12 functional but cute gym hairstyles for thick hair

All Things Hair | 02 January 2019

Slay your workout in style with our fave gym hairstyles for thick hair!

In light of #NewYearNewMe, hitting the gym is probably high on your 2019 resolutions list, right? Like many other women, your first appearance in your local fitness centre may be a little daunting, not to mention overwhelming (just attempting to set up your locker key is a struggle in itself!). But one aspect you can control is your hair game.

Whether it’s been a while since you stepped into the gym or you’re simply looking to make 2019 an excuse to update your gym look, we’ve shortlisted the top 12 gym hairstyles for thick hair to make sure you look amazing while you crunch, squat and lunge your way to your beach body dream.

12 hairstyles for thick hair that hold tight at the gym


Gym hairstyles for thick hair: Close-up of a woman with long dark curly hair in a ponytail, wearing a sporty green vest top
A ponytail is the simplest way of sweeping your hair back. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

1. Ponytail

No time to spend in the locker room creating an elaborate hairstyle? We still haven’t found a better hairstyle for keeping long, thick hair out of the way than the classic pony. If it ain’t broke…!

Gym hairstyles for thick hair:
Twisting your bun into a figure of 8 shape adds detail to this functional style. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

2. Figure-8 bun

Have thick, long locks? If you find it’s too long to go into a regular bun, try this twisted figure of 8 bun instead by twisting it around on itself. It’ll keep your lengths wrapped up nicely, plus it looks nice enough to wear out after, too.

Gym hairstyles for thick hair: Brunette girl with wavy bob hair braided down the middle in a unicorn braid and tied in a mini bun
This practical braid will work just as hard as you do. Credit: Instagram.com/byrdiebeauty

3. Centre braid

Want to hit the gym in peace, yet still don’t want to compromise on your style? Then we think you should give this stunning centre braid a go!

This style is the perfect opportunity to make the most of your hair’s thickness, since you can braid in the middle section of your mane, before pulling the rest up into a messy half bun. It’s practical, packs a style punch, and will stay put during your workout! Credit: @byrdiebeauty

Love Beauty And Planet Volume & Bounty Dry Shampoo

Editor’s tip: Try spritzing a little dry shampoo (we like the Love Beauty And Planet Volume & Bounty Dry Shampoo) into your roots before braiding. It’ll add more grip and make sure it lasts longer!

Gym hairstyles for thick hair: Brunette model with long hair tied in a looped bun, wearing a lilac gym top
What do you mean you haven’t heard of the looped bun?! Credit: Verity Jane Smith

4. Half looped bun

No basic buns here ladies, spruce up your regular style with this effortless looped bun. Instead of pulling your hair right the way through, stop halfway and create this off-duty looped effect – who says gym hair can’t be chic?!

Gym hairstyles for thick hair: Back view of a woman with brown blonde ombre hair in two double stacked buns
When one bun isn’t enough, double up. Credit: Instagram.com/kristin_ess

5. Stacked buns

If no hair tie in the world can keep your thick mane in place, divide and conquer with this stacked bun hairstyle.

If low space buns are a little too primary school for you, this stacked bun is the newest way to style your tresses both in and out of the gym – meaning you can still hit the smoothie bar after your grueling gym session and look totally on trend. Credit: @kristin_ess

TRESemmé Ultimate Shine Hold Hairspray

Editor’s tip: If pesky flyaways are the bane of your gym life, give your tresses a spritz of the TRESemmé Ultimate Hold Hairspray to help smooth down any stray hairs and to keep your style in place.

Gym hairstyles for thick hair: Back shot of a brunette model with a twisted high bun, wearing a sporty strappy top and sports bra
Russian twists call for twisted buns. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

6. Ballerina bun

Living out those ballerina dreams in barre class? Make sure you look the part with an elegant and durable ballerina bun hairstyle. And don’t be frugal with the bobby pins – the more the better to keep it in place!

Gym hairstyles for thick hair: Back view of a woman with light blonde hair in chunky dutch braid into a ponytail
Chunky Dutch braids will keep hair neatly tucked away. Credit: Instagram.com/whatlydialikes

7. Chunky Dutch braid

Braids for the gym are always a good idea. Take this chunky Dutch braid as a prime example – not only will it keep your thick mane secure but by wrapping some loose strands around your hairband, you’ll have a look that’s neat, gym ready, and worthy of more formal occasions, too! Credit: @whatlydialikes 

Gym hairstyles for thick hair: Woman with brunette naturally curly hair in a high fishtail braided bun, wearing a pink sports top
A braided bun is sure to keep your strands in check. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

8. Braided bun

After a hairstyle that won’t get in your face while you’re mid-downward dog? Here’s a hairstyle that’s made for thick hair – a braided bun. It’s as simple as braiding your hair and wrapping it around on itself to create a bun, but it looks so much more impressive!

Gym hairstyles for thick hair: Close-up back view of Khloe Kardashian with blonde hair in a low sleek ponytail with bobby pin details
We love this hairstyle for anyone with short layers. Credit: Instagram.com/khloekardashian

9. Grip it

As any avid gym-goer will know, the problem with short layers is that they don’t hold very well in an updo, especially when your workout ramps up in intensity.

To counter this, don’t be shy about utilising a bobby pin (or 12!). Guaranteed to hold even the most stubborn and thickest of hairs in place, this nifty styling tool can also double up as a super on-trend accessory, too! Credit: @khloekardashian

Style tip: Are you finding your bobby pins are constantly sliding out of your hair? Then the best inside tip we can ever give is spraying hairspray on your bobby pins before using – it makes them more grippy so they’re more budgeproof.

Gym hairstyles for thick hair: Back view of a woman with long blonde hair in double dutch braids
Hit the spin class in style with this Dutch braid ‘do. Credit: Instagram.com/sass.and.braids

10. Double dutch braids

When it comes to gym hairstyles for thick hair, this double Dutch braid is the fanciest gym hairstyle of all. Before you get scared off, it’s far easier to create than it may first seem. Just be warned: it’s best to avoid attempting this look after arm day, trust us, you’ll need the arm power! Credit: @sass.and.braids

Gym hairstyles for thick hair: Picture of a woman with blonde hair in a high ponytail with a stripy and floral print headband
We’re so glad headbands are making a comeback. Credit: Instagram.com/wild_aspen_headbands

11. Headbands

No longer confined to the realms of the ‘80s, the headband is officially back – and we’re low-key loving it.

No matter what length your hair is, a headband (or, dare we say it, a sweatband) is guaranteed to hold thick hair in place while you reach your workout goals. Credit: @wild_aspen_headbands

Gym hairstyles for thick hair: Selfie of a woman with short bleach blonde hair in a quiff style
Quiffs are great for thick, short hair. Credit: Instagram.com/constancepeach

12. Quiff

If you’re a thick-haired girl with a short pixie style crop, you might think your gym hair options are limited. One great solution is to work a sleek and chic quiff, which works to sweep hair away from the face and hold firm as you burn those calories! Credit: @constancepeach

VO5 Classic Styling Soft Moulding Wax

Editor’s tip: Using a small amount of the VO5 Classic Styling Soft Moulding Wax to style your hair will help to control frizz and keep everything in place.