African woman holding her pony-tail in hand. Can be used for haircare or other beauty concepts.
Image: Shutterstock/242476360

Ponytails are useful and cute when you need to get your hair out of your face. But does all that pulling damage your hair each time you pull it back? Unfortunately, yes. Tight ponytails yank the hair back in a way that damages the follicles in your scalp, potentially affecting the ability of your hair to grow normally in those areas. You could actually develop permanent hair loss!

If you find yourself pulling your hair back into a tight pony frequently in the same spot, the damage can become irreversible. The hair follicles around the scalp and forehead are very susceptible to becoming inflamed when tugged on, which causes them to become damaged especially if it occurs every day. The most excessive damage can even result in frizzy and broken hair.

It’s smart to vary up the location of your ponytail. Pulling it back at the same spot every single day accelerates the progress of damage, so switching sides and the level of your ponytail can alleviate the strain on the hair follicles. Basically, try not to pull on the same area a lot every day, as you can still break the hair at the strand even if the follicle isn’t being damaged.

When choosing what to tie your hair back with, the most important thing to look for is a fabric that is not straight up elastic in contact with your hair. The elastic typically used in hair ties pulls on your hair in the worst way, so make sure there is some sort of soft fabric covering it, and that there are no tears. Even better, using a silky scarf to tie up your hair will offer minimal tugging with almost no resistance. The softer and smoother the material, the better.

Invisibobble is a fantastic way to tie up your hair without leaving a crease or any damage. Try these Invisibobble hacks!

Another huge source of damage is pulling your hair up while its wet—don’t do it! Your hair is the most fragile when wet, so pulling it up at all in that state will cause lots of damage, especially down the shaft of the hair. Try to avoid putting your hair up until it is at least damp. If you need to get it away from your face, a braid will be less damaging than a tight bun or ponytail.