Helmet hair solutions
April 1, 2009 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Any suggestions for battling helmet hair related to bicycle riding?

My current helmet has vents that produce odd ridges in my hair that don't come out, even after wetting my hair. For the record, I'm a male with short to medium-short hair (although the length doesn't affect whether I get helmet hair or not.) I really like riding my bike to work and I don't feel safe riding in traffic without a helmet. Is there a type of helmet that is better for not messing up your hair or are there other tips?
posted by imposster to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Slick your hair back, or at least *pull* it back before applying helmet. smoothing it back and donning a bandanna helps, too.
posted by notsnot at 1:22 PM on April 1, 2009

Seconding the bandanna.
posted by jillsy_sloper at 1:23 PM on April 1, 2009

I just wear a little cycling cap underneath (or a bandanna works fine too). Bonus: if you are like me and often ride with damp hair, you won't get as cold (if it's chilly when you ride ... that's kind of nice when it's warm).
posted by R343L at 1:23 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

A few tips:

- A bandanna under the helmet will at least uniformly flatten your hair. You'll still have helmet hair, but at least you won't look like a Klingon.

- Keep your hair short.

- Explore options for washing your hair at work (I know this is unlikely) or try different products (gel, paste, whatever) to re-style your hair after your ride. A compact hair dryer may also help.
posted by wfrgms at 1:26 PM on April 1, 2009


I did and never looked back....
posted by evilolive at 1:29 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

A helmet that's closer to unvented, either the kind worn by downhill/bmx dudes or the kind worn by time-trialists, probably wouldn't produce the ridges. Of course, it probably won't be as cool, either.
posted by box at 1:34 PM on April 1, 2009

i'm with evilolive on this one. shaving the head has saved me untold quantities of time, money, and worry
posted by nameless.k at 1:37 PM on April 1, 2009

Does the styrofoam of your helmet sit directly on your head, or do you have an internal suspension inside your helmet? Giro makes helmets with RocLoc 4, which snugs the helmet around your head (and means it doesn't actually touch the top of your head, at least it doesn't feel like it). That might work.

If a bandanna isn't too hot, that seems like the easiest solution.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:38 PM on April 1, 2009

Here is THE answer.
posted by educatedslacker at 1:44 PM on April 1, 2009

Do what the cycling pros do, and get a cycling cap! They're cheap (~$10-12) and can easily be stowed in any pocket.
posted by Wild_Eep at 1:48 PM on April 1, 2009

Tuck all of your hair under the helmet, so you don't just get the dome on the top.
posted by not_on_display at 1:51 PM on April 1, 2009

Thanks for all of the helpful answers. I never knew what those little bicycling caps were for before. A simple solution like a bandana never occurred to me and I thought those unvented helmets were for skater dudes only.

Is it okay to wear a cycling hat underneath a skater helmet? Or is that a fashion faux pas?
posted by imposster at 2:03 PM on April 1, 2009

I drench my hair in the sink afterwards and apply some product. I keep a towel and a jar of styling wax in my cube. The type of product doesn't matter so much as long as it's something with solid hold.
posted by advicepig at 2:04 PM on April 1, 2009

If you shower in the morning, make sure your hair is totally dry before you put your helmet on and ride to work. The goofiness of my helmet hair is directly related to the time I spend drinking coffee and surfing the internet between shower and commute.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 2:15 PM on April 1, 2009

Possibly inappropriate for your hair length, but I find hair that's been treated with hair straighteners is much more immune to any wind or helmet effects. Yeah guys can use them too. Works wonders pre or post cycling too.
posted by Elfasi at 4:21 PM on April 1, 2009

a welders cap will work.
posted by Taurid at 6:33 PM on April 1, 2009

I am a man with long hair and I wear a cycling cap under my helmet. The brim flips up nicely and it uniformly flattens my hair as it drys in the morning.
posted by wcfields at 7:13 PM on April 1, 2009

Bonus on the bandanna: you still get *some* cooling from the vents, but you have sometinng to sop up sweat. (in the summer, i have a sweat problem when I ride. Like, so much sweat that without a bandanna, my glasses get fogged with sweat residue. With bandanna, I can go an hour at a time without sweat problems.
posted by notsnot at 8:20 AM on April 2, 2009

I was really excited about this question till I realised it's by men for men. Can I shoehorn in and ask what people with shoulder length hair do? This post mostly emphasis the importance of helmets (along with other general bike related advice).
I like to tie my hair up in a high ponytail, but the helmet squashes it. So far, I'm stoical about this, but would love to know what others do.
posted by slyrabbit at 8:35 AM on April 3, 2009

slyrabbit, there are helmets with a notch cut in the back specifically for anyone with a ponytail. You may have to tie it lower, then re-tie it after riding, but it can be done. Your local bike shop can help you find one that meets your requirements.
posted by Wild_Eep at 9:23 AM on April 3, 2009

Thanks Wild_Eep! Found this, will try my local before I splurge
posted by slyrabbit at 1:25 PM on April 3, 2009

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm now using a Bern Brentwood over a Walz cap. No more helmet head.
posted by imposster at 10:31 PM on May 19, 2009

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