In recent weeks I’ve become increasingly obsessed with BJJ hair and how women (and men with longer hair) deal with the grappling + hair ‘issue’. With the help of friends of MegJitsu on Facebook, I’ve been working on compiling an album of Jiu Jitsu Hair. You know when you’re thinking about a new hair cut and you look up ‘100 best short hair styles’ or something, well the aim is to create that sort of gallery, but for jiu jitsu hair. So, folk have been sharing their BJJ hair pictures and stories, including Lana Hunter, a blue belt out of Texas. Not only has Lana managed to keep her hair long since beginning BJJ, she’s managed to grow it longer and keep it from getting ripped to shreds. In fact, Lana has shared some exciting secrets, which she’s agreed that I pass on to you, gentle reader.
There’s two aspects of Lana’s hair strategy: 1) braids: either the double French plait or a high ponytail that’s braided; 2) the right hair ties. Many women with longer hair work the ponytails and braids, but I think Lana has discovered hair ties that can help your style withstand training that much better:
I use the Goody Stay Put Ponytail Holders. These have little plastic grooves in them and they are much stickier to the hair than most ponytail holders. I’ve also bought them in the smaller sizes, they don’t work as well. They do eventually stretch but they are so worth it!
For small sections of hair, like the ends of my braids I’ll use the Scunci No-Slip Grip Skinny Hair Tie. They are lined with some sort of sticky plastic on the inside of the hair tie to help it grip to your hair while you grapple!
Holy awesome hair tip, Batman! Big thanks to Lana for taking the time to share her hair picture and hair tie review. Have a great cut or style for your grappling? Email me your photo or post it on my wall and I’ll whack it in the gallery! Checkout the full jiu jitsu hair gallery
6 Jul 2011 @ 7:30 am
Thank you for this. I have long mousy hair and preserving it has become something of an ongoing challenge. Two things I do which sound a little crazy: I only shampoo my hair once a week, and I use the smallest amount of shampoo. After class, I apply a liberal amount of conditioner to my dry hair, work it into my scalp, then rinse.
A couple of years ago when I started ramping up my training to 3 and 4 days a week, I was shampooing my hair like a madwoman, and it kept getting thinner and thinner. I decided to switch things up and voila’, my hair became happy again.
As for hair styles, french braids fall out quickly in class, but I might try the hair ties you suggested and experiment with another style. I will let you know how it goes. Right now I use a simple braid down the back, but I want to try a sort french version of the “half up, half down” style.
Do you know anyone or have you ever tried Ovation Cell Therapy?
6 Jul 2011 @ 7:43 am
Hi Dag, thanks for your brilliant comment! It is my pleasure and I am happy to pass on the information. I am sure some might think this is a frivolous topic, but managing hair so that a) you can perform unhindered in training and b) so that your hair stays in good condition are totally legitimate concerns.
I’ve never tried your conditioner trick before, and I might give it a go! I have thick hair, but it is cut short in a ‘pixie’ style and I too only shampoo 1-2 a week, but always rub my scalp in the shower very thoroughly between shampooings. I’ve heard dry shampoo is a great alternative that doesn’t wear the hair out. I haven’t tried it or Ovation yet, though.
Good luck with the hair ties, let us know how you get on!
23 Jan 2014 @ 3:30 pm
I used to only shampoo once or twice a week, but when I leave jiu jitsu class my hair is completely wet and matted with sweat, and the back of my gi is dirty from the mats, which I can only assume means my hair has been mopping up all that grime too.
Do you do anything special to get the dirt and sweat out between shampooings?
28 Jan 2014 @ 3:14 pm
Hi Jess, all things being equal I’d prefer to shampoo one or twice a week too. I’m usually in a very short pixie cut, so I feel okay about giving my head a good scrub on the scalp and working through the hair with my fingers in the warm water. This approach probably wouldn’t suit hair longer than a few inches, though I couldn’t say from experience. I do find that I shampoo more when my training schedule is more demanding and I always use petroleum free and SLS free shampoos like Faith in Nature, which are easier on my scalp. Hope that helps.
