This Workout Hairstyle Is A Recipe For Damage (Nope, Not A Tight Pony)

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If your ponytail reaches beyond shoulder-length, it likely swishes back and forth as you move. This, Smith says, is where you can (literally) run into issues: “If you go for a run and you have your hair loose whipping back and forth, it’s an absolute recipe for split ends and really dry friction burn on the ends of your hair.” 

Too much friction, as we know, can trigger physical damage, lift up the cuticle, and cause frizz. It’s why you might sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase as opposed to cotton or linen fabrics, so your strands glide easier across the surface, which helps them retain their smoothness and shine. (And on that note, you might want to invest in some silk scrunchies to further protect your tresses.) If you’re not engaging in intense activity, this obviously poses less of a problem; low-to-moderate intensity training (think yoga, Pilates, or walking) won’t create as much friction, so a loose ponytail may be A-OK. 

It’s more of a warning for HIIT workouts or jogs: As much as you may want to resemble an iconic Baywatch babe when you hit the pavement, all that swishing back and forth can harm your hair in the long-run. “That’s like whiplash for your hair,” Smith adds. 

Instead, he recommends wrapping your hair into a bun or braid, so that your ends stay tucked in and protected. Again, just make sure you’re not pulling too tightly when you’re tying, so you don’t cause breakage at the hairline. For buns, you might also want to switch up the placement from time to time: “This way it’s not repeated damage in the exact same spot—you’re giving your hair a break,” hairstylist Levi Monarch once shared with us

It’s a delicate dance, and at the end of the day, a few broken hairs shouldn’t deter you from breaking a sweat—regular exercise, after all, is great for your beauty routine. But if you’re an avid runner or you find your pony bopping around during a spin class, you might want to tuck in the ends á la buns or braids. Perhaps save the cute pony for your walk home. 

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