Hairties and Headbands for Runners

Elyses Closet“Don’t come back to practice until you put your hair in a ponytail.” These were the words spoken to me by my late high school coach, Bob Elder. I was a preppy freshman who was more interested in reading Vogue than Running Times. At the time, I much preferred to have my long, brown hair flowing behind me as I did my intervals on the track rather than up and out of my face. In no time at all I not only started wearing a pony tail to practice, I completely threw myself into the culture of running. Four years later, Mr. Elder recounted this small, but crucial demand about the pony tail. In a tearful goodbye during graduation (by both of us), he said that everything on the track I accomplished myself and all he told me to do was wear a pony tail. I give him more credit than that. I pinpoint him as the one person (besides my mother) who has truly had a great impact on my life so far, and helped me foster what I know will be a lifelong dedication and passion for the sport of running.

The pony tail story is one that makes me smile when I think about Mr. Elder. He certainly thought it was important for the female athlete to have the appropriate accessories for practice, and I would agree. If he was able to make the girl who wore heels and pearls to high school every day into a passionate and dedicated athlete, he must have known what he was talking about. The following review of the best headbands and hair ties for running is dedicated to Mr. Elder, who is truly missed every day. I can only hope that I will one day inspire someone as much as he inspired me.

Running Headbands and Hairtie Reviews
I rotated for three weeks among the Lululemon Satin Pirouette Headband, the Under Armour Mini Headband, Scünci No-Slip Grip Hair ties, and the Goody Stay-Put Hair ties. Because I was just coming back from a stress fracture, the last thing I wanted on my training runs was for my headband to fall off or my hair tie to slip out. I don’t stop runs to fix my hair, so the right hair accessory is just as important as finding the right shoes. Additionally, runners put their hair through a lot of abuse with constant showering and exposure to the elements. Wearing a ponytail often also weakens your hair because the point where the hair tie lies can slightly bend and weaken the fibers of your hair. Hence, it is important to find a hair tie that will not put more strain on your hair than is necessary.

Lululemon Satin Pirouette HeadBand Review
Lululemon Satin Pirouette HeadBand ReviewMy personal favorite headband is the Lululemon Satin Pirouette HeadBand ($14). This is not only a very functional headband; it is also a lovely accessory. The inside of the headband has a rubberized material that keeps the headband in place. It is also adjustable, so you can get the proper fit, which also keeps the headband in place and is not something commonly found in sports headbands. Furthermore, I was not only confident that my headband would stay in place, but every time I wore it during a workout, I felt like an elegant and beautiful runner. The headband is dance inspired, but is tough and durable enough for any athlete. It can also serve as a great accessory to any outfit, including your suit to work, a casual outfit with jeans, or even a formal dress. The headband comes in a variety of colors—the black and pink are my favorite. This is the ultimate runner’s headband for both look and function, and as I like to say, if you feel confident with what you are wearing for running, the quality of your workout will be better.

Under Armour Mini Headband Review
Under Armour Mini HeadbandThe Under Armour Mini Headband ($9.99) is a great choice if you are looking for something unobtrusive and simple. This small headband, made of technical fibers, stayed put during my hour run with no problems. Unlike many of the headbands made for sports, this one did not have any of the tacky glue that keeps the headbands from slipping, but because of the small size and non-slip feel of the performance fibers, the glue would have been an unnecessary addition. This headband is great for any run or gym workout. The Under Armour logo is featured prominently on the headband, so it is best worn for workouts, but it functions well and serves its purpose.

Scünci No-Slip Grip Review
Scünci No-Slip GripI found a great hair tie in the Scünci No-Slip Grip (~$4 for 16). This hair tie features the tacky glue on the inside of the hair tie and an attractive, colorful, elastic fabric on the outside. The hair tie was thick enough that I only needed to wear one. During all of my runs, this hair tie stayed in place and the pack of ten came with enough colors that I could easily match them to all of my running clothes. Most importantly, they were durable enough to get me though my workout, but gentle enough that they did not cause any snags or damage to my hair.

Goody StayPut Hair Ties Review
Goody StayPut Thick ElasticsLastly, I wore the Goody StayPut Thick Elastics (~$4 for 10). I was concerned when I first tried these because they have more of a rubber band feel than other hair ties. The idea is that the rubber feel will keep the hair tie in place; however, I thought this would be more likely to snag or damage my hair. I w
as pleasantly surprised. The hair tie gave me the feeling of security – there was no way it could slip, and it left my hair damage free. I think this is a perfect hair tie for a long run under harsh conditions or for blasting a speed workout on the track!

Whether you prefer to run with a headband, a hair tie, or both, there are various products on the market that keep your hair in place and looking great. As serious athletes, keeping our hair in place should not be something we have to think about during a training run, much a less a race, so a dependable hair accessory is vital. We have much more important things to focus on like form, pace, and outrunning our competition!

What are your favorite hair ties and headbands for running? Do you use different ones for different conditions? Any that you prefer to wear when you’ll be going on a group run?

