How To Use a Hair Tie – Comprehensive Guide & Best Styles

Anyone with long hair needs to know how to use a hair tie. It is the easiest and fastest hack to feel cooler and neater.

Learning how to use a hair tie is one of the life skills everyone needs to know. It’s fun and easy, and I’ll show you how!

How To Use a Hair Tie: Overview

What are hair ties?

Hair ties are elastic and stretchable bands mostly used to tie and fasten the hair. It is also known as a ponytail, hair band, and elastics. It can also tie other things together, but its main purpose is for the hair.

The designs for hair ties are endless. It can range from simple, plain-colored bands to elastics embellished with gems, ribbons, precious stones, pearls, and even cartoon characters for the kids. Once you learn how to use a hair tie, you’ll see the infinite ways you can use these hair accessories.

Here are a few kinds of hair ties:



This is one of the popular types of hair ties. Scrunchies are elastic bands covered by a thicker fabric. It is gentle on the hair and comes in many different colors.

Different types of fabric can be used for scrunchies. You can choose silk, plain, checkered, shiny, matte, or even embellished.

Scrunchies are often used for simple ponytails or securing carefully made buns.

Hair Elastics

Hair elastics

These are plain and simple hair ties. The ends are fused together or are sometimes fastened by a small piece of metal. This type of hair tie can hold the hair firmly and neatly.

Spiral hair ties

Spiral Hair Ties

Spiral hair ties are one of the newest kinds of hair ties. They do not put a dent in the hair even after being tied for a long time. But one disadvantage is most types do not hold hair as strongly as plain hair ties.

Rubber Bands

Hair Elastics

These are smooth and small rubber bands that are different from the ordinary ones used in home and office supplies. They are smaller than your average hair tie and are used for thinner portions of hair.

It comes in many different and fun colors. The black and transparent colored ones are also used in advanced hairstyling when hair ties need to be hidden.

All of these types of hair ties can be designed and embellished with many different accessories like hair tie with beads and gems. The possibilities are endless.

How To Use a Hair Tie

How to Use a Hair Tie 1

Now, how to use a hair tie? Let’s do this step-by-step.

1. Gather Your Tools

Make sure you have all your supplies and tools. You would need the following:

  • a comb or a brush
  • a mirror
  • your choice of hair tie (have a few handy)
  • a spritzer bottle with water (optional)
  • Your choice of hair oil, leave-on conditioner, mousse, or gel (optional)

2. Prepare Your Hair

Be in a comfortable position and start by combing or brushing your hair. Remove all tangles and give your hair a few more loving strokes before going to the next step.

Gather your desired amount of hair to tie on one hand. Using your other hand, get your comb (preferably a fine tooth comb) to uniformly comb up all strands.

An optional step is to spritz your hair with water. This step will help all the smaller and wayward hair strands to be combed in too. Put your comb down and get your desired hair tie.

3. Stretch Your Hair Tie

Place your index and middle fingers inside the hair tie, and then place your thumb inside the hair tie as well. Your thumb will stretch the hair tie to the opposite side of your index and middle fingers. Stretch your hair tie wide enough to accommodate the portion of hair you wish to tie.

While still holding the hair tie, enclose the desired amount of hair you wish to tie inside a circle that you will make with your thumb, index, and middle fingers.

With your free hand, pull one side of your hair tie to stretch it. Doing this allows you to easily place your hair inside the hair tie.

4. Tighten Your Hair Ties

Once your hair is inside the hair tie, crisscross the hair tie and place the hair through the second circle you created with the crisscross method.

You may repeat this step a few times, depending on how tight you wish to use your hair tie. If you are using a rubber band, you may have to do this step a few times over.

You are done! An optional step is to spread a thin layer of hair oil and leave-in conditioner, mousse, or gel to make the pulled part of your hair flat and sleek.

Now that you know how to use a hair tie, it’s time to choose your hairstyle!

Best Hairstyles When You Know How To Use a Hair Tie

Classic ponytail

Ponytail -

This style is the easiest hairstyle if you now know how to use a hair tie. To achieve this style, comb up all your hair or part your hair to one side before securing your hair into a ponytail.

Another style for the ponytail is the side-swept ponytail. This is exactly like a ponytail but located on the side of your face, behind an ear.

