Afrocenchix article: Pretty workout hairstyles for natural hair: Side profile of a black woman running on a road

15 Practical & Pretty Workout Hairstyles For Natural Hair

Looking for workout hairstyles that are perfect for natural hair? We believe that you shouldn’t let your hair hold you back from anything that you want to do, especially exercising! Although, we can't promise that they'll help you smash your PB, whether you're a gym bunny, Yogi, CrossFit junkie, swimmer or avid runner – we have gathered some pretty and practical gym/workout hairstyles for natural hair. So read on to see our top hairstyles and don’t forget to save your faves.



Image credit: @tamekasmall

The TWA (AKA the teeny weenie afro) is super cute for the gym and in the street. Just make sure to moisturise your hair to keep it looking cute.


Editor’s Tip: The Moisture Surge Set delivers intense moisture to thirsty tresses so you can say goodbye to dry hair!


Bandana & Bun

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We’re big fans of workout hairstyles and hair accessories! This bandana not only looks cute but is also perfect for absorbing sweat from your hairline without getting your edges messy.


Sleek Bun With Middle Parting

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No one wants their hair flying around their face when they’re doing a serious workout. Enter: the sleek bun with middle parting. It’s ideal if you’re hitting it hard on the circuits or doing something like CrossFit.

Editor’s tip: The Afrocenchix Essential Accessories Pack has all the curly and afro-friendly hair accessories to create your perfect workout hairstyle.


Two-strand Twists Bun

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Two-strand twists are a great protective hairstyle but if you’re trying to get your ohm they can be distracting. This neatly wrapped bun will help you concentrate on your meditation rather than your strands. 

Pigtail Locs

Image credit: @tinuke_oyediran

We love these locs styled into pigtails – it’s a fab, nineties-inspired hairstyle for showcasing off your hair. So if you’re a skater or dancer, you might want to consider adding this style to your repertoire to show off your locs when you spin and turn. 

Box Braids Updo

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If box braids are more your thing then this compact updo will be perfect for your workout sessions. Just remember that box braids still need to be washed, especially if you’ve been working out. You can learn how to wash your braids without frizz by watching our tutorial. 

Classic Puff

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Short on time and need a hairstyle to withstand your bounce class? The answer is the classic puff. All you need is a curly-friendly hair band to hold the puff in place. 


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If in doubt, cover your hair with your favourite sporty baseball cap! You can even sneak a headscarf underneath depending on your hairstyle, or get a cap that are are satin lined.


The pineapple is the easiest and low manipulation hairstyle around. It's perfect for quick workouts, sprints and more. It doesn't need any fancy hair styling skills or if you find braids and plaits too fiddly this style is for you. 

Afrocenchix Practical & Pretty Workout Hairstyles For Natural Hair:  Side profile of a black woman running on a road

Image credit: @adrienne_ldn

Remember to keep your pineapple high to help limit the amount of contact your hair has with your clothes. We don't want unnecessary friction and breakage going on! 

Afrocenchix Practical & Pretty Workout Hairstyles For Natural Hair: Black woman with Active wear tying shoe her laces

Image credit: @ellelinton

Editor's tip: Please remember, moisturised hair is less likely to break! You can moisturise your hair before and after workout sessions using the LOC method (applying a liquid then oil, then cream in that order) or LCO method (applying a liquid, then a cream, then an oil in that order). 

Fulani-inspired Braids

Ultimate hold paired with ultimate style! We just love the idea of rocking Fulani-inspired braids to our next barre, pilates or yoga class. Because of flat braiding technique, it's nice and close to the scalp, which mean the hairstyle won't be bothersome or uncomfortable if you decide to do an impromptu headstand!  

Afrocenchix Practical & Pretty Workout Hairstyles For Natural Hair: Young Black woman doing yoga with Fulani Braids

Image credit: @MissSanchiaLege 


If your workouts are reactive, high speed or explosive, then cornrows are for you.  

This hairstyle will withstand almost anything you throw at it. So that means you can actually concentrate on your workout and not your hair! 

Afrocenchix Practical & Pretty Workout Hairstyles For Natural Hair: Black woman running with cornrows bun in urban background

Image credit: @vinnynarelle / @carlosm.k

Space Buns

Want to give your workout look a bit of a retro 90s vibe? Then we can't recommend space buns enough. Whether you wear them high or low – we love this hairstyle for dance or Zumba classes. 

Afrocenchix Practical & Pretty Workout Hairstyles For Natural Hair: Light skinned young woman smiling  with space buns

Image credit: @laurennaomi_

High Bun

Protective, pretty and practical – the high bun ticks all the boxes for us! Keep your ends neatly tucked away while you do your exercise and trust us, your hair will thank you for this later! 

Afrocenchix Practical & Pretty Workout Hairstyles For Natural Hair: Standing black woman with high bun in workout clothes

Image credit: @ebonyflowyoga

Head Wrap/ Headscarf

Head scarfs are perfect no matter the season or the activity. When you're having a bad hair day and just want a run or do a class to realise those endorphins, wrap a scarf around your head and you're good to go.

Just braid or twist your hair so that your head wrap doesn't look too lumpy or bumpy. Or use your cute head wrap to spice up your workout updo! 

Afrocenchix Practical & Pretty Workout Hairstyles For Natural Hair: black woman on a pole wearing African print bikini with a headwrap

Image credit: @kelechnekoff

Short Hair 

The best thing about short hair? It doesn't get in your way when you're working out! We suggest grabbing a cute headband keep your hair well and truly out of your face. 

Afrocenchix Practical & Pretty Workout Hairstyles For Natural Hair: girl running black woman with short hair running across a crossing

Image credit: @randomgirlrunning

Editor's tip: Looking for the perfect hair accessories for your TWA? 

The snag-free endless elastic hairbands and headbands in our Essential Accessories Pack have been crafted specifically with curly and Afro hair in mind. They are stretchy, durable and gentle on your hair. If that doesn't say winning workout we don't know what does!

Plaited Pigtails

Want to look pretty while doing your pilates class? We love this plaited pigtails hairstyle. It's super easy to do and once you take out the plaits you'll have a great braid out – nice! 

afroismassive IG pretty plaited pigtails workout hairstyles for natural hair and afro hair

Image credit: @afroismassive

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