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 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)
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.
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.
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.