How gym-proof are workout hairstyles IRL? We get our sweat on to find out.

Beth | 02 January 2019

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.

Can our hairstyles actually survive a workout? We put them to the test.

blonde woman with a french braided ponytail hairstyle

Beth Strong, UK Editor

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.”

TONI&GUY Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo

“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 TONI&GUY Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo) and I think this helped to keep the plait in place. Overall – not bad!”

Sweaty star rating: ⭐⭐ 

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!

Leona English, Editorial Producer

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 TONI&GUY Volume Plumping Mousse I already had in my hair from work that day.”

TONI&GUY Volume Plumping Mousse

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

Sweaty star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Amra Markic, Digital Editor

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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