Introduction: Helmet Compatible Hairstyles

About: Making and sharing are my two biggest passions! In total I've published hundreds of tutorials about everything from microcontrollers to knitting. I'm a New York City motorcyclist and unrepentant dog mom. My wo…

If you ride a motorcycle or bicycle, wrangling long hair can be a challenge. I've had short hair in my life, but since I started motorcycling in the last few years, I haven't wanted to compromise my strawberry-blonde locks just for helmet convenience. This Instructable describes the most practical solutions I have been using lately, in the order of my preference/frequency of use.

Here are the main factors to consider, as far as I'm concerned:

  • Can't add bulk to the skull area or helmet won't fit comfortably
  • How messy/tangled hair is after riding
  • Compatibility with riding jacket collar
  • No pointy hairpins


No matter what style, I recommend using dry shampoo (or make your own) to touch up those oily roots after your head gets all sweaty, and something to hydrate the ends of your hair after being dried out by the wind.

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Step 1: Low Bun

This is my go-to hairstyle for riding, since it bundles all my hair up tightly right outside my helmet. I twist my hair around itself and use a single strong elastic hair tie to cinch around the base, being sure to catch the ends of hair in the elastic, while holds the twisting tension. Sometimes this hairstyle unravels into a doubled-over twist while I'm riding. Occasionally it interferes with the collar of my motorcycle jacket, which can be annoying. But my hair doesn't get damaged or tangled with this style, and it's easy to put up and take down just for the time you're riding.

Step 2: Braids

Braids are great for riding because they secure your hair along its length, reducing the amount that the wind can flap it around. Since I have fine hair, my riding braids get very frizzy, so I tend to take them out or redo them when I arrive at my destination. A simple crossing-over or crossing-under braid at the center back works fabulously, but sometimes a side braid is even more comfortable, depending on the collar of your riding jacket.

Braids should start at the base of the neck, and although I have managed to do the slightest French braid below where my helmet covers, it's usually non-French braids that work best with helmets.

Consider splitting your braids into pigtails, or switching up the standard braid for a fishtail variety.

If you're curious about braids in general, I've created a beginner braids series to teach you everything you need to know.

Step 3: Ponytail

A plain ponytail may keep your hair out of your face, and look quite nice while doing so. I feel like any overtly feminine hairstyle gains a tad more kindness out there on the road, if for no other reason than to humanize my otherwise robotic form, increasing driver empathy.

The downside of a ponytail is that it can get frizzy and tangled as the free hair blows in the wind. To mitigate this, some riders place elastic bands at various spots down the length of the ponytail, in essence creating a stiff tube of hair. You can also buy hair wraps that do this same thing.

Step 4: Wild & Free

Wearing your hair completely down does have a certain fun appeal to it, but for my fine locks, it's a sentence to some quality time with a brush to take out the tangles. How do you like to secure your hair when wearing a helmet, either moto or bicycle? Share your rider hair tips in the comments below.

Thanks for reading this Instructable! You might be interested in my other motorcycle-related projects: