One of the best ways you can take care of your hair when working out is by using the proper hair tie. Using a hair tie that can hold up to your workouts is essential. To avoid tugging, you want a hair tie that is covered in fabric instead of ones with exposed elastic or rubber. You also want to avoid hair ties with metal fasteners or glue bonding as they can be abrasive to hair.
It’s important to find a hair tie that is compatible with your hair type, density, and texture—whether you have curly or straight, thin or thick hair. “Wavy to tight curly hair works best with silk scrunchies,” Marlene Salas Bolaños, owner and stylist of AJ Salon in Chicago, says. “Your hair won’t tangle when removing the scrunchie, nor will it cause breakage,” she adds.
We looked at the material, style, and utility of a variety of hair ties to find the top options for your next gym session.
Here are the best hair ties for working out on the market.
Best Women’s Overall
GIMME Bands Any Fit Hair Ties
Designed with athletes in mind, our best overall choice are the GIMME Bands Any Fit Hair Ties. They strike the ideal balance of a firm yet gentle grip. They’re crafted to hold up to rigorous activities like running and HIIT, and the seamless style ensures comfort for all-day wear. Better yet, it stays in place so it won’t tug your hair.
Each band is made with hundreds of microfiber elastics that deliver evenly-dispersed tension—eliminating breakage and creasing. And after your workout, you can toss the hair tie into the washer and dryer to remove sweat and oil. With nine bands per pack, the GIMME Bands Any Fit Hair Ties are crafted to work with most hair types. They’re thicker than a standard hair tie, but they aren’t too bulky if you want to wear them around your wrist.
GIMME Bands are also offered in three additional tailored styles for specific hair types, including Fine-, Long-, and Thick-Fit. Choose between Black Onyx, Blondies, Chestnut, Neutrals, and Rustic color varieties.
Price at time of publication: $12
Material: Microfiber | Compatible Hair Type: All types (may not work for very thick hair) | Quantity Per Pack: Nine
Best Men’s Overall
Terra Ties Compostable Hair Ties
These simple black hair ties are made with ethically sourced materials. And since 100 percent biodegradable organic cotton covers a natural rubber interior, they won’t pull or tug your hair. Each pack includes 27 hair ties, and each one is designed to provide a secure hold so you don’t have to readjust.
Not only do Terra Ties keep their shape after multiple wears and stretching, but they’re very difficult to break. When laid flat, Terra Ties measure 2.5 inches wide, and when fully stretched, reach 7.25 inches wide—far more generous than most standard hair ties.
Price at time of publication: $15
Material: Organic cotton, natural rubber | Compatible Hair Type: All types | Quantity Per Pack: 27
Best for Thick Hair
Burlybands Hair Ties for Thick Hair
Firm, comfortable hold
Those with thick hair know that keeping it in a ponytail is no easy task. Heavy and prone to sagging, the hair needs to be held with a sturdy hair tie like the Burlybands—seamless and specifically designed for thick hair. Even when wrapping up to three times, the hair ties won’t cause head pain or breakage.
They’re ideal for high-impact sports and offer a budge-free feel thanks to the 4.75-inch circumference bands. The best part is that the hair ties bounce back every time—no matter how often or how far they’re stretched. Perfect for all hair types and textures, they’re easy and painless to remove. They’re also machine-washable and offered in black, blonde, brown, light brown, dark gray, and light gray.
Price at time of publication: $12
Material: Elastic, nylon jersey | Compatible Hair Type: Thick hair density, all hair textures | Quantity Per Pack: Three
Best for Thin Hair
Invisibobble POWER Traceless Hair Ring
May tangle when removing
May leave crease in hair
Thin hair density refers to the amount of hair you have on your scalp per square inch. This can often be confused with having fine hair, which refers to the texture and diameter of each individual strand. If you purchase the wrong hair tie for your hair type, it can cause serious breakage. But if you know you have thin hair, the Invisibobble Power Traceless Hair Ring will provide you with an extra-strong hold that won’t cause creasing or damage.
