When transitioning into a vinyasa flow or pushing through that last set of burpees, chances are the state of your hairstyle is the last thing on your mind. For most of us, as long as the hair is out of the way, pretty much anything goes. But Instagram contains a treasure trove of sleek style ideas that would keep curly hair secure throughout a vigorous gym session, and that are also so aesthetically pleasing that you’ll want to wear them again and again. 

Maybe a few new workout styles will even spark the motivation to keep your fitness routine in motion this year. You know the saying: “When you look good, you feel good”—and we’re inclined to agree.

Ahead, you’ll find 15 hairstyles that are functional enough to handle a workout, and trendy enough to wear with confidence while you run all of your errands afterwards. 


1. Sleek High Bun

Pictured: @kaykayx__

If you tend to want your hair to be completely out of the way during a workout, you’ll probably appreciate this smooth look. Slick your hair back into a high bun, leaving two small sections of hair for braiding. Create two braids, cross them, and pin them back near the bun. Add extra hair to make the bun fuller and throw in a few hair piercings for added flair. 

2. Straight-Back Cornrows

Pictured: @tylauren

Straight-back cornrows are classic for a reason. They never really go out of style, but they can easily transition from glamorous occasions to a sweaty session on the treadmill. Add hair to turn up the drama or to add length to short hair. 

3. Space Buns 

Pictured: @jasmeannnn

Sub in two buns for the quintessential lumpy gym ponytail! Split your hair in two halves and then two ponytails. Then twist each ponytail down and secure them with bobby pins to recreate this look. If

you find your baby hairs curl up after the workout, don’t sweat it—just smooth them back into place with your favorite edge control and go. 

4. Multiple Barrettes 

Pictured: @truleytalentedbeauty

Flyaways can be easily disguised with some intentional accessory placement! Keep stray hairs at a minimum with barrettes and clips. The more the merrier.

5. Bubble Pigtails 

Pictured: @amandarrwalker

This unique take on pigtails looks pretty involved, but it’s surprisingly simple—definitely quick enough to do before a workout. If you need some help with it, take a look at the detailed tutorial on this style. Don’t forget the hair cuffs to top it off.

6. Fro-Hawk 

Pictured: @goldynaps

No matter the length, a fro-hawk is an easy (and super fun) way to keep hair out of the eyes and off the shoulders. To replicate this style, gather your hair into 3 large puffs down the center of your head and adjust/fluff them as-desired. You can also pin your hair up towards the center instead of using elastics. 

7. Braided Ponytail 

Pictured: @samanthapollack

The Sade-inspired low braided ponytail has been floating around amongst curly influencers for a while now. Not only is it gorgeous in its simplicity, but it’s incredibly effective at keeping curly hair protected and contained. Pull your hair back into a low ponytail, and braid the loose hair. Add braiding hair, too, if you want that extra length (and you know you want to!).

8. Flat-Twisted Ponytail 

Pictured: @curlie.lexi

In my eyes, flat twists will always be the easiest and most attractive style to do on a whim, especially if your braiding skills are lacking. If you want to get involved in a spontaneous fitness activity on a wash-day without many accessories and tools, flat twists are for you. 

9. Puff/Headwrap Combo

Pictured: @curlygallal

When you’re really pressed for time, you can’t go wrong with the pineapple puff. Wrap a scarf or a headwrap around the style to give it a bit of an elevated look, and also to keep stray hairs from falling down or into your eyes. 

10. Braided High Ponytail 

Pictured: @ashley_masse

If you’ve already got a protective style in, like braids, a simple high pony will work wonders. And the confidence a high ponytail invokes is unmatched—a perfect workout staple. 

11. Half-Up, Half Down

Pictured: @jaleesa

For lighter workout days, securing half of the hair in a ponytail will suffice to keep faux locs, passion twists, box braids, etc. out of sight. 

12. Jumbo Side Braid 

Pictured: @camilacvieira

One single side braid is a quick fix for particularly long hair. Just braid along the perimeter of the head and secure the hair with a gentle elastic or scrunchie. 

13. Low Bun and Silk Scrunchie

Pictured: @tropicurlie

A simple style can look luxurious with the right accessories! Accentuate a low bun with a pearlescent silk scrunchie to prevent frizz and breakage while you focus on your fitness. This one is the French Mulberry Silk Hair Scrunchie from Black-owned brand Soie Silk. 

14. Chunky Cornrows

Pictured: @curlbellaa

Even the most skilled braiders can take a while to finish small braids. These chunky cornrows will have you spending less time braiding and more time in your workout. The two braids across the front frame the face without obstructing the view. 

15. Cornrows and Ponytail Extension 

Pictured: @freshlengths

Try wrapping some wavy braiding hair around your ponytail when you’ve got some time to spare in your schedule. This cornrowed low ponytail combo is both sporty and elegant, making it a great option for attending a post-workout social gathering. 

How do you style your hair to prepare for a workout? Which of these styles would work best for your routine? As always, share your thoughts below.