6 Jul 2011 @ 8:34 pm
Meg, you don’t know how ecstatic I am over this article. I’ve always felt silly wondering how on earth I was going to do my hair for BJJ class. My hair is pretty long and I still haven’t mastered french plaiting my own hair. This article is the greatest thing I’ve read this year. Thank you for sharing!
7 Jul 2011 @ 7:39 am
Wow, Terr, thanks for the super enthusiastic comment! There is nothing silly in figuring out the best way to keep your hair in check when training. Some of the dudes at my gym were laughing at my Jiu Jitsu Hair initiative, but 90% of them rock a ‘Stathem’; when you’re bald it is a lot more straightforward. I explained that it is a legit concern, 1) to ensure that hair doesn’t hinder performance (it isn’t a frivolous vanity, but a practical concern) and 2) to keep hair from being destroyed (again a lot more straightforward if you’ve got a shaved head/dead follicles). I personally think being a woman rocks and there’s nothing silly in sharing strategies for keeping longer hair out of the action and in good condition 😉
Thanks so much for reading and commenting, really appreciate it 🙂
6 Jul 2011 @ 8:59 pm
Love the idea of a hair gallery!! The right hair ties are vital for me. I do the braid thing as well and my hair is very straight. Regular hair ties slide right out. I have to get the ones that have little rings of rubber just to make them stay in place during grappling. My braid doesn’t usually get in the way. It’s the whispies in the front that are always getting pulled out. But that’s because I’ve been lazy about using clips for a while now.
7 Jul 2011 @ 7:41 am
Thank you, Allie! I would love a pic of your training/competition ‘do as you do have very long hair (that looks totally healthy!) and I want to be sure to include short and long styles. I’ve also started including the guys; they make jokes but secretly they like to be included 😉
24 Aug 2011 @ 4:47 pm
I LOVE this! I’ve lost so much hair to BJJ. I’ve been wearing my hair in a samurai style bun on the top of my head, and its creating these little baby hairs around my face from where my hair is being ripped out! Totally gonna try out the braids! Thanks Meg & Lana!
24 Aug 2011 @ 8:39 pm
Yay! I’m glad it was helpful you, Jenn, and thanks for commenting. When you find something that works for you, feel free to email a pic or post on the MegJitsu FB wall 😀
25 Aug 2011 @ 4:05 pm
Double braids for class/corn-rows for tourneys seem to work the best with really long hair. One guy in my gym once choked me with my braids! Ponytails must be redone after every match, and often get stepped/knelt on when someone tries to pass your guard.
25 Aug 2011 @ 4:07 pm
Hi Kim, thanks for your comment! LOL at the outrageous cheek of trying to choke you with your braids XD
4 Sep 2011 @ 4:24 pm
At our gym the samurai “top knot” is pretty popular among our girls, or a modified ponytail/bun way of doing up the hair is also used a lot to keep the hair up. I have long curly hair, so I usually do the ponytail/bun thing, but I’ve played with the braided pigtails as well, which sometimes get stuck in your own gi and restrict your head movement. I always seem to look like a mess after rolling though, so I’m loving the idea of a hair gallery 🙂
4 Sep 2011 @ 5:20 pm
Glad you like, Katie and thanks for your comment! We’ve got a good collection of styles emerging; men’s and women’s. Perhaps shoudl include here too for those who don’t use Facebook 😀
BJJ Hair | Women in BJJ | BJJ Women | BJJ Gi Reviews | MegJitsu
8 Sep 2011 @ 9:00 am
[…] jiu jitsu hair gallery to complement BJJ hair ties. Many thanks to those friend of MegJitsu on Facebook who took the time to contribute their photos. […]
7 Dec 2011 @ 1:23 pm
Awesome topic idea, and hopefully my BJJ hair experience may help some. I started martial arts several years ago and more recently BJJ. I train six days a week, so I always had my hair tied in a tight braid. Just recently however, I was rolling and noticed large amounts of hair- like tumble weed. At home I noticed my hair was def thinning put, particularly at the temple. Did a bit of research and discovered that wearing tight hair-do can cause perm balding. Totally freaked out. So now I’m on a mission to find a cap that will protect my hair, but allow me to roll. I have a few ideas. The first one I’m investigating tomorrow is a light weight rugby head guard. Will keep you guys posted if anyone’s interested.