Not only does the spiral design safely grip fine hair, but it also gives any ponytail a voluminous, lifted look that will stay in place. Each band is crafted with polyurethane which is waterproof and easy to clean. And each pack includes three spiral hair rings offered in True Black, Crystal Clear, To Be Or Nude To Be, and Pretzel Brown.
Pro tip: To shrink the ring back to its original size after wear, place the Invisibobble ties in a cup of boiling water.
Price at time of publication: $7
Material: Polyurethane | Compatible Hair Type: All types (but specifically made for thin hair) | Quantity Per Pack: Three
Best for Running
Lululemon Light Locks Scrunchie
If you like running at night, you know that safety is a top priority. With Lululemon’s Light Locks Scrunchie, you can increase your visibility at night while holding your hair back securely.
Crafted specifically with outdoor runners in mind, this scrunchie features reflective trim that lights up the night and adds a tastefully subtle design touch during the day. The Light Locks Scrunchie is smaller and tighter than a classic scrunchie for less bulk as you run. It’s also super sweat-wicking and is made from polyester and elastane. You can find it in Pink Highlight, Highlight Yellow, Black, White, and Heather Lux Multi Black. Remember, it’s not just another hair accessory, it’s also a safety necessity.
Price at time of publication: $16
Material: 86 percent polyester, 14 percent elastane | Compatible Hair Type: All types | Quantity Per Pack: One
Best for Curly Hair
LilySilk 100% Silk Scrunchies
Gentle and nourishing, silk is great for both your hair and your skin (unlike cotton which can strip hair of moisture). LilySilk’s 100 percent mulberry silk scrunchies help extend the life of curls by easily sliding in and out of your hair without any tension, tangles, or breakage. Better yet, these luxurious scrunchies leave you crease-free, keeping gorgeous curls intact.
These genuine silk scrunchies are made from 100 percent grade 6A mulberry silk with no added fabrics or chemicals. They’re machine-washable, and each scrunchie stretches from roughly 4 to 8 inches wide. They’re available in 15 different color options, and you can choose from single scrunchies—a major plus for those dipping their toes into the silk scrunchie game—or variety packs.
Price at time of publication: $10
Material: 100 percent grade 6A mulberry silk | Compatible Hair Type: Curly (but can be used by all types) | Quantity Per Pack: Singles or multipacks (One-, five-, seven-, or 15-pack)
Scunci Rolled-Edge Elastics
For a secure ponytail that stays tight without pain or breakage, reach for the Scunci Rolled-Edge Elastics. Seamless and soft, the nylon hair ties deliver stretch that always bounces back. They’re also crafted to form to your pony—so whether you wrap it around twice or three times, it will fit securely in your hair.
Thanks to the twisted material design, they won’t tug hair and won’t leave a crease. And while they work on all hair types and textures, they’re especially helpful for those with thick and heavy hair. Find this six-pack in a versatile black color.
Price at time of publication: $4
Material: 80 percent nylon | Compatible Hair Type: All types (especially good for thick and heavy hair) | Quantity Per Pack: Six
Best for Sweaty Workouts
Nike Scrunchies, 2-Pack
Nike Dri-Fit Technology
Nothing says sweat-ready like a scrunchie equipped with Nike Dri-Fit Technology. The moisture-wicking exterior keeps your neck cool and dry, and they’re machine-washable for a fresh, clean start each time. Fabric-covered and strong, they offer a tight and secure hold. They’re also crafted to prevent breakage and ponytail dents while keeping hair healthy and smooth.
The Nike Scrunchies are made with a polyester and spandex exterior and the individual bands measure 1.2 inches prior to stretching. Each pack comes with two scrunchies featuring the signature Nike Swoosh, and you can choose from color and print combination sets including Black, White, Purple Pulse, and Black/Beyond Pink/White.
