Women Bike: Helmet hair
Helmet Hair

As women, there are a lot of topics relating to cycling comfort which are either not frequently talked about or just too embarrassing to ask a male salesperson at the local bike shop. Topics like: “I’m hurting down there” or “Do you have any tips about riding while menstruating?” or “Why can’t I find cycling clothes that fit?” You get the idea: personal, women-specific and potentially awkward to explain. We’ll do our best in addressing these topics here.

Today’s topic: helmet hair​​

For you buzz cut rocking ladies, rock on! But this column is not for you. Ladies (and dudes) with longer hair, let’s talk about helmet hair. You know how it goes. It’s the morning and you’re getting ready to ride to work or drop your kids off at school. You’ve readied yourself for the day, washed your face, maybe put on some make-up and done your hair. Yet when you get to work and remove your helmet, your hair looks barely any different from when you got out of bed a few hours ago. The obvious solution would of course be to wait to style your hair until you’re at your destination. But that isn’t always an option. So here are some hairdos to keep you looking good with and without a helmet.

The Braid

Next to short hair, a braid is the most helmet-friendly hairdo. Braids fit snugly under your helmet, keep the hair out of your face and keep your hair from tangled and knotty.

A single braid down the middle also happens to be the most aerodynamic hairdo. It’s true, it’s been wind tunnel tested by Specialized! Plus, there are dozens of different braids to to try - including the side dutch braid recently made popular by Hunger Games character, Katniss Everdeen. The classic Heidi and French braids never go out of style.

And, if you like to wear your hair down, just braid it loosely for the time on the bike and undo it when you get to your destination. It will look just fine.

The Rope

Don’t have time to braid your hair? Try the rope. Start by putting your hair in a mid or low ponytail (mid if you want to thread the ponytail through your helmet’s retention system, low if you want it below). Part the ponytail in two equal sections and twirl or twist each section individually before twisting them around each other. Secure with a hair tie and voila! It’s as easy as that.

The Bun

Messy or neat, the bun is another great way to keep your hair out of your face while diminishing bad helmet hair. Style your hair while still damp or use some anti-frizz product on the top, and make sure the bun is low enough to fit below your helmet’s retention system. If your hair tends to get undone, try two smaller buns on each side. Pigtails If your hair is not quite long enough for a pony tail, low pigtails are great. They keep your hair out of the wind and out of your face.

Ponytail with hair ties

For those with straight, long hair who like to wear it down, try putting your hair in a loose mid- high ponytail. Thread it through your helmet’s retention system, and add another loose hair tie in the middle and bottom of your ponytail. When all is removed, you hair should still be tangle free.

Hairband or wrap

Don’t feel like doing your hair? A nice hairband or wrap may be the easiest fix to keep your hair out of your face and tangle-free. Plus, you can wear it on and off the bike.

Thanks for the positive feedback to this column. I’m happy to help! Please continue to email me your questions at amrook@cascadebicycleclub.org and I’ll answer them anonymously.

Read previous #WomenBike columns, here!