Woman wearing a ponytail running outdoors

One look at Ariana Grande and you know that ponytail hair is the updo of choice for the chic and fashionable. A ponytail is a quick and easy way to look presentable — or fabulous, depending on the style. Many of us wear it 24/7 without realizing the damage it does to our hair.

Are you ready to let your hair down? Here are four major ways ponytails can wreck your hair.

It Pulls at Your Hairline

The worst side effect of frequent ponytail-wearing is getting your hairline tugged back, which may cause traction hair loss.

This type of hair loss happens when you repeatedly pull your hair (the way you would when tying your hair back). Tight hairstyles like ponytails, buns, and braids are the usual culprits. If you use heat-styling tools or have chemically treated hair, you can expect the damage to be worse.

You can still rock a ponytail, of course, but mix up your hairstyles to avoid applying tension to the same area.

It Can Dent and Break Your Strands

Be careful when using elastic hair ties: they can do serious damage to your strands.

Do you use elastic hair ties to cinch your ponytail? Switch to a more hair-friendly scrunchie if you want to stop hair breakage. Using these usually very tight hair ties too often can result in dents on your hair. Ponytail hair can be too tight, heavy, and even painful.

Moreover, these bands can leave your hair snagged or broken. The elastic can cut into the hair shaft, damage the hair follicle, and cause fraying. Think of a rope that’s been grating against the edge of a wooden plank. Switching to a softer scrunchie can help prevent damage. You can also avoid tying your hair too tightly.

It Can Cause Hair Fall

If left unchecked, the seemingly harmless act of pulling at your hairline can result in irreversible hair loss. Excessive tension on the scalp can damage the hair follicles, and according to the American Academy of Dermatology, if you damage your hair follicles, your hair cannot grow back. The AAD recommends only styling your hair on special occasions (which isn’t fun), or simply wear a looser ponytail. If you start feeling pain or stinging on your scalp, or if you notice tenting, change your hairstyle immediately. 

It Can Give You Migraines and Back Pain

Got a headache you can’t explain? Your ponytail might be getting on your nerves — literally.

On top of these hair and scalp problems, wearing a ponytail every day can also give you migraines and back pain. An external compression headache, also known as a ponytail headache, typically affect the nerves on the back of your head and around your face. When these nerves experience pressure all at once, a headache can result. If this tension persists, it can travel to the nerves on the back of your neck and lead to back pain. 

Use a conditioner that delivers damage control if you think you’re experiencing any of these so-called ponytail side effects. Cream Silk Ultimate Reborn Damage Control Conditioner uses rosehip, marula, and argan oil to repair hair fibers and restore brittle strands. If you’re going to wear a ponytail, at least arm yourself with this conditioner’s 98% damage protection. 

Give your ponytail hair a break and keep your hair healthy and damage-free. Consider a looser style and a softer hair tie to prevent breakage and hair fall.