Tested: 3 Gym-Friendly Hairstyles That Actually Stay Put


Paley Fairman

Fact: There is nothing I loathe more than hitting my stride during a tough workout only to have to pause to fix my hair. Yet that’s been my reality for much of the past several months. After only needing a single hair elastic to contain my waist-length hair for years, my troubles began when I cut it all off into a short shag cut early this year. It turns out piecey layers and burpees don’t really mix without an arsenal of bobby pins to hold down the fort—a lesson learned after one too many classes spent wiping sweaty hair out of my face.

My hair has since grown out a few inches, and I’ve gingerly started branching out with new workout hairstyles to see if my layers and former bangs are just long enough to stay put on their own. (It’s kind of like a game of bobby-pin Jenga: How many can I take out without my locks tumbling down?) With slightly longer hair comes more possibilities, but it’s still a tricky balance, to be sure, especially as I continue to amp up my fitness regimen. And with this all in mind, I thought it might be time to formally pit a few different “gym-approved” hairdos against each other to see how well they can really withstand an all-out sweat sesh.

Those of you who follow Byrdie’s Snapchat (@byrdiebeauty) saw the challenge go down live: Three days, three tough workout classes, three hairstyles, and three quick (but honest) reviews. But keep reading below to get the full story, as well as a look at the before and after photos for each ’do.

Can I offer winners in different categories? For prettiest post-class look, the edge goes to the half-knot, which somehow looked even better after that steamy yoga class—even if it made me miserable during. The boxer braids get top marks for versatility. But if we’re gauging which look was truly the most sweatproof, the real champion was the good old topknot—in addition to still looking sleek after a tough sweat sesh, it also required the least hassle.

What’s your go-to gym hairstyle? Which was your favorite of the ones seen here? Sound off in the comments below.