11 Jan 2012 @ 6:05 pm
This is a fantastic post! I recently cut my hair due to damage, but it used to be more than half way down my back and would french braid it before class, wouldn’t have to redo it til halfway into sparring, though I’d have some loose hair in the front by the end of the first hour. Now, it’s medium length, French braid works for a little bit, but the short layers escape so I just toss it in a ponytail and don’t care when it comes apart.
With the French braiding, when I first started to do it, it was pretty loose because I am a very impatient person, but now I can braid it quickly and tightly and am not that girl whose hair gets in the way every two seconds sparring. 🙂
11 Jan 2012 @ 6:25 pm
Glad you liked it, Sonia. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your story!
Hair does take a beating in this sport and it is a bummer when it di
26 Jan 2012 @ 12:25 am
I’m glad I found your blog and that I’m not the only one concerned about hair! I actually do the half up pony pulled into a bottom pony thing and I braid whats left of the pony… sometimes it kinda lasts most of the night but other times its so messed up that I have to take out the braid and use that hair tie to scrunch everything else up into a bun and pray that I don’t have to cut out any of the 3 hair ties haha. I’m going to see if I can hunt down these hair ties that have rubber bits in my country I think!
I often have guys saying “oh I didn’t want to grab your hair” so I think this hair thing does put training partners off especially when drilling gi chokes or trying to choke me. I refuse to cut it short atm though!
30 Jan 2012 @ 12:00 pm
Hi Megan, I’m glad you found it too and thanks for commenting! Hair is a totally legit concern for folk with more than a peach fuzz of stubble or a short back and sides 😉 Both for the comfort and mobility of the player and, as you note, for the comfort of training partners who don’t want to rake through another’s hair. It can be tough to get right and I’m glad I’ve always been bob to pixie cut during BJJ as I don’t have an issue with it getting in my face or tangled up in a partner’s hands, but short hair isn’t for everyone! Finding a strategy that works for your hair is really important for you and your partners and I hope some new hair ties might help. (I’ve had comments on FB about the hair ties pulling out hair because of their grips, but I think it depends on how you do it and your personal type of hair). Good luck finding a way forward! Let us know what you discover.
What to do with all that hair?! « Dragon's Tale
16 Mar 2012 @ 2:59 am
[…] have posted about cutting it all off (sad day ), such as Stephanie and Julia. I found another by Meg that talks about hair tie products recommended by Lana Hunter. Thus, as a BJJ practitioner with […]
4 Sep 2012 @ 8:05 am
This is just what I needed! thank you so much for posting ideas, everybody!
My hair is down to my waist and very thick, I usually do a straight plait or a samurai bun, and it looks absolutely FABULOUS by the end of class xD it’s such a distraction when I roll, and the boys often pause every few minutes to push it out of the way. I also end up spending a lot of class time just fixing my hair, which is a waste of quality roll time! of course, the distraction works both ways and I sometimes use my plait to tickle the boys’ faces. I keep joking that I should cut my hair short like them, but they all loudly insist I keep it long, so that means I need to find an alternative =P I think I’ll be trying all these ideas out. I knew I wasn’t the only one concerned about this! Thanks again!
5 Sep 2012 @ 8:26 am
Hi Tabolo, thanks for reading and glad it was useful to you! Indeed, hair management is a concern for a lot of ladies and like you say can really interfere with rolling. Hope you find a solution that works for you!
