused my exercise and physical exertion causes bacteria and germs to thrive which in turn clog your hair follicles. This can cause stunted growth, smelly hair, and dandruff, which we all know is not a good look. Luckily, I have a few solutions that have helped me keep my scalp clean and extend the time in between washes without compromising a healthy lifestyle! No matter what hairstyle you’re rocking, I’ve got you covered!

What You Can Use
  1. Raw Lemons – Lemon is an all-natural antiseptic, meaning it kills the germs and bacteria that form from sweating. It plays a key role in reducing dandruff and itching. Simply cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice on a cotton ball or Q-tip and rub it against your scalp or cut the lemon in thin slices and run them through your hair. Feel free to store any left over slices in the fridge and use again!
  1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – ACV has a variety of benefits on natural hair including increasing luster, reducing hair loss, and increasing body. Similarly to lemons, it kills the bacteria that clog the hair follicles, which in turn promotes growth, reduces itching, and fight dandruff!
  1. “Shampditioner” Spritz – This is my personal go to if I don’t have raw lemons or apple cider vinegar (struggles!). In a spritz bottle, I put ½ water, ¼ shampoo or cleanser of your choice (I use Curlz Cleanser because it is sulfate free!), and ¼ conditioner. I mix and shake until it is completely liquid (no globs of shampoo or conditioner). If it is not completely liquid, add more water and keep shaking. Once complete, I will spritz the mixture on a cotton ball and rub it all along my scalp.
How You Can Use Them

Any of the above three options can be used to keep your scalp clean depending on your preference or convenience! How I apply either three (lemon juice, ACV, “Shampditioner”) to ensure that I am hitting and cleaning as much of my scalp as possible varies depending on the style. However, I’ll give you tips for three common looks!


  1. Hair Worn Loosely: This includes hair worn in an Afro, curly ‘fro, twist out, Bantu knot out, etc. Section your hair into 4 pieces. Using a cotton ball, apply any of the above options only the parts. Then split each of the 4 sections in half and apply to those parts. Technically you can keep on splitting the hair into sections and applying but if you are short on time feel free to stop.
  1. Hair Worn in Extensions/ Singles: This includes box braids, Marley Twists, Senegalese twists, cornrows, etc. Follow the same steps for if your hair is worn loosely (#1). It is a bit easier to have more access to your scalp since each individual single is already exposed.
  1. Weaves: This includes, crochet braids, partial weave, sown in, etc. To apply the lemon juice, ACV, or “Shampditioner”, I find it easier to use a Q-tip rather than a cotton ball. Lightly lift up the tracks to expose your scalp and rub against scalp.

I hope this little guide helps you in your quest to balance working out and keeping that lovely hair of yours nice and clean! Enjoy!

How do you keep your scalp clean while working out?

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  1. Now I no longer have a valid excuse for not exercising ha ha! This article was great, I’m definitely going to go stock up on some lemons today!

  2. This is so eye opening! I am a neat freak and always need to have me hair clean, which can be time consuming and a hassle. I am constantly washing my hair, which is not exactly the healthiest or easiest course of action. This post definitely helped me out. Now I have three new ways to keep my scalp clean and save me time for more important things in life:)

  3. Wow really helpful! I just started my natural hair journey and been looking for tips on hair maintenance. Thanks for spreading the knowledge!

  4. This seems so doable and very natural. I love how it’s seperated by style type. Definitely trying this out this weekend!!