You’ve got your fierce workout gear, a space reserved in your favorite class or a route mapped out for an epic run. Admit it, though: You’re worried about how you’re going to keep your hair in place while you sweat it out without completely destroying it. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
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According to Los Angeles-based hairstylist Lora Michael Hobbs, there are two secrets to preserving a hairstyle through a tough workout. First, hair needs to be secured in the same direction you’re hoping it will go afterward. And second, bobby pins.
“Any style that causes the hair to change direction abruptly or that makes it bend the way a tight barrette or a headband does can affect your hairstyle so much that you’ll have to wash it to get it back to the way you want,” says Hobbs.
You can avoid all that with this hairstyle, which relies on gently twisting the hair. “It might look like it’s a throwback to the ‘Sound of Music,’” says Hobbs, “but it’s functional, and it works.”
Step 1: Part Your Hair
Separate your hair as you normally do, and then make a zigzag part down the back. This distributes the weight of your hair more evenly and won’t make a defined line in your hair after your take the hair out. Pull everything back except for the sections that frame your face.
Or if you tend not to part your hair at all, Hobbs recommends twisting the top section back gently and fastening it with bobby pins at the crown of your head after creating a little volume up front.
Step 2: Start Twisting
On one side of your part, gently begin twisting the first section away from your face. How tightly you should twist depends on the thickness and condition of your hair. “If you have very thick, shiny, silky heavy hair, you have to twist it tightly,” Hobbs says. “Otherwise it’s going to loosen up.” But if you hair is fine or fragile, then a less severe twist will do.
Step 3: Lock It Down
After an inch or so, secure the completed portion of the first twist to your head with a bobby pin. Not sure how to do that? No surprise there, says Hobbs, since most women today haven’t really grown up using them correctly.
“The trick is in how you anchor them,” says Hobbs. The wrong way: just pulling some hair back and trying to pin it in place. “That will slip out,” says Hobbs. “The way to keep it in place is to get your hair to hold your hair.”
To do that, use the unopened pin to grab a few strands of hair, and then cross them around the section that you want to pin down. Finally (and this is key), push the pin into your hair from the back of your head toward the front, because that’s what locks it into place.”
Step 4: Pull in More Hair and Keep Twisting
As you keep working toward the base of your neck, pull more hair into the twists while keeping things pretty close to the hairline. After a couple of inches, fasten again with another bobby pin. The look you are going for here is sort of ancient Roman laurel wreath meets Coachella.
Step 5: Make a Bun or Smooth Down the Ends
If your hair is short, Hobbs recommends that once you’ve twisted the hair so it’s behind your ear, secure it on the side of your head with a few bobby pins. However, Hobbs suggests twisting longer hair into a coil and then fashioning the coil into a Princess Leia-like flat bun.
“Start in the center and twist out so that it actually gets larger,” says Hobbs. “Think cinnamon roll. And then tuck the last piece of hair into the bun and anchor it with bobby pins.” Hobbs cautions that if you pull the bun too tight it will just make the ends wonky when you let your hair down).
Step 6: Repeat All Steps on the Other Side
You’re halfway there and probably a master at twisting and pinning now! So it’s time to repeat everything on the other side. Twist, pin and make a bun.
Once you reach the bottom, you have another option: create a single larger bun using a bun maker, which keeps the hair from collapsing down on itself.
Step 7: Unravel and Go
After your killer workout, unfasten your hair and let it fall into its natural place. Allow it air-dry, or blast your scalp with a hair dryer set on cool to speed up the process.
Roots a little oily? Spritz on some dry shampoo or work a very small amount of smoothing cream through the drier ends to even out your overall texture. “The goal is to make it look like you meant to do this with you hair,” says Hobbs. “So if the roots are a littler oilier than then rest, you can even it out with some products.”
So, Does It Work?
According to LIVESTRONG.COM editor Rachel Grice, yes! As long as you can master the “bobby pin lock.” She gave the style a test-drive while doing burpee tuck jumps and lunges on a hot spring day in San Diego, and she reports that the look held up pretty well.
“I was really skeptical that the bobby pins would hold my long, thick hair,” says Grice. “But I was pleasantly surprised. Afterward, I just shook my hair out, and it looked great!”
Grice admits that the bobby pin lock was a bit hard to master, but once she did, she was good to go. She also recommends that those with thicker or longer hair opt for two buns over one.
Her takeaway: “If you’re looking for something beyond the basic ponytail or bun, this is a fun option that won’t wreck your hair.” And with fewer hair woes to worry about, you’ll be free to go for the gold — or just sweat it out — in style.
What Do YOU Think?
Would you try this hairstyle? Or if you’ve already tried it, what did you think? Did it hold up through your workout? What other hairstyles do you rely on to keep your hair out of your face while you work out? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!