It’s hard enough mustering up the energy to workout, but throw in a distraction or two, and you might as well call it a day. For any fitness lover who just happens to have hair longer than a pixie, one of the biggest distractions comes in the form of falling down hair. Alright, alright—it’s the ultimate workout distraction. When your ponytail just won’t stay put during spin, your bun comes undone after downward dog, or your braid falls apart after mile two, your whole game could be off. Literally. If you suffer from hair that just won’t stay put during a sweat session, listen up. We chatted with Suave Professionals Celebrity Stylist, Jenny Cho, to learn exactly how to make your preferred ‘do last as long as your workout.
Yogis are likely to want all their hair out of their face and favor a sleek bun for their workouts. But not all of us are skilled in crafting the perfectly sturdy bun. To get a bun that can last through warrior one and two, support is your best friend. Start by pulling hair into a ponytail or a braided ponytail, says Cho. Wrap hair around itself to create a bun and secure hair in place with an additional elastic. “Further secure the bun with several bobby pins and a blast of hairspray to help the bun stay tight and ready for a lot of movement,” says Cho.
Braids are fantastic options for workouts, but if your plait isn’t tight, one jumping jack might just cause it to fall apart before you’ve even broken a sweat. “The key to having a braid remain intact throughout the duration of the workout is to make sure it is secure to begin with,” explains Cho. Begin by blasting an anti-humidity hairspray like Suave Professionals Luxe Style Infusion Anti-Humidity Hairspray ($5, walmart.com) at the root and nape of the neck, before you even begin the braid. Now, when it comes to your braid, Cho says a French braid is really best. “A French braid is ideal because it pulls hair together from the root, rather than the mid-shaft where traditional braids begin.”
But if your French braiding skills aren’t up to par, Cho suggests gathering hair into a ponytail—a high or mid-ponytail if your workout doesn’t require laying down on your head, a low pony if it does—then using a boar bristle brush to secure hair with an elastic. Braid the ponytail and secure hair with another elastic at the bottom of the ponytail. “Having a tight base of the pony will prevent strands from moving around and slipping out during intense movement,” she says of this style.
For many of us, a good old-fashion ponytail is our workout hairstyle of choice. But when you notice your high pony creeping down your neck, your focus quickly switches from how many reps you’re on to, “Is that my hair?” To keep a ponytail in place, Cho says prepping hair is key. “If you have an evening or afternoon workout planned and shower in the morning beforehand, make sure you’re washing your hair correctly,” she says. She recommends a silicone-free shampoo that won’t weigh hair down. But if you’re an early bird and prefer to hop to the gym before the sun rises, Cho advises sleepping on a silk or satin pillowcase. “The smooth texture won’t rough up your hair cuticle as you sleep, so you’ll wake up with fewer frizzy strands—preventing flyaways from popping up during your workout,” she explains.
When it comes time to actually pulling up hair into a ponytail, make sure you grab the proper hair tie. “Choose hair ties that will offer support such as a no-slip grip one,” she says. She recommends classic Goody Ouchless Hair Ties ($4, drugstore.com) because they don’t have any metal to hold the ties together—which can tug and break hair. Another option she loves is Emi Jay Ponytail Holders ($11, emijay.com), which are less damaging to hair and reduce breakage because of the fabric they are made of. “These are thinner, so if your hair tends to slip out a lot, I suggest using two to hold your pony in place,” she adds. Having a hard time getting those ponytails to stay put? Spritz your hair tie with a burst of hairspray or dry shampoo before use to help hold strands together.
Lastly, the thickness of your hair will determine how you handle your ponytail. For thick hair, more support is best, so a double-pony works well, says Cho. To create this, divide hair into two sections above and below the crown. Pin the top section out of the way and create a mid-level pony with the bottom half of your hair and secure with a thick elastic. Lastly, combine the two sections together with a brush to create one large ponytail and secure with a second elastic, says Cho.
Those with thin hair should double up on hair ties (two or three even) to keep a ponytail in place. “Thinner hair holds still better in a mid or lower-level ponytail, as it doesn’t have the ability to fall as much as it would in a high pony. It is also helpful for thin hair to wear a headband that has rubber grips on the inside that latch on to strands,” Cho adds.
No matter which hairstyle you prefer, there is one little thing you can do to give your hair some lift and hold: spray on dry shampoo. Cho recommends spraying roots with Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Weightless Dry Shampoo ($5, walmart.com) to get the job done. “Dry shampoo adds grit and texture that will help your updo sit still, even when upside down in downward dog. An added bonus of using this dry shampoo beforehand is that it absorbs oil so as you begin to sweat during your workout, your hair will already have product in to retain and control it!”