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Which hair ties are best?

From low ponytails to messy buns, hair ties are the go-to accessory for many hair styles. Hair ties of the past, however, had a reputation for damaging strands and being painful to remove, in part due to low-quality construction and metal components. 

More recently, they’ve been engineered with far better designs that are comfortable, safe and more durable than ever before. One of many new designs on the market is Scunci No Damage Thick Hair Elastics, which tops our shopping list for its soft, flexible design.

What to know before you buy hair ties

Before you invest in new hair ties, it’s helpful to know the different styles on the market. 

Classic hair ties

Basic hair ties have a single piece of elastic wrapped in fabric. In the past, these hair ties had metal fasteners, though most newer varieties are metal-free. They’re considered versatile, though some wearers report they may damage hair.

Terry hair elastics, often used in children’s hair, are blended with elastic thread. Because they’re soft, flexible and low-tension, they’re suitable for sleeping or all-day wear. Terry hair ties are also less likely to damage hair.

New hair ties

Snap hair ties have a secure, locking closure that won’t create creases in hair. They work well with thick and curly hair, as well as braids and dreadlocks. According to many wearers, they’re far easier to remove from hair than other ties— though they tend to be expensive. 

Coiled hair ties are designed for maximum comfort and minimum damage. While they’re effective at holding ponytails and buns in place, they’re a low-tension option that is easy to remove. However, they get stretched out easily and may take a few hours to return to their original shape.

Extra-large hair ties lend themselves to more “wrapping” around hair, which some wearers feel is more secure than other options. These hair ties tend to be more durably made. Additionally, they’re often used to hold back dreadlocks and box braids. These hair ties are sometimes more difficult to find at retailers than others. 

What to look for in quality hair ties

Popular materials for hair ties

Many hair ties are wrapped in polyester or satin thread, giving them a smooth finish. They’re affordable and come in several sizes. However, they’re not the most durable option, and these fibers eventually break under tension. 

Some hair ties, including scrunchies, are made with soft materials like cotton, velvet and satin. They’re soft on hair and can be removed without causing much damage. Unfortunately, these materials are so slick that they may end up sliding down hair throughout the day.

Silicone hair ties, namely coiled ones, are noted for their smooth, snag-free designs. They also won’t leave kinks or creases in hair. One of the pitfalls, however, is that silicone hair ties are the most expensive options. 


Hair ties are available in a rainbow of colors, including pastel, primary and neon shades. More recently, the market has seen an influx of hair ties in discreet colors that blend in with natural hair colors. These include shades to accommodate blonde, brunette, redhead, black and silver-toned hair. 

Non-slip details

Some premium hair ties have non-slip details, such as silicone or rubber dots, to offer a more secure hold. They’re particularly popular among active individuals who engage in high-impact activities. While many wearers agree they’re effective at staying put, they may snag hair or create kinks. 

How much you can expect to spend on hair ties

Because hair ties are typically sold in multipacks, it’s best to compare cost based on price per hair tie. Basic hair ties cost $0.10-$0.20 apiece, whereas better-quality hair ties and scrunchies run $0.25-$1 apiece. Speciality hair ties, such as designer scrunchies and coil hair ties, cost $1-$5 per piece. 

Hair ties FAQ

How do I prevent damage from hair ties?

A. If possible, wear ponytails as loosely-tied as possible to reduce tension and pulling. It’s helpful to limit how often you wear your hair up, especially in tighter styles. As for topical damage treatments, a restorative or hydrating hair mask can replenish hair’s natural moisture barrier. These products may reduce your hair’s brittleness, and in turn, could make it less prone to breakage.

Can you wash or clean hair ties?

A. Silicone hair ties can be cleaned in soap and water and left to air dry. Hair ties made with elastic, fabric or terry cloth, can be machine washed inside a mesh laundry bag and then hung to dry. Some people place hair ties in a UV sanitizer for quick and easy cleaning. 

What’s the best hair tie to buy?

Top hair ties

Scunci No Damage Thick Hair Elastics

Scunci No Damage Thick Hair Elastics

What you need to know: Made by one of the best-known hair accessory brands, this set of 24 elastics are uniquely designed to hold up thick and heavy hair. 

What you’ll love: The ultra-strong elastic can be wrapped tight without snapping under pressure, and the metal-free design won’t snag or damage hair. This set has assorted colors to match every outfit. 

What you should consider: It’s common for the elastic to snap after several uses. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top hair ties for the money

GOODY Tiny Terry Ponytailers

GOODY Tiny Terry Ponytailers

What you need to know: These small ponytailers, soft enough to use on kids’ hair, come in a set of 42 vibrant colors. 

What you’ll love: This is one of the softer options, making them ideal for sleeping. They hold pigtails and mini buns in place without sliding down hair, and they can be hand or machine washed. 

What you should consider: The threads and elastic wear out sooner than expected. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

invisibobble Traceless Hair Ties

invisibobble Traceless Hair Ties

What you need to know: A new arrival to the market, invisibobble is praised for its no-kink design, and it is often embraced for active wear. 

What you’ll love: The coil design secures hair without pulling it. It is suitable for all hair types, including thick and curly hair. The silicone texture prevents the hair tie from slipping down hair. 

What you should consider: The ties get very stretched out and loose by the end of the day.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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