Anyone who’s ever practiced yoga knows of its life-changing benefits: reduced stress, greater self and body awareness, a leaner physique, heightened intuition, a stronger connection to the divine, we could go on and on. It’s also no secret that New Yorkers (and millions around the world) have taken to this ancient discipline, which first started in India and has now garnered legions of devotees. The proof is in the pudding, as the physiological, psychological and spiritual benefits of yoga have long been documented, and needless to say, investing in your mind and well-being is always a great choice. And although looking good usually takes second place when you’re knee-deep in practice, it never hurts to choose the right yoga hair.
No need to overdo it: All it takes is yoga hairstyles that are both practical and stylish, and won’t glisten with telltale sweat or act as a grease-trap (Sorry, wet-look fans, this just hits too close to home in this case!). The holy grail is a look that keeps your hair out of your face and the back of your head bump-free, while also looking like, you know, that you haven’t given up on life somewhat. Because chances are, in true athleisure form, you’re stepping out of that studio and going straight to work, or to coffee with friends or maybe even a day-date—so why not get a ‘do that does both?
Read on for the most stylish takes on yoga hair we’ve seen around:
9 Stylish and Practical Yoga Hairstyles
1. Dutch Pigtails
They didn’t nickname these “boxer braids” for no reason. Dutch braids, especially when rendered in the now-viral pigtail version, conveniently tuck every strand into place while you do your thing. The clincher? They can also snake around your scalp and not bump up the middle or back of your head, which is clutch when you have some serious matwork to do. A lightweight leave-in conditioner, like Nexxus New York Salon Care Hydra-Light Leave-In Conditioning Foam, can help keep your links clean of flyaways and static.
2. Bubble Pony
The Braid For Girls Who Can’t Braid Good! A bubble ponytail, or one that’s been segmented with hair ties from base to ends, gives a clever, trompe l’oeil braid effect that entails little more than tying hair in a row, one after the other. This yoga hair look can be done in two ways: first as a high pony at the top of your crown, or second, as a low pony that starts at your nape. Protect your hair from damage when removing your ties by prepping it beforehand with a serum that guards against breakage (all that tugging!), like Suave Professionals Split End Rescue Serum.
3. Cornrow Braid
A ponytail that feeds off from several cornrows or braids at the hairline is an edgy mashup that also feels comfy on the mat. You don’t have to overthink this yoga hair look—simply take a few sections at your fringe area, start braiding (a French or Dutch plait may be your best bet) and incorporate it with the rest of your hair into a low ponytail. It does the job while still showing people that yes, you still have a life that demands some slay—one that may or may not include a cool job, a date or a gaggle of a time with friends—outside the studio. An oil spray, such as TRESemmé Botanique Damage Recovery Elixir, helps keeps your base smooth and the rest of your pony manageable, sans greasy feel.
4. Bow Bun
Because you’re Pinteresty and damn proud of it! A literal, super-meta bow bun is that tongue-in-cheek, slightly more superior take on a regular half-up top knot, with just as much practical purpose. It’s piled high on the very crown, which means you can lie down on your mat without fear and/or anguish. It’s also—and most importantly—really, really cute. Women who do their hair up in protective hairstyles such as box braids (as above) can also look into this option to spiff up their yoga hair game.
5. Half-Up Space Buns
Wow everyone at your next class by taking hair cues straight from the latest runways. Space buns done in a half-updo style are not only painfully easy to recreate, they’re also pretty comfortable, and sorta edgy too. Simply split the top half of your hair in the middle and twist each half till it resembles a rope. Coil the rope around its own base to create a bun, and secure with a hair tie. For extra texture, mist your hair with a salt spray like Suave Professionals Sea Mineral Infusion Texturizing Sea Salt Spray. This, together with the body heat after your workout, will help infuse your hair with extra-sexy body and tousle when unfurled.
6. Twisted Rope Pony
On that note, why not try your hand at a twisted pony? Similar in intention to the bubble pony, this yoga hair look entails just twisting two strips of the same ponytail around itself, much like a rope strand, and securing at both ends. Trendy, nearly effortless and almost annoyingly cool, in a how-come-I-didn’t-think-of-that manner, it’s a surefire way to walk in and out of your workout #owningit.
7. French Braids
Braids are always a staple in yoga or other core workouts, as they do a good job of keeping hair securely away from the face while you’re in the zone. French plaits also allow you to lie down completely flat on your back—crucial for a lot of yoga asanas or poses—without tendrils escaping from your hair tie.
8. Twisted Halo
A halo braid is the ideal updo for a full-on yoga practice, as it frees up the back of your head for lying down, and your crown for those intermediate headstands. Sweat from a hot Bikram session can also encourage sexy beach waves after you unfurl the weave.
9. Low Bun
A low, no-nonsense bun is a quick, one-and-done look that can be achieved in less than a minute. Keeping the bun in the hollow of your nape still allows you to do your poses comfortably, and frees up your third eye for that all important step: recognizing the light in yourself and others.
Want more workout hair inspiration? Check out our roundup of the coolest gym hairstyles.