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The 10 Very Best Hair Ties

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Hair ties seem innocuous enough, but a surprising amount of those on the market will actually damage your hair. Some ponytail holders will trap and break dry or fine hair. Others will leave creases on thick, curly hair. As a teenager, I used the wrong hair ties and didn’t even realize the damage I was causing until a hairstylist pointed out a line of breakage in a hand mirror right where I would tie my ponytail. “A major issue with common hair ties is that your hair gets stuck in the fibers, and when you pull them out, you’re pulling out hair,” says Dominick Pucciarello, a New York hairstylist. So to find the best hair ties — the kind that will treat your precious strands with kid gloves — for all kinds of hair, I asked Pucciarello and six other hairdressers to share their favorites so you can avoid the mistake I made.

Best overall | Best coil-style | Best for curly hair | Best for damaged or processed hair | Best adjustable-tension | Best bungee | Best silicone | Best elastic | Best overall scrunchie | Best scrunchie for wet hair

What we’re looking for

Style: While all hair ties serve a similar purpose (keeping your hair up and out of your face), you want to choose a style that is best for your particular hair type. A traditional elastic is an affordable, all-purpose option that works for most, while coil styles are great if you often style your hair and don’t want any creases, dents, or bumps. If you have damaged, fine, or processed hair, we suggest a scrunchie. And bungee or snap-style ties are great for natural texture, braids, locs, or for those who want to adjust the tension of their ties as needed.

Material: In addition to the style of hair tie, the material is important. Choosing a traditional elastic material is great if you like a tight hold, while softer materials such as polyester, microfiber, and stretch are best if you are trying to reduce frizz or tension. And those with more fragile hair should almost always opt for silk.

Best overall hair ties

Traditional hair tie | Elastic 

Two of the stylists we talked to agree that Scünci No-Slip Grips are great for basically all types and textures of hair. Whether you have thick, heavy hair or fragile, finer hair, No Slip Grip holds hair in place without any damage, promises Laura Polko, a Los Angeles hairstylist. Liana Zingarino, a stylist at Serge Normant by John Frieda Salon in New York, confirms that they work well for wavy and curly types, too. And while these have the same anti-breakage appeal as Scünci’s traditional no-damage ties, they are made of a thicker, anti-slip material to keep curls in place, she explains.

Best coil-style hair ties

Coil style | TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane)

Three of the seven stylists we talked to recommended coil-style hair ties, which have become popular in the past couple of years and look like old-school telephone cord. Despite looking like they’d tangle your hair, they will not, our stylists confirm, saying they are ideal for people who want to sleep in hair ties or just wear them without rumpling hair too much. Two of our experts specifically mentioned these Invisibobble ties, which were the ones I tried first after I decided to upgrade my hair ties. I was impressed with the hold they offered without leaving any creases and didn’t notice any pulled-out hair when I’d take them out at night. Andrew Fitzsimons, a stylist in New York, seconds that: “The traceless hair ring leaves no dents or bumps in your hair, is comfortable to sleep in, and is durable enough to hold any texture.” And if you’re more of a scrunchie person, the brand just launched some with its trusty coiled hair tie sewn in.

Best hair ties for curly hair

Traditional hair tie | Microfiber 

While Cassandra Normil, New York City–based session hairstylist, says these could work well for any hair type, she thinks they’re “especially amazing for anyone who has thick, natural, and curly hair.” She has naturally coil-y hair, and these work well for her because they “don’t snag or break and are very flexible.” These are Gimme’s thickest style, meant for very thick and curly hair, but if the style appeals to you and you don’t need such a heavy-duty tie, Gimme offers a variety of hair ties based on your hair density, which Normil thinks is one of the perks of this brand. You can get a fine fit, long fit, and “any fit” for medium hair types, and Gimme offers different colors. For those not sure which option will work best for them, there is a “fitting kit,” which is a mix of four different hair-tie types.

Best hair ties for damaged or processed hair

Scrunchie | Silk 

According to two of our stylists, damaged, processed hair probably benefits most from the revival of the scrunchie trend, since those don’t expose hair strands so directly to elastic. “If you want to get more fancy with your hair ties, the Slip silk skinny scrunchies are the way to go,” says Normil. Not only do they look nice, but the silk is actually “great for your hair” because, as she explains, “it keeps the moisture and the natural oils” intact.

Best adjustable-tension hair ties

Snap-style hair ties | Nonelastic, stretch material 

Fitzsimons is a huge fan of the Snappee Hair Ties for women with natural texture hair, braids, or locs because they don’t use the traditional elastic tension found in common hair ties, he says. “Plus, the soft texture of these doesn’t create frizz, and they can be customized to fit your hair’s thickness while snapping back into shape after use.” You can also combine two Snappee hair ties should you need extra length.

Best bungee hair ties

Bungee-style hair ties | Polyester

Weber told us that she loves using these ponytail holders with hooks on the ends for her own hair as well as on clients. Weber says the hooks “help you adjust tension as needed.” Because they’re literally open-ended, these elastics, which fasten with little hooks, can be worn as tightly or as loosely as you like. That flexibility, in turn, reduces stress on the hair.

Best silicone hair ties

Traditional hair ties | Silicone

Normil recommends silicone hair ties because they’re “easy to clean” with “no drying time.” (She adds that yes, all other hair ties should be regularly cleaned and dried). They’re much easier to maintain, and you don’t have to toss them once they get dirty, as you would other elastic hair ties. And while you might think silicone ties would slip and slide, Normil promises they provide an all-day hold and work for any hair type and density.

Best elastic hair ties

Traditional hair ties | Elastic 

If you don’t want the ponytail holder to show, try these clear elastics that Jasmine Burnside, celebrity hairstylist and licensed cosmetologist, says “give you the tight-ponytail look without pulling or snagging the hair.” They’re flexible yet durable, so they won’t break on you, and Burnside specifically calls them “amazing.” For short cuts, braid ties, or any other smaller twist, Polko swears by polybands, which slide easily on and off and come in five compact sizes, which tend to work better for smaller ponytails or buns. The clear reusable hair elastics disappear into even the most intricate of styles. “Always polybands. Always,” she says.

Best overall scrunchie

Scrunchie | Silk

In addition to the thinner Slip scrunchies above, I also swear by their thicker style. I find that the elastic inside the scrunchie is strong, while the silk protects my fine hair from tension breakage. Plus the silk has a good amount of slip in it so there is never any pulling. I always have one either in my hair or on my wrist. While they are a little pricey, I’ve found that they last years without the elastic getting too lax.

Best scrunchie for wet hair

Kitsch Towel Scrunchie
$14 for 2
$14 for 2

Scrunchie | Microfiber

Your hair is at its most fragile when wet, which makes it difficult to know what to do when you get out of the shower and want it out of the way. Burnside calls these scrunchies “perfect” for getting ready when you get out of the shower because they remove excess moisture “without overdrying or damaging your hair.” Due to the microfiber, towel-like material, they’ll help dry your hair and won’t leave a crease as it dries.

Our experts

Jasmine Burnside, celebrity hairstylist and licensed cosmetologist
Andrew Fitzsimons, hairstylist
Cassandra Normil, New York City–based session hairstylist
Laura Polko, hairstylist
Dominick Pucciarello, hairstylist
• Beth Weber, hairstylist and founder of Refuge Hair
Liana Zingarino, stylist at Serge Normant at John Frieda in New York
Dominique Pariso, Strategist writer

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The 10 Very Best Hair Ties