You may not think twice about your trusty hair tie. Maybe you keep one handy on your wrist or stow an elastic in your bag at all times. You fish it out, gather your hair away from your face, and you’re all set—right? 

Well, not exactly. Take a longer look at your secure style: If you’re noticing more breakage than usual—say, frequent flyaways at your hairline or strands that seem shorter than the rest—you may be causing some physical stress to your hair. And guess what? That trusty hair tie is one of the biggest culprits. 

“People will use elastic and then keep on pulling [the hair] tighter and tighter,” hairstylist Levi Monarch once told us about the best hairstyles for working out. “This causes friction on the hair, and the main reason you see so much breakage with ponytails.”

It’s a delicate dance: You want your strands held snug, but you don’t want them wrapped so tight that they face physical damage. Of course, achieving that balance requires looser styles and gentle hair maintenance—but the accessories you use matter just as much.  

That said, check out our list of best hair ties for every strand pattern and texture. Each of these soft and stretchy bands won’t cause breakage, and some even double as wrist candy. 

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