Love riding your bike, but hate having to tame your hairstyle after you take your helmet off? When we ran our Instagram collaboration with Cycling Mums Australia, we got loads of #RideReadyHair inspiration from women across the country.
Now we’ve put them together to give you some easy-up bike helmet-friendly hairstyles that’ll keep you feeling (and looking!) great after each ride.
Why Does a Bike Helmet Mess Up Your Hairstyle?
Arguably, the least pleasant side-effect of cycling is what it does to your hair.
There’s nothing worse than stopping for a coffee after ride and catching a glimpse of yourself in a window… That’s when you realise your hair is stuck-down in the shape of your helmet, your fringe is spiked up like a boy band member from the 2000s, or it’s gone crazy-scientist levels of frizzy.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Here are some of the biggest culprits that are sabotaging your ‘do:
- Using too many hair products. Hair products weigh down your hair and can cause it to stick to the inside of your helmet. Mix that with some sweat, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for hair that’s moulded to the shape of your helmet.
- Friction. As you move around on your bike, your helmet naturally rubs against your head. If you’re prone to frizziness, you’ll know exactly what happens when you take your helmet off.
- Damage. If it’s been a while since your last trim or hair treatment, your hair will be more prone to breakage and frizziness in general, but especially after wearing a bike helmet.
While not everyone with medium to long hair will need to worry about their post-ride hair, these easy hairstyles will keep your hair at least somewhat under control during your ride.
Even in the worst-case scenario, if your hair doesn’t look Instagram-ready after your ride, it’s not a big deal. Your hair looks messy because you worked for it, which is infinitely better than being a couch potato with great hair!
How to Save Your Hairstyle After a Ride
In a perfect world, you’d have everything you need to tame your ‘do right after a bike ride.
But more often than not, you’re caught unprepared and don’t have your stash of hair products, sprays, shampoo, conditioner, leave-in, hairdryer, straighter, rollers, and bobby pins with you.
Who can blame you? It’s not like anyone goes for a ride with their entire stash of beauty products in their bag (but more power to you if you do!).
Here are a couple of easy-to-carry products you can take with you if you want to spruce up to socialise after a ride:
- A comb or brush
- Dry shampoo (the mini-bottles are perfect for backpacks)
- Frizz-taming spray
- Hair ties, a hat, or a scarf. If all else fails, simply tie up or hide the untamed mane.
Our Favourite Bike-Friendly Hairstyles
The Half-Up Tuck (a.k.a The Chic Commuter)
If you’re cycling on the weekend, bad hair is a lot easier to manage. You can simply go home after your ride, wash it, and style it back to perfection. But it’s not that easy if you’re going into the office and need to look presentable as soon as you hop off your bike.
This bike helmet-friendly hairstyle is ideal for commuters who want to keep their hair looking great when they arrive at work, but it’s equally lovely for general wear too.
- Pull a section of hair from the front right-hand side, then take a section of hair from the front left-hand side.
- Pull back and cross each section over the previous section, and pin into place with a cute hairclip.
- Et voila! In just a couple of minutes, your hair is tidy, neat, and most of all helmet-friendly!
Because this hairstyle leaves most of your hair at the nape of your neck, you might find yourself sweating more if it’s a hot day or if you have a long ride. To avoid letting your neck get too hot, save this style for cooler days or short rides.
Loose or Braided Pigtails (a.k.a The Dorothy)
While kicking your cleats together won’t automatically get you home, you can get there in style with the Dorothy pigtails.
Don’t be fooled by the somewhat juvenile name. Low pigtails are great for those with long hair, or for those of you with simply too much of it. Pigtails are the ideal hairtstyke for all types of bike helmets and they suit just about anyone. Win-win.
After your ride, you can even undo your pigtails and enjoy your naturally beachy waves.
- Separate your hair with a centre parting which spans from the front to the back of your head.
- Pull your hair into two sections, using the parting as your splitting point.
- Using a hair-tie, you can choose to leave your tails loose, plait them, or bunch them into small buns.
- Even if they get a little loose after a thoroughly good ride, pigtails are really simple to neaten up and adjust.
The Plait (a.k.a The Lara Croft)
If you prefer to lock your hair down and really tame the mane for your bike ride, then you can’t beat the security of a well-braided plait.
If Lara Croft’s plait can stay in one piece while being a total badass, then your plait will survive an action-packed bike ride.
- Comb your hair back to ensure all tangles are worked loose.
- Divide your hair vertically into three equal sections; left, right and middle.
- While holding all three sections, cross the right section over the top of the middle section, so that it becomes the new middle section.
- Now, cross the left section over the new middle section.
- Repeat crossing the sections over the middle, alternating between left and right.
- If you find that you have too much hair for a single plait, you can always split it up into pigtail braids.
Braided or Twisted Buns (a.k.a The Princess Leia)
Your bike ride may not involve intergalactic space war, but if double buns can work for Princess Leia, they can surely work for your hair too!
- Part the hair with a centre parting, as you would when styling pigtails.
- Create two plaits, one from each of the two sections, and secure with a hairband.
- Roll each plait into a bun and secure with bobby pins. Adjust the height to suit your helmet and preference.
Top tip: We highly recommend this hairstyle for any bike rides taking place on May the 4th!
Low Ponytail (a.k.a The Classic)
Last, but most certainly not least, the low ponytail is a popular go-to hairstyle for cyclists who don’t want to faff with plaits, parting hair or strategically placing bobby pins that hold your hair together. There’s no easier hairstyle for riding a bike than this one.
Pull it. Comb it. Tie it. Simple!
Whether you prefer your tail to cascade down the side or billow behind you like a majestic hair-cape, wear it how you like it!
Finding a Bike Helmet to Match Your Style
Of course, some of these hairstyles may not work with the type of helmet you have. It’s best to try out a couple of styles to see what suits you and your helmet.
One of our favourite helmets is the S-Works Prevail II + ANGi MIPS Helmet which features a Ponytail-ready HairPort SL II fit system that allows the rider to pull their ponytail through and keep it off the back of the neck.
Another great feature is the safety aspect of this helmet is the integrated ANGi crash sensor to give you and your loved ones peace of mind like never before. The sensor will detect a crash and send a text message to specified contacts in your phone. It also syncs with the Specialized app and STRAVA® to provide GPS-based activity tracking.
The team at Specialized also tested some of the above hairstyles. Watch and see which style delivered the least ‘drag for your do’.