Price at time of publication: $12
Material: 87 percent polyester, 10 percent rubber, 3 percent spandex | Compatible Hair Type: All types | Quantity Per Pack: Two
Lululemon Uplifting Scrunchie Bow
If you’re trying to upgrade your style at the gym, the Lululemon Uplifting Scrunchie Bow is a good choice. Offering a healthy way to secure your hair while breaking a sweat, this scrunchie features a delicate bow that can be worn at the top of a ponytail or at the bottom of a ballerina bun.
Designed for both running and training by a brand famous for their high-quality leggings, this scrunchie will keep you feeling fresh after every workout and is machine-washable. It’s made with a sweat-wicking blend of recycled polyester and elastane, and the bow can be retied and reshaped to your liking depending on your style. It’s offered in 26 prints and colors.
Material: 86 percent recycled polyester, 14 percent elastane | Compatible Hair Type: All types | Quantity Per Package: One
Best for Preventing Breakage
Brooklinen Silk Scrunchie Set
Wrap your hair in luxurious 100 percent long-strand pure mulberry silk. These delicate silk scrunchies keep your hair silky smooth and healthy while locking in moisture and eliminating frizz. Brooklinen’s scrunchie sets also protect hair from friction and damage. In fact, these mulberry silk scrunchies eliminate the dreaded hair crease along with head pain caused by overly tight hair ties.
The set includes three thick scrunchies in Ivory, Carbon, and Blush. For best results, hand wash and allow scrunchies to air dry.
Price at time of publication: $32
Material: 100 percent long-strand pure mulberry silk | Compatible Hair Type: All types | Quantity Per Pack: Three or five
Our top picks are the GIMME Bands Any Fit Hair Ties (view at Amazon) and the Terra Ties Compostable Hair Ties (view at Amazon) for their durable design and firm hold. For a scrunchie tailored to running and vigorous workouts, we suggest Lululemon’s Light Locks Scrunchie (view at Lululemon). This tiny, yet mighty scrunchie grips on tight to secure your hair while flaunting reflective piping.
What to Look for in Hair Ties for Working Out
To avoid breakage and stressing your hair, always choose a fabric-covered hair tie. Exposed elastics and rubber bands—no matter your hair type—are infamous for wearing and tearing hair. Also, avoid metal fasteners at all costs as breakage is inevitable when using this outdated design.
Choose from cotton or cloth-covered varieties to super-soft silk scrunchies. Also, explore nontraditional styles like the popular Invisibobble spiral hair ring (view at Amazon).
Breakage and Damage
Fine hair along with chemically-processed hair is highly prone to damage. In order to protect your fragile hair, Bolaños suggests opting for a silk scrunchie to avoid pulling out strands and damaging your hair. It’s also important to remember to always slowly pull out your scrunchie or hair tie—never yank it out in one fell swoop to avoid snagging any hairs.
On the other hand, be aware of overly tight, slicked-back hairstyles, especially closest to the hairline where your hair is the most fragile. Be sure not to pull too tight to avoid breakage and change up your ponytail position when possible to avoid repeated stress to your hair.
Hold and Tension
Whether you have curly, straight, fine, coarse, thin, or thick hair, there are a variety of styles and characteristics from which to choose. To accommodate your hair, look for a balance between size and elasticity—delivering a stronghold by compressing, not stressing, the hair.
Opt for a band with a wide enough circumference to cater to the size of your ponytail along with delivering enough elasticity to wrap around two or three times. Once you secure your style, set it and forget it, and focus on your workout.
Athletes with thick hair often prefer hair ties that deliver enough stretch to wrap around their ponytail at least three times, while retaining its shape after use. If your ponytail sags, that’s a key giveaway that your hair tie cannot hold the weight of your hair.
Why Trust Verywell Fit
As an athlete and fitness enthusiast, Emily Stone always has a stack of hair ties on hand. Having thick hair, she’s put almost every brand to the test. The current top contender on her list is Scunci Hosiery Elastics (view at Ulta) for its firm, stable hold, and the ability to wrap a thick ponytail three times. As a health and wellness writer, Stone researches and reviews products for Verywell Fit with a passion for only recommending the best of the best in each category.