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6 Workout Hairstyles to Avoid Hair Breakage

March 30, 2022

4 Min read

Gym hair days and bad hair days can feel synonymous. First, there’s the task of balancing your hair wash schedule with your workout schedule, which can be harder than college math. Then, on top of dealing with sweaty gym hair days and buildup from too much dry shampoo, you may also experience breakage from tight workout hairstyles. 

As the founder of The Sculpt Society, an at-home dance-cardio and sculpt workout program, Megan Roup learned how to make gym hair days good hair days. Learn her routine below, and check out some of the best workout hairstyles to try.

How to prevent hair breakage from workout hairstyles

Avoiding hair breakage doesn’t mean shunning ponytails and slicked-back styles. “Breakage happens from really tight elastic hair ties or rubber bands,” says Faith Armstrong, Director of Education at Prose and veteran hairstylist. So don’t snatch your ponytail too tight and opt for hair ties coated in silk or fabric rather than straight up elastic. For curly strands, try bungee bands or spiral ties (the ones that look like telephone cords). 

Roup also relies on Prose’s custom leave-in conditioner to protect her strands: “It has been such a lifesaver,” she says. “For someone who always has their hair in a ponytail, I hardly see any breakage.”

Recently, after the birth of her daughter, Harlow, Roup added hair supplements to her routine. “I started custom Root Source™ because I love Prose’s products, and I was also dealing with some postpartum hair shedding after having Harlow,” she shares. “As far as hair shedding, Root Source™ has been a game-changer for me. I’m seeing new hair growth every day. My hair overall feels so strong, and my scalp is feeling more balanced.”

How to keep gym hair fresh without washing every day

Roup watches out for her scalp health by using a dry shampoo that’s customized to her hair type and lifestyle. “I typically only wash my hair once a week, because I use Prose’s custom dry shampoo, which saves me a wash or two throughout the week,” she says. 

It’s important to choose a dry shampoo that’s free of ingredients like sulfates, talc, and added fragrance, which can contribute to irritation and buildup. Look for a dry shampoo formulated with natural ingredients like white clay or witch hazel extract for oil control, menthol for natural fragrance, and tapioca starch for volume.

6 workout hairstyles we love

1. Ballet bun

@meganroup Thanks to @Prose, I can workout daily and wash my hair once a week! #ProseHair #ProsePartner ♬ オリジナル楽曲 - funka (フンカ)

“If you are part of The Sculpt Society fam, you know I absolutely love a high pony or ballet bun,” says Roup. We couldn’t agree more—just make sure to use a coated hair tie and resist the urge to snatch your ballet bun too tight. To keep it secure, pull hair into a high ponytail, coil the lengths into a bun, and tuck in a few bobby pins.

2. Flip-twist braids

flip twist workout hairstyle

This is a great, low-tension workout hairstyle that’s ideal for those who struggle with braiding their own hair. The flip twist is easy: Pull hair into a low, loose ponytail, then flip the lengths of the ponytail through the center of the hair above the hair tie. Just separate hair into two low ponytails and repeat the flip-twist process down each side of the hair to get this look. 

3. Half-up high pony

half up half down workout hairstyle

The half-up high pony is ideal for low-intensity workouts and strength training days. If you have thinner hair, you can beef up your ponytail with a thick scrunchie, which will give you an added, and very on-trend, ‘90s look, too.

4. Dutch braids

dutch braid workout hairstyle

We love braids for many reasons, but mostly because they’re so conducive to bonus hair treatments. Before you create your braids, give your strands a drink of smoothing hair oil or nourishing leave-in conditioner. So while you’re getting your gym gains in, your hair will be getting its gains, too.

5. Braided pigtails

braided pigtails

These braided high pigtails are another braid style for beginners. Just create two high ponytails and braid the lengths of your hair. We love how she left some extra length on the bottoms of her braids. And this is another opportunity to sneak in some hair oil or leave-in conditioner to your workout hairstyle.

6. Classic high ponytail

high ponytail hairstyle

We can’t forget the classic! A ponytail may seem routine, but we love the strength and power of a high pony. It’s giving Olympic athlete.



April Walloga is a beauty and lifestyle editor who’s written extensively on hair health and the root causes of hair loss. She is the former and founding editor in chief of and has been a lead editor at publications like Business Insider, Gotham magazine, and In her spare time you can find her perusing what’s new at Sephora or enjoying Riverside Park with no less than her third cup of coffee that day.

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