Half Up Half Down Hair Style

Half Up Half Down

For this style, you will gather and tie only the top half of your hair. The bottom half of your hair will simply be loose. You may style this bottom half by straightening it for a sleeker look. Or you can curl your hair for a more voluminous finish.



You will commonly see this style on cheerleaders and kids when tied high. When tied low, this style can be sported by anyone.

Part your hair starting from your hairline above your brows all the way down to the hairline above your nape. Decide how high your ponytail will be, and then place one ponytail on each side.


Man Bun

This style is also widely used not only by women but by men as well. Think of ballerinas with hair away from their faces, beautiful flight attendants, and strict professors with not a strand of their hair out of place.

Men, on the other hand, can sport a “man bun” with fades or undercuts using hair ties for guys.

Buns can be achieved with one or more than one hair ties, a hair net, or even a shell. Variations are the messy bun, tight bun, with or without tendrils.



Braid is probably one of the most complicated hairstyles. It interlaces two or three portions of your hair in an alternate sequence.

How to use a hair tie in this hairstyle?

You use the hair tie to secure the braided hair in place. There are many kinds of braids, such as French Braids, Dutch Braids, Mermaid Tails, Cornrows, Waterfall Braids, and African Braids.


Bubble Braids

There are hundreds of ways to style your hair. You can combine a braid or multiple braids on your ponytail, bubble braids, and more. Know how to use a hair tie, mix and match, and you’ll be amazed by the results.

FAQs on How to Use Hair Ties

What is the best kind of hair tie?

The answer to this is not very simple. Everyone’s hair is different. Hair can be thick, thin, straight, curly, wavy, or a combination. The answer to this question also depends on the style that you wish to sport.

Rubber bands can break easily if used to tie a classic ponytail for someone with thick, long hair, but the same rubber band can be used if you plan to have smaller portions of hair tied. Determine what hairstyle you wish to do, know how to use a hair tie, and determine the kind of hair tie that will do the job. Get a hair tie organizer to keep your hair ties in place. These can be very handy especially if you keep misplacing your hair ties.

Do hair ties cause headaches?

Hair ties on their own, when used properly, should not cause headaches. The most common reason for having a headache when using a hair tie is when you do not know how to use a hair tie properly. When you tie your hair too tight, it is almost a guarantee that you to get a headache. It tenses your scalp, pulls the muscles, and sends painful signals to your brain. Avoid this by tying your hair in a firm manner but never too tight. Use good quality hair ties. You will know and feel the difference.

Do hair ties cause hair damage?

Hair ties should not normally cause hair damage. It can damage hair when improperly used by tying your hair too tightly. It also has to do with your hair’s overall health. Tying already weak and breaking hair strands can cause more damage. This is one of the main reasons why you should know how to use a hair tie properly.

What Types of Hair Ties Cause Traction Alopecia?

For years, women have been using hair ties to keep their hair out of their faces. But recently, there’s been a lot of talk about the causes of traction alopecia.

Traction alopecia is a condition that occurs when the hair is pulled too tight, causing the follicles to become damaged. This can lead to thinning hair, and in severe cases, complete baldness.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of traction alopecia, you may want to avoid using strong hair ties like elastics or be careful not to pull your hair too tight when you do use them.

More hair tips

Your hair is such an important part of your personality. It is a reflection of how you take care of yourself, your neatness, and your personal hygiene. Knowing how to use a hair tie properly is one of the many things you can do to care for your hair. You can also keep your hair clean and smelling good by learning the proper use of your products.

Shampoo is like your hair’s soap. It is used to clean out sweat, dirt, oil, or dust that could be stuck on your hair or scalp. Use shampoo mainly for your scalp to clean it and allow the suds to wash all your strands.

Conditioner should be used primarily for the ends of your hair. This acts as your hair’s lotion. It keeps your hair smooth and tangle-free.

Heating tools should be used at a minimum. Blow dryers and hot rollers can cause stress on your hair if you use them too often. Styling your hair with these heating tools every day can cause breakage. Try to use alternative curling methods that do not require heat.

Master how to use a hair tie properly. Never too tight but not too loose as well. Just firm and enough, never too much.

Mel R

Mel is a licensed Chemist in New Jersey who has worked in several cosmetics companies and has years of experience formulating hair care and beauty products. She uses her knowledge in cosmetics to distinguish and find the best products to recommend to Union Of Barber’s readers. When Mel’s not writing, you can find her walking her dogs or cooking and baking at home!