Hair Care Solutions For Athletes – By SheaMoisture

It is possible to be an athlete who trains every day without destroying your hair. As I wrote here, my journey to Ironman Lake Placid would be one of re-discovering my femininity. I’ve never been a manicured girly girl, but since entering the world of triathlons, my look is mostly workout clothes (often with dubious smells) and a bun. I’m trying to change that. Not so much in my style but how I take care of myself. I haven’t found a solution for my skin woes – an ever-increasing amount of wrinkles appearing at the speed of light. But I have found a solution to my hair which was faded, brittle, split and blah. I found more than what I was looking for: a company whose products I love with a commitment to the communities from where the ingredients are sourced. So let me introduce you to SheaMoisture.

Disclosure – they sent me a HUGE box of products which I am still having fun experimenting with. I have not received any further compensation and opinions here are my own.

I first met SheaMoisture at Hispanicize, an event focused on Hispanic Marketing. I don’t like getting my hair and make-up done at conferences, but was intrigued because I read about the company’s history and commitment to fighting poverty in Africa. I love everything that has to do with fair trade and development so I stopped by their booth.

Ended up getting a hair style at Hispanicize!

Ended up getting a hair style at Hispanicize!

SheaMoisture is the legacy of Sofi Tucker who, as a 19-year old widowed mother, began selling Shea Butter and other natural remedies in Sierra Leone. Four generations later in New York, it’s the same natural and simplistic formula that goes into the SheaMoisture products today.

Their mission:

To make better-for-you beauty, hair and skin care products with certified organic and natural ingredients, always be eco-friendly, cruelty-free, fair-trade. We give back the goodness by supporting charitable organizations and women in under-served communities globally.

Okay, so I loved the company mission but what about the products?

I wrote SheaMoisture for help in restoring my hair. As a triathlete, training for an Ironman in Miami, every darn day my hair is dripping wet with sweat.  My hair also has to deal with sea water, chlorine and the monthly application of hair color to cover up my “maturity!”

My hair also has identity issues.  It is neither curly nor straight and it absolutely hates humidity – a bummer if you live in the tropics. All it does is puff right out without rhyme, reason or style. However, as a triathlete and working mom I really don’t have time to blow dry my hair every day. So this is the routine:

Wake up, Braid, Sweat, Shower, Bun, Repeat

What I look like after training, pre-SheaMoisture.

What I look like after training, pre-SheaMoisture. You can see my hair gets fried.

This has caused havoc. My hair was brittle, dry, and unhealthy and that’s what I told the folks at SheaMoisture who recommended the Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Collection. They also sent me the Zanzibar Marine Complex Collection which has just launched, and a few other goodies.

Though I’ve tried both collections, the Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Collection seems to be the work horse of getting my hair back to life. It is designed to remedy breakage, dryness, coarseness and loss of luster, and contains a proprietary blend of certified organic Shea Butter to deeply moisturize, Jamaican Black Castor Oil to promote healthy hair growth, Peppermint to stimulate the scalp, and other key beneficial natural and certified organic ingredients.

SheaMoisture, Jamaican Castor Oil Line

I use this collection on days where I will abuse my hair: days where the workouts are long in the sun or in the water. Here’s my new routine:

 Pre Workout: Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave In Conditioner

I spray my hair with water and generously apply the leave in conditioner. By the end, my hair is completely wet and sticky. I put it in a braid or pony tail and head out to swim, bike or run to my heart’s content knowing my hair is protected. The best part is that I when I take my braid or ponytail off, instead of ripping my hair apart as it used to get knotted into the elastics, I just slide them off without doing any damage. The conditioner seems to create a smooth barrier sealing in the nutrients.

I can sweat like crazy, but my hair is protected.

I can sweat like crazy, but my hair is protected.

