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Hairstyles for Gymnastics and Cheerleading

Our first gymnastics competition of the season is this weekend and that meant the biggest questions asked at the gym have been centered around hairstyles for the gymnastics meet, how to do them, what styling products to use, and the like.

While the hairstyle options go from a simple sleek ponytail to elaborate braided styles, we have found that having a relatively simple team hairstyle for the lower levels is really helpful. It helps build team unity, ensures a neat and pulled together look, and the girls end up looking so cute. The older girls tend to have their own favorite styles and since they understand the importance of having a hair style that not only looks good but also keeps their hair out of their face, we let them pick their own styles.

Some of the gymnastics hairstyles we have used over the years include:

Two French Braids for gymnastics meets

Two French Braids is a great style for girls with slightly thicker, wavy to curly hair. Their hair type takes well to the braiding and it will hold, especially with a little gel and hairspray help. If your daughter is growing out her bangs, French Braids are also a good option. The only hair type that I have found to be really hard to French Braid is straight, fine hair – it just doesn’t hold without a TON of product. (Video tutorial for French Braiding)

Spider web, pineapple, modified pineapple hairstyle for gymnastics meets

Styles that use the little tiny hair bands to hold smaller sections of hair and create a pattern are very popular at gymnastics meets. One of the reasons they work, is that they really help control short bangs, layered cuts and work on all lengths of hair. The photo on the left is called the Pineapple and is created by making a series of small ponytails on the front row, then splitting each pony into two sections and feeding them into the next square section.

The version on the right is called the “Modified Pineapple” and is much easier to create. Basically you part the hair like you are doing two standard ponytails. Then divide each side into six sections, criss crossing the entire ponytail into the next section of hair. Secure the back into a ponytail and curl the ends if desired.

Hairstyle for gymnastics or cheerleading competitions

The style we use for our younger teams is one we call “Stripes” – it is easier than it looks, can be put in the night before and looks so sharp when the whole team marches in with it. We also have the girls curl their ponytails in ringlets. It adds a nice touch and helps shorten the longer ponytails.

The girl in the photo above actually had hair well down the middle of her back and it was very thick. Her Mom is the curl queen and was able to wrap her curls so tight that not only did they look awesome, they shortened her ponytail to a much more manageable length for the routines.

The secret to curls that look like the ones above is to wrap them when the hair is damp, not wet. Use soft foam rollers – we like the small 5/8″ foam rollers then separate the hair into small sections and spray with a good spray gel then smooth as you roll them. Let the curls dry completely before removing them from the rollers and don’t mess with them. We always use the end papers with the hair rollers, too – although I found that in a pinch you can cut up a single ply paper towel and use that in place of the end papers – they really help create the best curls.

Cheer hairstyle with braided bangs

One style that is popular with the older girls (and many of the cheerleaders in our area) is just a simple angled French Braid at the front that goes to a ponytail in the back. This is the style I get to do on my own daughter’s hair this weekend. It is perfect for her since she has angled bangs that are long but not long enough to go back into a ponytail on their own. Once it is in the ponytail I will just touch up the ends with the curling iron and then rub a teensy bit of Moroccan Oil through the ponytail for a really nice sleek shine.

If you are looking for even more great gymnastics, cheerleading or just generally cute hairstyles for girls, I recommend checking out Shaunelle’s Hair – she literally has hundreds of photos of the styles she has done on her daughter’s hair. In addition to great pictures, she also has plenty of how-tos for different styles, tips and the most creative up dos ever. These hairstyles may look complicated, but its not like you are doing hair restoration surgery or something.

arrow25 Responses

  1. flipper
    63 mos, 1 wk ago

    these are so cute i’ll use them for my meets

  2. 62 mos, 3 wks ago

    I just wanted to tell you how good your hair syles and web site
    is. “It is awesome.”

  3. utamaree
    62 mos, 1 wk ago

    I luv ur website. but i wish you would have some more styles for short hair like mine. :D

  4. lissi
    60 mos, 3 wks ago

    hey..i’m from germany and i have a gymnastics competition tomorrow. but i don’t know, what to do with my hair, because i’ve got long and curly hair..but thanks for this great ideas.!

  5. cheer girl
    57 mos, 3 wks ago

    I love your website, but maybe add a little more detail about HOW TO do these hair styles they are VERY cool though I tryed one today and it turned out great thanks!!!!!

  6. middle_school_cheerleader(:
    57 mos, 2 wks ago

    i absolutly love your website, but my mom cant figure out how to do any of the hair styles,can you help?

  7. 56 mos, 1 wk ago

    i love your hairstyles their gr8!!!:]]

  8. autum
    55 mos, 1 wk ago

    Thank you so much. This is my daughter’s first competition year. I need all the help I can get with her very fine hair. Thank you!!! Any suggestions on to what to use under her pony/bun that slides out? The hair clips or bobby pins tend to slide up to the pony and her hair slides out.

  9. Char
    55 mos, 1 wk ago

    The goody bendy clips seem to be the best way to keep the flyaways under control and give more support to the ponytail. Good luck to your daughter – she will have a great year!

  10. Allstar cheer
    54 mos, 4 wks ago

    Wow they are all so cute!

  11. 54 mos, 1 wk ago

    i really like the 3rd one on the left(:

  12. emma
    50 mos, 2 wks ago

    my mom new how to do the second to the left but she went on vacation so she sent us this e-mail so my auntie and grandma could do my hair for competition great website for beginners

  13. gymnast23
    49 mos, 1 wk ago

    i absolutely love the one with the french braid around the side my mom tried it out on me today and it looked awesome!!! :) thanks for all the help with hair!!! hehehe

  14. 47 mos, 2 wks ago

    I really like the hair style wear it is french braided into a pony tail. I can french braid but just not on myself. So who ever did that hair style thumbs up=).

  15. Holly
    47 mos, 1 wk ago

    Listen up all moms,
    My daugter Ahndreya recently competed in open aau regionals,
    the french braid into a ponytail is fun and stays in really well!

  16. kaylee
    45 mos, 3 wks ago

    i like your the sight but could you make some for short hiar :]

  17. allie
    44 mos, 3 wks ago

    i have longish shortish hair i have enough for a ponytail that touch my neck

  18. alice :)
    40 mos ago

    these are so cute but I cant figure out how to do them… I especialy like the one called “stripes” could I get instructions on how to do it emailed to me?

  19. Allison~NCISfreak13
    37 mos, 1 wk ago

    I not only do gymnastics but I do dance as well (this is my ninth year in gymnastics and my eleventh year in dance) and constantly putting my hair in a ponytail was ruining my hair, and my hair is long, thick, and heavy (twenty four inches to be exact) and ponytails also meant three hairbows and a headache. I am going to use these in various recitals and will not have to worry about my hair falling in my face or getting under my hands when I tumble. Thanks so much

  20. Gymnast4ever
    36 mos, 3 wks ago

    Thank you sooooooooooooo much 4 the ideas!!!!Medium hair length kind of difficult ;) But this site helped lots of problems:D

  21. cheerchicka
    33 mos, 2 wks ago

    This is so great thanks for all the help- this will be so helpful for my big meet next week!

  22. lp096
    30 mos, 2 wks ago


  23. KK
    27 mos ago

    I love the stripes can somebody please tell me how to do it can’t figure it out.

  24. Heather
    26 mos, 1 wk ago

    Sugar water(1cup water and 1TBS sugar) will hold those curls in like you can’t believe!

  25. pat
    13 mos, 3 wks ago

    What about short hair..above the shoulders or shorter?

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