How Gym-proof Are Workout Hairstyles IRL? We Get Our Sweat and Find Out

There's so much workout hair inspiration out there, but how many of them can actually survive an exercise class? 

With #fitspo still reigning supreme on Instagram, we’ve been inundated with endless amounts of sporty/ gym hairstyles on our feed.

From celebrity-inspired styles like cornrowsboxer braids and half-up buns to your basic throw-it-up ponytails, in theory, it’s all well and good having cute hair for the gym, but we wanted to find out whether these styles could actually last a full workout…

Hey, we’re sure you’ve had the same thought: what is the use in making your hair all pretty only for it to fall out as soon as you start to work up a sweat?

With that in mind, we got our trainers on and tested out 3 of our gym favourite styles to see how they fared – and the results might just surprise you.

Beth Strong, UK Editor

blonde woman with a french braided ponytail hairstyle

Braids are a popular gym go-to but are they actually worth the effort?

Before: “I’ve got really thick hair, so for my at-home workout I put my hair into a braided ponytail to see what it could do. If I’m honest I was going to fully French braid it but my arms ached too much so I gave up, ha!”

back view of Beth JBE at ATH with a French braided ponytail
Still intact!

After: “As you can see it did become slightly dishevelled and if I was actually going out afterwards I probably would’ve redone it, but I think it did pretty well considering I was on the mat for part of my workout.”

“Because I didn’t want to wash my hair that day as I knew I’d be working out, I used a bit of dry shampoo as a substitute (my fave is the VO5 Post Gym Refresh Shampoo) and I think this helped to keep the plait in place. Overall – not bad!”

Sweaty star rating: ⭐⭐ 

Leona English, Editorial Producer

back view of a Leona, Junior Beauty Editor ATH with a cap on and hair in a bun
Sports caps: they keep your hair under control AND let you hide from people in the gym, woohoo!

Before: “I like wearing a cap to the gym as it means I can block everyone out and focus, so I need a style that won’t get squashed under it. I’m always wearing my hair in a low blogger bun as it’s one of my favourite styles, so I wanted to see if it would work for my weightlifting session.”

back view of a woman with a low bun and cap on
Your hair won’t look messy if you were rocking a messy bun to begin with 😉

After: “You wouldn’t think a messy bun would be that durable, right? But it was perfectly fine for doing weights and had only loosened a tiny bit by the time I was done, which I think probably has something to do with the TRESemmé Botanique Curl Conditioning Mousse I already had in my hair from work that day.”

“Hilariously though, even though it survived my workout, it did fall out on my walk home… typical!”

Sweaty star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Amra Markic, Digital Editor

woman with her hair in half up half down long box braids
Amra’s everyday protective box braids.

Before: “Because my hair is in braids right now, it’s quite heavy. So when I turned up for my spin class, I knew getting my hair back out of my way was a priority. After all, spin = sweat central.

However, I’m restricted in what I can do without my hair tie snapping, so I went with a basic pony and took my seat on the bike.”

woman at the gym with long box braids in a low ponytail
How did the classic pony hold up?

After: “Even though it stayed put for the most part, as we stood up and down on the bike it was shaking out of place a bit, which started to annoy me. Next time I might try a braided ponytail instead and see if braids-on-braids are any more long-lasting.”

Sweaty star rating:  ⭐⭐

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