14 Jan 2013 @ 5:54 pm
Scunci has new hair ties called Evolution. I used to go for the ones with the rubber bits in the middle, but the rubber comes off and ends up in my hair. Gross! After that the hair tie is destined for the trash. These new ones are only rubber, no fabric material. The key is to make sure that you take it out the same way you put it in, round by round. If you try to pull it off in one motion, like with fabric hair ties, you’ll pull out tons of your hair.
I have hair down to my waist, so it’s ALWAYS in the way when I train. I can’t do the ponytail braid, or any derision of that style, because the tail is so long that it gets caught in my partner’s guard. I have had the most luck with double french braids, then at the bottom I braid the two tails together. This way, the end of the tail is as short as I can possibly make it. I have been brainstorming to find other ways to shorten the length of the tail, but so far this is my best option. I’m not interested in corn rows because they are painful and they damage my hair.
Keep the super long hair ideas coming please!
27 Dec 2013 @ 3:55 am
WOW!! This article is AWESOME!! I have bought ties, headbands, scruncis, rubberbands, etc all in hopes of containing this mess 🙂 I never thought about shampooing less frequently though, thanks!!
30 Dec 2013 @ 5:47 pm
Awesome, so glad it was helpful to you, Stephanie!
15 Jan 2014 @ 5:14 pm
Thanks for this post! Very helpful!
15 Jan 2014 @ 5:15 pm
I should add that my hair is now a lot longer than in my avatar photo.
15 Jan 2014 @ 6:19 pm
My pleasure! The only sure fire method I’ve found is chopping it off, and I hope some of these tips work for you 🙂
26 Jan 2014 @ 1:50 am
Thank you for the great ideas! I shall definitely try the – conditioning treatment on dry hair post training. I previously had a stylish cut around my jaw line but it was at an awkward length; cannot put it up and unable to leave down. I won’t suite an ultra short style so I’m in the process of growing my hair out. Now, its just resting on my shoulders. Any tips on how to successfully tie up shoulder length hair? Ultra keen on trying the new brand of hair ties as well… Go BJJ girls! X
28 Jan 2014 @ 3:15 pm
Yeah, hair either has to be way short or long enough to twist and tie into submission. Those awkward in between stages are a pain on the mats. Hope it gets to a more manageable length soon 🙂
12 Dec 2014 @ 10:19 am
I am glad I am not the only girl that has cut her hair for BJJ. I did it with long hair for about 1 1/2 – 2 yrs and I cut it about 10 months ago (very short), And I don’t know if I will ever go back. I have a girl in my class trying to get me to grow my hair out saying how pretty my hair was, but I don’t know. I’m only 14 so I still have time.
18 Dec 2014 @ 3:02 pm
Hi Lissy! Thanks for reading and commenting. Good on you! Cutting one’s hair is a personal decision. For me, I’ve gone through all sorts of bobs and pixie cuts and they work, on and off the mats. Easy to keep the hair healthy and so easy to style a good short cut. Girl, you know a pixie cut can look good when sweaty. Long hair, not so much! I’m not hating on longer hair, I’m just saying that I’m not fussed on it and everyone is free to have shorter or longer hair depending on what is right for them.
At the end of the day, we don’t have to buy in to the same tired old, narrow beauty standards. Sht, if we did that, women like you and I wouldn’t even be grappling! I’m sure you’re hair looked great long, and I bet it looks great short too! Sometimes people feel funny about themselves when other people do things that are a little unconventional. That’s their issue, not yours. Not saying that’s necessarily the case here, but just sayin it could be at play. Ultimately, friends make you feel strong and wonderful, rather than self-conscious. You do what you need to do to feel confident on and off the mats. If that is some hot-ass short hair, then so be it!
Finally, you’re lucky to have found BJJ so early in your life. It is great to hear about younger women coming through. You rock!