True life: gym hair is the ultimate struggle. To all of you who make it look super easy to be chic and sweaty, kudos to you. We can’t say that we’re as lucky — we tend to side with those of you who turn to a high ponytail, messy bun or a quick braid built for convenience rather than cuteness. But as gym-lovers who also have a fiery passion for all things beauty, we realize there must be alternative gym hairstyles that are easy-ish to do and look good, even during the sweatiest of workouts. Sure, they might take you a little more time than that five-second ponytail, but you’ll feel like you achieved the hair straight out of your Pinterest dreams, which will obviously help you crush that workout.

We worked with NYC-based hairstylist Johnny Rackleff to come up with gym hairstyles for every type of workout.

For the Barre-Lover

Shed your sneakers, slip into your favorite sports bra-and-leggings combo, and then secure your hair away from your face. Instead of opting for a traditional braid, consider braiding your hair back into a messy (yet chic!) bun. To get the look at home, you’ll want to start by sectioning your hair down the middle and then clipping back one side while you work on the other. “Secure three pieces of your hair from one section and start the Dutch braid, ending at the nape of your neck,” Rackleff explains. Once that braid is complete, start on the second dutch braid on the second section of your hair. Once you have both Dutch braids, add a hair tie to secure the braids together and then make the remainder of the ponytail into a messy bun.


For the Yogi and Pilates Enthusiasts

We’re here for elevated space buns and soon enough, you will be, too. To give this look extra detail (perhaps, if you have to go straight from the gym to real-life), start by flipping your head so you’re able to start creating an upside-down French braid on the underside of your hair (pro tip: you might need some guidance from a friend the first time around). “Section your hair down the middle and then start the upside-down French braid at the nape of your neck, focusing the braid straight up toward the top of your head where you’ll create your buns,” says Rackleff. Once both braids reach the very top of your head, secure them with a hair tie to create two ponytails. From there, wrap the two ponytails into messy space buns. Finish by securing with bobby pins.


For the Long-Distance Runner or Zumba Dancer

Perfect for the long-distance runner who doesn’t want to deal with hair in her face, this simple-but-pretty French-braid ponytail will do the trick. “Start by gathering all of your hair at the back of your head and then start your French braid in the center,” Rackleff explains. “Pull from the sides to create your french braid and gather as you go down.” When your braid reaches the nape of your neck, gather the rest of the hair into a ponytail and secure it with an elastic. To hide the elastic, “twist a section of hair around the base of the ponytail and then hold it in place as you secure it with bobbie pins.


For the Spinning Devotee

It’s time to chanel the child within who used to love to twist your hair, clip it and call it a hairstyle. In some ways, that’s exactly what you’re going to do to achieve this side-twist-meets-bun look. “Start by parting your hair down the center to form two sections,” Rackleff explains. From there, “start at the front of the first section, wrapping your hair into itself in an inward twisting motion. Once you reach the bottom of your ear, gather the rest of your hair into a bun, securing with a hair tie.” Repeat the same process with the other section of your hair and then prepare to bike your heart out. Consider pinning the twisted part of your hair if you imagine things might get a little crazy.


Photo: Chaunte Vaughn, Makeup: Ashley Rebecca, Hair: Johnny Rackleff




If we told you the cure for frizzy, unruly hair is an old T-shirt, we would expect one of the following reactions: an incredulous laugh, a dismissive scoff or a disturbing stare — or all three, in quick succession. We don’t blame you. It’s hard to look at that ratty high school gym class tee and picture it being the hair-taming miracle you’ve been praying for, but today we’re sharing a trick that may just change the hair game forever. All you’ll need is a plain cotton tee.


Instead of drying your hair with a towel post-shower, swap it for a T-shirt. Here’s why:

“When hair is wet, it becomes weaker and softer,” explains hairstylist Isabella Vázquez. “If we use a regular towel to dry it, the grooves of the towel become aggressors to the cuticle of the hair. Towels absorb all the moisture from our hair when what we want to do is absorb the excess water without stripping it of the moisture that helps the hair from becoming frizzy.”

So why a cotton shirt, you ask? Vázquez says the T-shirt will absorb excess water while preventing frizz. “Because T-shirts do not have the rough grooves of a towel, the flat surface allows water to sink in and slides over the hair instead of roughing it up.”

Another great alternative to using a T-shirt is trying a microfiber towel. We like the NuMe Microfiber Hair Wrap because it’s lightweight and will give you the same smoothing benefits. This drying method works especially well for curly-haired people who are all too familiar with frizzy-hair fiascos. Unlike thick, fluffy towels, a T-shirt or microfiber towel will dry your strands without disrupting your natural curl pattern.


STEP 1: After washing your hair, take a cotton tee and use it to gently wring out any excess water. Then, gather your hair and wrap the T-shirt around it and gently squeeze to sop up the water.

STEP 2: Flip your hair over upside down and pull your hair through the opening of your T-shirt so that the opening stretches around your hairline.

STEP 3: Twist the T-shirt until you reach the end and tuck it underneath the opening at the nape of your neck.

STEP 4: Leave the T-shirt on for 10-15 minutes, undo and style as usual.

Some women prefer to put product into their hair before wrapping it up in a tee. Experiment with it to find the combination that works best for your unique hair type. If you like to style your hair after you shower, run some mousse or styling cream through your strands before twisting it up in the shirt. For nourishing oils or smoothing serums, apply to strands once you’ve let it down from the tee. When your hair has dried, either naturally or by a blow dryer, you should notice how smooth it feels!