View Full Version : Sweat super-conditioned hair? or what happened here?

Rosa Harris
May 6th, 2014, 03:08 PM
Ok. I had a bizarre incident yesterday with sweat. I have been going cone and sulfate free and my hair has been wigging out - dry, rough, tangly feeling and wanting to frizzball like crazy. Its actually not damaged hair at all despite how gross it has been feeling. Its only had henna on it twice and never anything else. I don't even get in pools because I want to protect my hair. I have been super protective since its first fragile sprouts six years ago. Losing it made me baby it when it started to come back.

Anyway here is what happened:

So yesterday I ended up sitting in the car in about 90 degree heat for about 20 minutes with my rough tangly manic bugged out cone free mane because my husband forgot to leave me the keys when he went in to check on a job on the way out to Walmarts.

Needless to say me and my hair was soaked. So much so I was embarrassed to go in the store when I finally got there. Ever seen a sweat soaked fat chick who is doing no apparent excercise riding a disability rider?

But sitting in the car I kept wiping the sweat back out of my eyes up into my hair then suddent at one point there was a 'what the heck?' moment when I realized my hair felt as silky sooth as it had been with any cones or ever, period. It was a strange moment. I took down my bun and started to finger out the sweat down the length of my hair. Actually I was trying to fluff dry it out a bit. The feeling moved down the hairshaft the more sweat wet the drier hair that had been bunned got.

So now I am totally trippin when I fully realize the hair texture but sure this would go crazy again as soon as dry, right? It has just GOT to be too good to be true, right?

Well, wrong!

It dried as shiney silky as it felt sweat soaked. It was amazingly light reflective as if coated with coconut oil but super light without the oil weight.

But leave me and my hair sweat soaked? On a gut level I just could not manage that no matter how tempting it was and it was very tempting so I decided to wash with just Vo5 strawberry to hopefully just cleanse away the sweaat-stink-smell so hubby would let me in the bed thinking that this is after all South Georgia and I can get some sweat in the flower beds anytime for sure to repeat and see if it happens again.

BUT to my absolute astonishment the hair feeling did not wash away. It is just as amazingly soft and shiny right now after two conditions, cold rinse, pat dry and plop - no other products yet fluffy wavy as well. Its not as wavy as fluffed up as the profile pic with the gel, bt its nice loose silky waves... that hubby could not leave alone.

So what the freak the getting soaked with sweat do? Soaking my hair with sweat would not have been one of those things I would think of doing fo my hair. I figure it pushed out natural sebum into the hair, perhaps? The the cone free condition only clod rinse did not strip the natural sebum out again?

Looking around the site I have also come across preening which sounds like what I did accidentally along with the sweat. My hair is usually too dry - my skinscalp to have any obvious sebum, tho.

May 6th, 2014, 03:58 PM
Yep, sweat/sebum is uber conditioning and cleansing.
And you made it -
keep diet nice n clean.

May 6th, 2014, 04:15 PM
Yup, it's one of the few consolations of wearing a bicycle helmet. It washes out for me, but I use SLS shampoo so practically everything washes out!

May 6th, 2014, 04:42 PM
Yep, sweat/sebum is uber conditioning and cleansing.

Hm, we definitely know about sebum being very conditioning. But I am very curious about what exactly in sweat's composition creates this effect.

Sweat is primarily water, minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc), lactate, urea.
- Salt in small amounts provides volume and shine.
- Lactic acid (lactate) is smoothing, provides shine, slightly straightening and it exfoliates skin.
- Urea is used in dermatology to promote rehydration of the skin (used in topical creams for psoriasis, xerosis, eczema, keratosis, calluses, etc).
Also, sweat is normally found at moderately acidic to neutral ph levels (typically between 4.5 and 7), which again promotes shine and smooth cuticle.

Am I onto something here? I've never considered sweat's natural "conditioning" effect before.

May 6th, 2014, 05:07 PM
Am I onto something here? I've never considered sweat's natural "conditioning" effect before.

I think you are! I wonder if being in the confined space of the hot car + humidity had something to do with it also? Like a steam bath?

May 7th, 2014, 12:16 AM
It sounds like a version of the Greenhouse Effect (very popular on hair boards with women of African descent). Since afro/kinky acts out the way you describe your hair was acting before, the Greenhouse Effect is a method used to moisturise and get sebum down to the ends. I think the sweat and heat also helped move the sebum along to your ends. Ugh, I am explaining this awkwardly. Here's a link that I hope is much cleare than my confused explanation


Rosa Harris
May 7th, 2014, 02:51 AM
meteor: that is fascinating about the properties of sweat. I'd want to bottle this stuff if the reaction would not be 'oh wow ewwww!'

