Hair ties are kind of the unsung MVPs of our beauty routines right now, and call me high-maintenance, but my wardrobe of pony-securing scrunchies, binders, and bobbles is way more extensive than many might deem necessary. (I'm also that girl who has three different types of hair ties on my wrist at all times and an additional three thrown into my purse, gym bag, and bedside drawer.) At first, I purely attributed this to my obsession with ponytails. I have no patience for styling, I work out every day, and I also nervous-touch my hair, so it needs to be up and out of the way so I don't seriously annoy anyone in the same vicinity as me.
But then, after consulting my fellow beauty editor Courtney Higgs, my mom (who has short, thin hair), my niece (who has long, extremely curly hair), and a few friends, I realized this is actually pretty normal behavior. Some hair ties are best suited for lounging, masking, and sleeping, while some are far more appropriate for that intense at-home HIIT workout or whatever extravagant updo you feel like experimenting with in front of your vanity. (Hopefully, we'll perfect said style in time for whenever it is we're allowed to frequent our favorite restaurants and other extracurriculars again.) Plus, one of the first questions hairstylists and colorists ask me is what kind of hair tie I use. Turns out the variety you pick can also have a major impact on the state of your strands.
Since hair texture, hair length, and hair thickness needs to be taken into account, I created six different categories of "best hair ties" so Courtney and I could fill in the blanks with our favorites. As someone who's dabbled in bleach and extensions, I've had hair that's about half as thick and long as it is currently, and Courtney has also had her fair share of hair looks. (For instance, when I first met her, she had waist-length braids.) Curious to know which hair ties beauty editors deem "the best" for practically every kind of pulled-back strand scenario? Keep scrolling! Below, we're each sharing the six we love most.
These stretchy ribbon hair ties are my favorite for working out. They’re not the best for ultra-thick or curly hair, but they’re wide and smooth so they don’t cause any damage by snagging or over-extending the hair.
I usually wrap my hair with a silk scarf at night and don’t always secure my hair with a hair tie, but when I do, this is the only one I’ll use. My 4c hair is thick, but my individual strands are actually super fine and delicate, so I only like sleep in hair ties that are ultra-gentle and won’t cause any friction or breakage.
I’ve been using these no-frills elastics for as long as I can remember. They’re stretchy and strong and can secure any hair texture into loose or tight ponytails. Once they’re in place, they’re not going anywhere.
This is my favorite scrunchie of all time. At first glance, it looks kind of wild, but it’s the perfect accessory for making a basic high bun look like I spent more than two minutes on it. I definitely need a “real” hair tie to keep my super-thick hair in place, but this fun scrunchie is the perfect finishing touch.
Yes, they're boring, but these skinny ouchless hair ties from Goody are by far my most-used hair accessory. I've been told by pretty much every hairstylist that even though my texture is fine, I have a lot of hair. These keep everything in place but feel a little better on my hair than super-thick ties. Plus, they have the perfect amount of stretch for me, and I like that they have different color options. I love the blonde for some extra camouflage!
I only wear ouchless hair ties, but sometimes they're not the best for keeping a ponytail in place during a strenuous workout. (Plus, they can stretch out.) These are specifically designed NOT to stretch out, last roughly three times longer than your average hair tie, have a strategic bead that prevents the tie from snapping (especially important during a workout), and, thanks to the bumpy shape, don't migrate down your strands. If I tie my hair up with these pre-run, I don't have to re-tighten or shift my pony even once.
I'm definitely team silk scrunchie for sleeping, but I prefer Slip's skinnier scrunchies to the thicker ones, which usually slide off my hair by morning. The smaller size keeps the bun at the top of my head in place, my style preserved, and never crease. Plus, they're pretty, and I'm usually wearing one around my wrist as well.
I'm obsessed with these hair ties, and I happen to think they're one of the best options on the market for so many reasons. Even though they come in additional colors and thickness options, I like these "Any-Fit" ones which the brand touts as universal for most hair types. The hold is super dependable despite how soft and easy they are on fragile strands. I've never experienced any slipping, snagging, or creasing.
These tiny, clear elastics are classic and pretty much the only thing I use for more complicated hair looks, braids, or any time I need my hair tie to not show. (Celebrity hairstylists also always have them in their kits.) Plus, they're grippy, don't snag, and have really great stick so your style doesn't move.
I mean, do I even have to explain this one? Never have I ever seen a prettier scrunchie, and it's one of those beauty items (despite being an admittedly jaded editor) that truly make me feel happier the second I wear it. Lizzo is also a fan, so there's that. I have the gold iteration that's no longer available, but this silver one is the one Lizzo has worn on stage.
"I do really love my extensive collection of Invisibobbles, but for whatever reason, they didn't make my list. (I guess l like how they look and they do a pretty good job of keeping my hair in place, but they're not my absolute "favorite" for any of the categories listed above.) That said, these are always in close proximity, and I find they're a good option for slower-paced workouts like barre, yoga, or Pilates." — Erin
"These soft scrunchies from Kitsch are always on my vanity and for bedtime. It's either these or the ones I talked about above from Slip. These are a really great option if you find silk hair ties too slippery for your hair—even if you're just sleeping. Since they have some texture to them thanks to the pretty velvet and faux-suede material, they can grip on and stay in place a bit better if you're like me and toss and turn all night. (Plus, they won't crease your hair and are pretty!)" — Erin
"This hair tie is like my middle ground between a heavy-duty workout option and my normal day-to-day hair tie. I didn't use these when my hair was shorter and thinner (due to how thick they are), but now that my hair has gotten healthier and longer, I've found I almost always have one around my wrist or on my key ring. (I warned you that I'm that girl!) Also, neon options make me happy.” — Erin