Elyse’s Closet features features women’s focused issues and product reviews, book reviews, and insights from the mind of Elyse Braner.

There are 30 comments

  1. kbrains

    Awesome reviews..I'm always looking for new ways to keep my hair out of my face. I'm def. going to look into buying some headbands!!!

  2. Angela

    Bandannas – nuff said! I actually stole a bunch of perfectly soft, worn down ones from my dad. Free, and you can towel off sweat, wipe your nose, or bandage a cut in a pinch!

  3. Madel

    I lose hair-ties like it's my job, so I like the stretchy ones from CVS that are like 20 for $2. I also really like the free headband I got from lululemon, I'm not sure whether it's the one you reviewed or not. Great article!

  4. Burke

    I love reading your reviews, Elyse. Very well-written and informative. (Especially this one, because I just got bangs and couldn't find anything to keep them out of my face during my runs.)

  5. Anonymous

    Elyse, your product reviews are well composed and insightful; if Shakespeare would have written about women's running products, you would have seen some competition to your reviews. Hope all is well. I look forward to the next addition to "Eylse's Closet"!! ~Ali

  6. Laura

    Thanks for the review Elyse! I always wear hair ties but now I think I might try a head band too!Also, I loved the tribute to Coach Elder…I remember those days (even though I only ran track for the first year). Great review!

  7. Bryon Powell

    Dane,Did you actually have a pony tail? That would be entertaining. I actually have… twice.Amanda,Can't say that I was ever planning on having a blog post on Caumsett. iRunFar doesn't generally cover race results… yet.

  8. Anonymous

    I liked how you presented this topic. That is such a great memory about Mr. Elder. Products tips were very helpful!

  9. Danielle

    I was actually just doing my own very informal research on this same topic. I haven't been satisfied with what I have tried yet, so I will definitely try some of these!

  10. Anne

    Elyse, this was a great article, as usual! It was very well-written and informative. Now that it's warming up in Paris, I'm running again, and I've been trying to figure out what to do with my hair, which has gotten a bit long. (I'm too afraid to get my hair cut in France!)

  11. saschasdad

    Crap, after reading the first paragraph, I was sure you were writing this post, Goat. I can just picture you with a cute ponytail.

  12. Paige

    I love the Goody hair ties, that's what I've been using for awhile now. I have very long and thick hair and these have held up really well. Great review!

  13. Anonymous

    This is a great review. I love the goody hair ties & use a goody headband now, but it is not at all attractive for post-run/workout socializing, so I am going to get the lululemon headband asap!!

  14. Anonymous

    Great reviews! I am a tennis player with constant elastic problems. If I wear only one I have to stop and fix my hair part way through a match (super embarrassing!) and if I wear two, my hair feels too tight and I worry about breakage. I am definitely going to try the two no slip options you mentioned! I didn't even know there was such a thing!

  15. Elyse

    Definitely try the no-slip options. People sometimes don't realize that wearing a pony tail can weaken your hair, besides being able to particpate in your sport, the right hair ties are important to protect your hair. I was wearing two hairties for awhile, and it is harsh. Let me know how you like them!

  16. lynnie

    I know it's late in coming, but you may want to check out the bands they sell are awesome for running and workouts-plus no headache!

  17. Anonymous

    Thanks for the recommendations! My headband seems to fall off no matter what I do, so I've been taking them in and sewing them to be tighter. I may try one of these and they might work better!

  18. Karen

    I make AWESOME no-slip headbands! They are lined with velvet and have an elastic strap connected to a fashionable ribbon- when you put it on, the elastic stretches to conform to your head size, fits firmly like a suction cup…but I promise no headaches. You even forget you're wearing it! Check out my site for lots of different styles. They do NOT slip or roll back and are perfect for sports, yoga, or even to wear when going out. I'll even wear it to bed and wake up with it still in place!

    My website is where you’ll find awesome no-slip headbands!

  19. Jenny McGuire

    I picked up a Sparkly Soul headband at the Diva Marathon that I just did – It stayed in place my entire half marathon and I got a ton of compliments – best of all it didn't give me a headache or slip off my head (everything I used previously fell off my head when I was running!). I have been using them on all my training runs – love these.

  20. RM

    Fabulous article, and very informative reviews, thank you! Other hair accessories good for workouts are bandana head wraps, with stretchy elastic at the back. And for those of you with stacks of headbands at home that are slipping, try spritzing a little hairspray on the inside – wait for the hairspray to get just a bit tacky before putting the headband on. Works wonders!

  21. Kourtney

    We've launched a high performance headband for athletes, unisex and one size fits all. The JUNK Brand's headbands tie tight to stay in place, are extremely comfortable and are made of the most technical fabric for athletes. The headbands wick and quickly dry. We would love to be considered for your next wear test review. Thanks!

  22. Paul

    Terry cloth headbands shouldn’t be slept on either. At Suddora we have great thick cotton headband options. Very durable / comfortable as well.

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