YvetteVarie: GHE sounds like something I am going to try. I already live in a hot and humid climate and night sweating once summer really kicks in is a given anyway since hubby hates the air conditioner with a passion. I definitely have some mixed chick issues despite my texture being in the 2 range my skin and scalp is closer to having the issues that my Mom (kinky-curly Roma/African American) has. That is super-dry scalp and hair, frizz prone and oil loving. Itches - especially after washing - something I have seen being common on African-American hair care sites. White focused products have always made my hair go crazy.I grew to this length with Pantee naturals co-wash. Co washing has greatly reduced the itching issue but I still get it after washes making me want to pile on the butters. I'm interested if this GHE will also help with the itch problems as well. Thanx again for the info. The woman that is doing that site has some freakin amazing growth for chemically strait hair so she definitely knows a few things.

May 7th, 2014, 08:11 AM
All that sweat moved the sebum down the shaft of your hair. Maybe you should consider WO as an option?

May 7th, 2014, 11:55 AM
So I tried this last night. Figured it would be easy, cheap and harmless experiment. I slept with a clear plastic shower cap on my head. Woke up and cap had moisture in it for sure. It was wet inside. Kinda gross, but when I took the cap of and gave hair a minute to finger comb and dry it was very smooth and soft. I could see experimenting with doing this once a week. It did something for sure. My hair feels cleaner. I haven't washed it since Sunday. Last night my hair was feeling disgusting. Today it feels a little cleaner and less oily. I decided not to wash until tomorrow now as it is bearable again. Very interesting all in all. I wouldn't go out in public with my hair like this since the shape is awkward, but the condition feels great.

May 7th, 2014, 02:55 PM
I use "baggy" method every time I oil my hair as a pre-poo treatment. But I've only used this method for a short time and always finished with a good cleanse. Just an hour or two under a plastic bag makes a big difference. But I wouldn't be able to sleep well with plastic on me.
It doesn't surprise me that it works so well: it heats up the scalp while trapping the moisture, and the heat helps sebum/oils/product penetrate better, like a body wrap you can get at spas. If you've done body wraps or if you ever moisturized your hands and put plastic gloves on for a long time, you probably noticed how ridiculously soft skin becomes.

What's great about your moment of serendipity, Rosa Harris, is that apparently no product is needed for "baggy" method/"greenhouse effect" to work. And also, it looks like we don't need to freak out next time we sweat (great news for those of us who work out!). :) To be honest, it makes sense that our own ph-balanced sweat is less damaging for skin and hair than alkaline, chlorinated hard water.

ErinLeigh, it's great that this worked so well for you! :D I'm really amazed that the hair felt cleaner and less oily after baggying and you managed stretch your wash day. :)

Rosa Harris
May 7th, 2014, 03:23 PM
Hot humid car round two today: same result.

Also, GHE on other boards they are reporting increased growth. This would make sense given that its pretty well known that hair grows faster for some unknown reason in warmer climates and summer months. Definitely going to see how this will effect my creepinly-slow growth. They also report more length retention - an issue with kinky or really fine hair is not losing length to breakage.

Can I stand it all night? Prob not. Prob do it sitting on the porch and during my days and working in the garden. I can't stand sweating while sleeping!

Yes, it does strangely make it feel cleaner - as if the sweat 'washed' the hair. So weird given what we are trained to think about sweat.

Rosa Harris
May 7th, 2014, 03:31 PM
bizzare thought in my head of trying not washing at all and just sweat-washing my hair but it sounds totally grossss...

But it is in line with my cavegirl lifestyle intents that I have... tho I am not swearing off the internet

It would make sense that our bodies would be perfectly evolved to handle its hair all on its own without being disgusting.

I imagine early people id discover water washing but that water was pure and chlorine free - could happen to my mom's and use the well water for wash days.

I don't know if I could leave my precious oils obsessions behind, tho. I love being a kitchen witch.

Gonna read up on the methods on the board. Been looking at going WO because folks keep mentioning it might help my hair issues, too.

May 7th, 2014, 03:38 PM
Hmmm... Add that tothe list of things I will never do for my hair... I spend enough time all sweaty that I don't want to purposely sweat my head at night.

But I will agree, my hair is usually pretty soft after I've been out in the heat sweating.