Post Workout:

If I poured on the leave in conditioner and mistreated my hair, especially with chlorine, I stick to this collection in the shower as well. When I first rinse off to apply the shampoo, I notice my hair is already soft from the leave in conditioner that did its’ job while I was training. The shampoo has a different texture and doesn’t lather as much as other shampoos; this because there is nothing in it other than 100% natural ingredients. The scent here is soft, like a shea butter. If you want a stronger scent in your shampoo … the Superfruit line might be more appropriate. What I care most about is to protect my hair from the sea, salt and sweat and since I put so much leave in conditioner before working out, I like that this shampoo does a great job of cleaning any build up.

I then apply the regular conditioner, which does have a consistency I am used to, but I do not apply the leave in conditioner again.

The shampoo has a different texture than I'm used to but is effective doing it's job.

The shampoo has a different texture than I’m used to but is effective doing it’s job.


To say I style my hair is to stretch the definition of “styling” to it’s absolute maximum. Generally, I air-dry and once it’s dry it tends to end up in a braid, ponytail, or bun. I live in Miami. It’s hot and humid and I have two boys who I am constantly schlepping around. A long coiffed hair on a daily basis is just not part of my existence. However, I now use the Jamaican Black Castor Oil Styling Lotion. It feels like a light body cream but it’s actually for your hair and is absorbed super fast. Once it’s on, then I put my hair up and am ready to go on my merry way knowing that once again, my hair is protected and will continue to be smooth once it gets off the braid.

The collection also includes a serum, edge treatment (which works like a styling gel without it feeling like a gel) and hair masque. I have applied the serum and masque but those are not for daily use, and I have found that between the edge treatment and the styling lotion, I lean on the lotion more often.

The styling lotion is AWESOME.  Super light but provides shine, hold, and strengthening

The styling lotion is AWESOME. Super light but provides shine, hold, and strengthening

But I don’t always abuse my hair and sometimes I like to use the Zanzibar Marine Complex Collection instead. It is another restorative collection and uses seaweed-based ingredients that are ethically sourced from small co-ops of women seaweed farmers in Zanzibar, and certified organic Shea Butter which is ethically sourced from seven women’s co-ops in Northern Ghana.

sheamoisture, zanzibar line

Having worked in international development, I can’t tell you how much I LOVE that fact about this collection and SheaMoisture in general.

The Zanzibar Marine Complex has a stronger scent than the Jamaican Castor Oil, but not as strong as the Superfruit. It’s a light scent that I could smell when riding my bike which I absolutely loved.   I tried the same process as above but didn’t feel the leave in conditioner was as protective as the Jamaican Castor Oil line. On the other hand, the feel of the Zanzibar shampoo is closer to a “regular” shampoo and less liquid than the Jamaican Castor Oil one.

My shower caddy now a days

My shower caddy now a days

The one product I loved in this collection is the Sea Salt Texture Spray. Again, I’m in humid Miami and my hair has a very unattractive frizz when the humidity index soars. The worst part is that when I leave the house, my hair is usually damp (remember, I’m constantly rushing) so when I look at the mirror it’s not too bad. Though by the time my hair is dry … it’s horrific.

Pre SheMoisture my hair would be great for the meme "what you think you look like, what you actually look like"

Pre SheMoisture my hair would be great for the meme “what you think you look like, what you actually look like”

With the texture spray though, I have hope. I put it on while my hair is damp and just tussle it around. What I see in the mirror as I leave the house is how it stays for hours. My hair is still touchable, it’s not stiff and styled, but it doesn’t frizz up into a mind of it’s own.

Okay, I need a haircut but the difference is astounding.

Okay, I need a haircut but the difference is astounding.

Though SheaMoisture is coming up with a Salon line, these products are conveniently found on their website or in places I go to such as CVS, Target, and Walgreens though the Zanzibar line is exclusively sold at Target.

I know, I don’t usually write reviews like this but don’t worry, it’s not an affiliate program kind of thing … I don’t get a bonus for your purchase!  I just really like the products and even more the community based initiatives their purchase supports.

I’m sold.

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