How To Wear A Motorcycle Helmet With Long Hair

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Motorcycle hair is always fabulous when you have a Hollywood styling team. But for mere mortals, it's a struggle.

Long hair quickly dries out during a ride and can frizz like you stuck your finger in the socket. So to avoid the sagebrush look, you need to plan ahead.

The best way to wear your long hair when riding a motorcycle is to put something between your locks and the helmet. Examples include neck gaiters, skull caps, doo-rags, and scarves. Styles like braids are better than loose ponytails, and ends should be sprayed with a leave-in conditioner.

I've made the mistake of hopping on our bike with my hair in nothing but a ponytail and neglecting to tuck it into my neck gaiter or jacket. Straw had a softer texture by the time we were done, and let's not even discuss the tangles.

Fortunately, there are better ways to wear long hair when riding a motorcycle. By combining hacks from my surfing days and swapping tips with other riders, I've amassed many ways to keep the tresses from becoming a fright. All will keep your hair from becoming an unsavable mess. Some will also keep your hair looking great without the cost of a Hollywood stylist.

In this article...


13 Tips For Motorcyclists With Long Hair

Like many women, I struggle to find a helmet that fits. When I do find one, there is no way any extras are being stuffed inside. Thus, I find using some of the best helmet hair hacks uncomfortable or impossible. So, I reserve the top solutions for short trips to fancy places. My everyday hair objective is to keep my locks from being ruined by the breeze.

Which hair hack will work for you will depend on the volume of hair, your helmet's fit, and comfort level.

1. Braid (Plait) Long Hair When Motorcycle Riding

Braids are my go-to for motorcycle riding. They minimize flyways and overall flapping, which reduces how much it dries out. A French braid can be elegant, especially under another cover, such as a scarf. However, this is too thick for some helmets. Due to lack of space, some braids need to be started lower down, below the helmet's base.

You can wear your long hair in a single braid or more. However, if you have layers, two or more braids typically work best. To ensure the braids are further protected, tuck them into a neck gaiter or your jacket. Spraying the ends with a leave-in conditioner or dabbing some hair wax will also lock in moisturizer.

2. Tuck Ends Of Long Hair When Motorcycle Riding

No matter your preferred hairstyle when riding a motorcycle, tuck in the ends of your hair. You can tuck them into a helmet, scarf, neck gaiter, your jacket, or even cover the ends in a sock and secure it with an elastic. Leaving hair out in the breeze dries it out, leading to straw-like texture and breakage.

3. Avoid Hairspray When Motorcycle Riding

Hairspray is the best way to increase tangles when motorcycle riding. It also gunks up your helmet and sticks to any hair covering, such as a skull cap. It will also "set" your locks into a permanent helmet-hair style.

If you have to use hairspray, take it to the event. Style your hair at your destination, look fabulous, and then wear a washable covering such as a scarf on the way home to protect your helmet. Of course, once you've returned, you will have to wash your hair to fix the mess.

4. Embrace Spray-On Conditioner When Motorcycle Riding

Spray-on conditioners are excellent for protecting hair in hostile conditions. Surfer preferred brands are typically the best, such as Sun Bum. But for tighter curls, SheaMoisture Hydrate & Repair Conditioner is excellent.

However, unlike surfers, you don't need to spritz it all over. Instead, just protect the end pieces that might work themselves free and flap in the wind.

5. Avoid Loose Ponytails When Motorcycle Riding

Loose ponytails are not a good solution for long hair on motorcycle rides. It flaps behind you like a frayed windsock until it resembles straw that insomniac mice knotted through the night.

If you have the room, a high ponytail tucked into the helmet does work. Low ponytails should be tucked into a gaiter or jacket. But it's never going to do as well as a good old braid.

6. Pack A Brush When Motorcycle Riding

Travel brushes used to be worthless, but they've come a long way in quality. Slipping one in your jacket or tank bag is always a good idea. My all-time favorite is Tangle Teezer. Wet or dry, that brush can get through my thick mess.

7. Use A Doo-Rag When Motorcycle Riding

A moisture-wicking doo-rag can help protect your hair from helmet frizz. It also holds the hair back and out of your face. Do-rags with longer ends can be used to fold over or rolls hair ends to keep them from getting blown to straw.

8. Use A Hair Sock When Motorcycle Riding

A hair sock is brilliant for those with high volume fragile hair, such as dreads. If you can get one made out of satin, even better. One of the best is Soc Loc. They have various types of protection to suit different hair lengths and styles.

9. Use A Diva-Do When Motorcycle Riding

The Diva-Do is excellent for long, silkier hair that is straight or slightly wavy. The Diva-Do is a modified Doo-rag that protects the skull and the hair wrapped in a bun. Watch the YouTube video to see a demonstration.

10. Use A Scarf When Motorcycle Riding

Scarves can be an excellent barrier between your hair and the helmet, reducing friction, frizz, and helmet hair. Satin scarves are the kindest to locks. Silk is the next best choice. It also reduces friction and keeps moisture in your hair. However, it is less forgiving. Neck gaiters, like Buff, can also work brilliantly and are usually breathable and wick sweat away.

Cotton is a poor choice. It soaks the natural oils from your hair and leaves it dry. Also, depending on the weave, cotton can be abrasive to your locks, leaving them frizzy. An exception to this is t-shirt cotton, which is typically soft. However, it doesn't wick sweat away; thus, you could be left with a damp scalp.

11. Use A Skull Cap When Motorcycle Riding

Skull caps can be a great way to hold hair back from your face and protect your hair from the helmet. Some hair types can even be contained by the cap and still fit under the helmet. The best are made to work as liners, as these will help wick sweat away from your scalp, minimizing itch and damp hair.

13. Pile It Up When Motorcycle Riding

Piling up your hair always looks great in movies. But for a simple shot, the helmet doesn't have to fit snug and safe. Thus, the actress's hair can be piled into one the next size up. So, stuffing all your hair up into the helmet will depend on fit.

Some people use a hairnet to help hold the hair up and in a helmet. Other tricks include a high ponytail, skull caps, or a neck gaiter. Some people manage to pool it in before slipping the helmet on (I'm not that talented).

14. Try A Modular Helmet When Motorcycle Riding

Confession: I'm not a fan of modular helmets. Despite being catapulted off the back of our bike in an accident, I walked away with only a few bruises. However, I might have lost my chin and teeth if I had not been wearing a full-face helmet. That chin bar was the only part of my entire head that hit the ground, and I am enterally grateful to that bottom strip.

However, modular helmets are indeed more friendly to long hair. Also, they vent beautifully and make using communication devices a lot easier. The extra space is a miracle for long, thick hair. Modular helmets also provide more options for putting them on and off. Thus, if you are not as face-paranoid as me, a modular helmet might be perfect for you and your tresses.