Wrestling to pull out your ponytail is, at best, an uncomfortable process. And if you're not careful, the wrong elastic can yank out an entire clump of hair along with it—particularly if you have delicate strands. Your trick for avoiding any unnecessary shedding, according to celebrity hairstylist Michael Dueñas, lies in choosing the right hair tie. Which is why he suggests using one of the best hair ties for thin hair.
Thin hair or thinning hair tends to be more breakage-prone than its thicker counterparts, so it's extra important to protect it at all costs throughout your styling routine. "Constant, repetitive trauma and damage to the hair bulb or hair follicle can result in unrepairable damage, and over time, the hair may not be able to regrow," Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Pittsburgh, previously told Well+Good. This can happen if you're, say, aggressively brushing through knotted strands, but it can also happen if you're regularly yanking out a friction-inducing hair tie.
"The wrong hair tie will snag your hair, get tangled, be too tight, or thin and cause more breakage," says Dueñas. Because of this, he recommends using a softer, fuller hair tie to stave off damage. "Your hair tie should be wide, snag-free, and have fabric around the elastic," he says. "Or, if you're using a soft rubber one, it should be in the style of a telephone cord, which distributes the pressure and locks into the hair, holding it into place like a comb."
Once you're armed with the right hair tie, you'll also want to take care in how you use it to style your strands. "Do not pull your hair extremely tight when putting it in a pony or pun—leave some looseness around your hairline," says Dueñas, explaining that your hairline is home to your finest and most damaged hair, and that constant tensions will cause it to break.
With that in mind, we asked Dueñas for help rounding up seven of the best ties for thin hair that will protect your strands while leaving your style snatched. Keep scrolling to shop them for yourself.
The best hair ties for thin hair
An oldie but a (literal) goody, these ties will give your hair a tight hold without causing breakage. Designed with fine hair in mind, the elastic is surrounded by fabric that won’t snag your strands. They’ve got a techy stretch core that will help them last 10 times longer than your standard scrunchie, which means that these 29 ties will last you well over a year (that is, if you don’t lose one every day the way I do).
These coiled ties offer hair health benefits beyond just preventing breakage. Their design spreads the elastic’s pressure over a greater surface area, which reduces ponytail bumps and headaches alike. Plus, they come in a variety of colors, and look just as cute around your wrists as they do in your hair.
Silk hair ties are known to be the GOAT for protecting your strands, and this pack of three is well worth its $39 price tag. Because silk glides easily over the cuticle (the outermost part of your hair), it doesn’t create friction the way other polyblend materials do, and therefore allows hair to remain hydrated and frizz-free. I personally sleep in these ties every night, and not only do they help maintain my style while I toss and turn, but I can honestly say that my hair is healthier—and smoother—because of it.
Wet hair and traditional elastics just don’t mix (I’m cringing even thinking about the breakage), but these leopard scrunchies have solved for that. Made from microfiber materials, they’ll soak up excess water in order to help your hair dry faster without pulling on your strands.
It can be tough to find a gentle elastic that’s secure enough to hold your hair in place during, say, a HIIT workout, but these Athleta scrunchies do just that. Made with an active lifestyle in mind, you’ll never have to worry about adjusting your ponytail mid sweat-session.
Struggling with hair loss? Check out the video below for a derm's tips on how to deal.
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