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Are Hair Ties and Ponytail Holders Bad for Your Hair?

Damaged Hair

Are Hair Ties and Ponytail Holders Bad for Your Hair? Are Hair Ties and Ponytail Holders Bad for Your Hair? Are Hair Ties and Ponytail Holders Bad for Your Hair?

When you want to get your mane out of your face, throwing your strands up with a hair tie is likely your first reflex. In fact, you may even have a handy ponytail holder worn around your wrist at all times or one tossed in your purse that you can pull out in a pinch. You’ve likely been sporting hair ties and ponytail holders since before you can remember as these hair accessories are a staple in every bathroom drawer, but what if they do more harm than good? Below, we’re sharing the truth about hair ties and hair damage so you can continue rocking updos without any consequences.


Let’s cut to the chase—could your hair ties and ponytail holders be doing damage to your hair? It all comes down to the type of hair tie you’re using, as well as the hairstyle you’re sporting. The wrong ones could be putting stress on your strands!

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using covered rubber bands made especially for styling hair to avoid damage. This means any elastics or rubber bands without fabric covering them shouldn’t really have a place in your styling routine! As far as hairstyles themselves go, per the AAD, it’s best to keep tightly pulled hairstyles to a minimum to avoid damage. This includes sleek ponytails, cornrows, and tightly weaved braids.


We called out hair ties to avoid, but chances are you’ll want to stock up on alternatives that won’t take a toll on your locks. Here are six hair tie options that your strands will thank you for!


You’ve likely heard of the wonders silk pillowcases can do for your hair, so it should come as no surprise that silk hair ties are a good idea as well. Covered in super-soft silk fabric, these hair elastics won’t cause breakage—not to mention they’re super chic!


Thinking this hair accessory is a blast from the past? As it turns out, this ‘90s favorite has made quite the comeback in recent years. You’re bound to come across scrunchies in your travels, and with extra gathered fabric covering the hair elastic, you can see why they’d be kind to your strands. Need some style inspo? Check out our article, Embrace the '90s Resurgence by Trying These 4 Scrunchie Styles.


You may have seen this hair accessory in the beauty aisle, but wondered about its peculiar shape. This old school phone cord-like hair tie is likely far from the traditional ponytail holder you’re used to. Its unique shape has a purpose, though: It won’t leave your hair with dents or marks when you take your strands down from a pony or messy bun. Since they're also a gentle option for your hair, we’d say it's a win-win.


Another non-traditional option, bungee bands are great for ensuring the weight of your mane is evenly distributed, so no strain is put on your strands. This type of hair tie is particularly useful for those with thick hair. The band of fabric is connected with a hook and loop system—simply wrap it around your gathered hair and attach to secure your style.


Feeling girly? Consider grabbing some ribbon hair elastics to add to your collection. As you can probably guess, this type of hair elastic is made from ribbon, allowing it to be smooth against your strands. There are even some options that have excess ribbon at the ends so you can tie it into a cute bow!


If you want a trendy option, allow us to point you in the direction of hair scarves. Perfect for spring and summer, the length of fabric can be wrapped any way you’d like then tied into place with the ends hanging down. Pretty, right? If you need more details on how to tie hair up with a scarf, here’s How to Wear a Head Wrap or Hair Scarf.

Next: 12 Bobby Pin Hacks to Up Your Beauty Game